Peranakan Sayang is organizing their very first Virtually Peranakan Fest this coming weekend on the afternoons of 21 & 22 November 2020!
The language of the Peranakans, Baba Malay (Bahasa Melayu Baba), is a creole dialect of the Malay Language (Bahasa Melayu), which contains many of the words from the Chinese Hokkien dialect. It is a dying language, and its contemporary use is mainly limited to members of the older generation. English has now replaced this as the main language spoken amongst the younger generation.
Young Peranakans have lost many of their language, so there is normally a difference in vocabulary between the older and younger generations.
A glossary of some of the popular Baba Nyonya words:
|Apa khabair||How are you?|
|Bak wan||Pork meatball|
|Bakol Sia||A red and black lacquered bamboo basket with cover|
|Bibik||Form of address for an elderly lady|
|Cha Kiak||Wooden Clogs|
|Chap chai||Mixed vegetable stew|
|Chebok||To clean oneself up after defecating|
|Cherki||A traditional Nyonya card game|
|Kam Cheng||Porcelain jar with cover|
|Kam Siah||Thank you|
|Kus Semangat||An expression of surprise/mild shock|
|Ramay||Well-attended/crowded (indicating many people)|
|Sojah||Practice of kneeling in front of elders, putting right hand over the left fist and bowing three times to the elders. This act would usually be accompanied by auspicious wishes.|
|Tok Panjang||Long (dining) table|
Reference: A Baba Malay Dictionary by William Gwee Thian Hock (Tuttle Publishing)