AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

The function of pantun in Malay speech

by Sigrid Welmoed Spangenberg

Institution: Leiden University
Year: 2015
Keywords: pantun, ethno pragmatics, meaning space theory
Record ID: 1241822
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/32097


A pantun is a poem of four very short lines, consisting of four word clusters that have only two or three syllables. Most pantun have ABAB as their rhyme scheme. Research on pantun has traditionally focused on the structure and meaning of these poems. However, there has not been a lot of research on how the pantun is used in everyday language. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the function of pantun in Malay speech. For this study, I have used a pantun-database called ‘Melayu Online’ to collect pantun. From this database, I have selected two pantun for analysis. For the analysis the following methods were used: - ethno pragmatics: based on the assumption that there are cultural keywords, these are explained using Wierzbicka’s Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM); ethno pragmatics is focused on the cultural part - meaning space theory: models of mental space by Turner and Brandt & Brandt are used in a cognitive-semiotic framework to reconstruct meaning from a phenomenological perspective; meaning space theory focuses on the utterance and what this means This thesis is a first step to further research into the function of pantun in Malay speech and how the pantun is used in everyday language. On the basis of the this pilot study, it can be assumed that Malay people express themselves with a pantun in a way that is respectful of their cultural values and avoids any kind of friction. This assumption can be confirmed by extensive research through fieldwork. That is why I recommend participant observation in Malaysia in order to properly analyse the function of the pantun.