Pronouns in Manado Malay


(A Sociolinguistic Survey)

Drs. Davidson R. Lotulung, MA.


This study is concerned with the address system of Manado Malay, the lingua franca of Manado city, and other parts of North Sulawesi province in North Eastern Indonesia. Although particular aspects of its linguistic structure have been studied, Manado Malay has not been extensively researched and its socio linguis­tics has received little attention.

1.1 Aims of Study

The principal aim of this study is provide an account the Manado Malay address system. Thus, the study has several general objectives (1) contribute to the knowledge of the operation and use of address forms among Manado Malay speakers and (2) to ascertain the extent to which address forms are used and under­stood and the way in which they are selected by Manado Malay speakers, and (3) to investigate the relationships between social factors and the participants, setting and situations when a particular form of address is selected.

While the study makes a considerable contribution to understanding the forms, functions and socio linguistics of Manado Malay address/reference, it contributes to the general sociolinguistic area of address/ reference studies, offering insights into the configuration of the address system and the processes of selection of forms according to extra-linguistic criteria.

1.2 The Data

Two types of data were considered in the analysis and discussion of the Manado Malay address/reference system. The first type includes the forms of address/reference contained in tape-recorded conversations of

a sample of some Manado Malay speakers in Manado city. In the study, these data were supplemented by data from previous work on Manado Malay address/reference system.

The second type data, observed and collected from the participant observation activities, is information of the participants involved in recorded conversations. This information includes (1) the social factors such as status, age, ethnic origin, and religious affiliation and (2) the social relationships between or among the partici­pants, either present or absent, in the interaction.

Examples of utterances containing the discussed forms of address are provided to illustrate the discussion. Each example is taken from the data base of one of the conversations carried out by four different categories of respondents. The categories include professional females (PF), profes­sional males (PM), non professional females (NPF) and non-professional males (NPM).1


Manado Malay, in addition to full forms, they are three further dimensions to the pronouns, in the form of shortened, backward-pronounced and cliticised forms. Although the role of cliticisation within an address system has been studied in some researches, there does not appear to have been any discussion on the shortening of

1 The initial, which are put in brackets, are used in each example right after the free translation. For examples, the example is taken from professional female responden. The respondent is a lecturer which is numbered as I (one) in the database and the utterance is used conversation 6 (six). Therefore, the initials may be (PF 1-6). The following is an example : NIta. tong-mo minum apa?

pronouns and certainly the phenomenon of backward-pronounced pronounce seems novel in Manado Malay, Furthermore, discussion of the incorporation of pronouns from other lan­guages and their role within the address/ references system of the host language is minimal.

Manado Malay pronouns include first, second ant third person pronouns, singular and plural. There are two kinds of personal pronouns use by Manado Malay speakers. They are pure Manado Malay pronouns (Table 1) and those adopted from other language (Table 2). Both are designatives. The full forms of pure Manado Malay pronouns can be reduplicated and, with the exception of the second person singular and plural, they are often procliticised. The first, second and third person singular pronouns of the Manado Malay Pronouns may, in certain circumstances, be pronounced backwards.

Table 1. Manado Malay pure pronouns

Full form

Reduplicated form

Procliticised Form

Bacwards -spelled form

1 pers. singular




2 pers. singular


— — *

nga-, ngan, na-


3 pers. singular



1 pers. plural




2 pers. Plural



3 pers. plural




Table. 2 Manado Malay adopted pronouns

Bahasa Indonesia

Jakarta Malay

Local vernacular

Foreign language

1 pers. singular




Ai, Ike, eyke

2 pers. singular

Engkau, anda

(e)lu, situ


Yey, yu

3 pers. singular

1 pers. plural


2 pers. Plural


3 pers. plural


2.1 Reduplicated forms of pronouns

As shown in Table 1 the first, second and third person plural pronouns may be reduplicated. They reduplicated first person plural torang is used in reference excluding the address when the participants involved are younger than addressee, and in reference includ­ing the addressee, when the addressee is the same as or younger than the other participants.

For example:

[A female tenant is talking to a female lecturer about herself and her friends]

Kan torang-torang pantos itu, sambil kuliah kan masih lowong dang.

“Well we all deserve that, while studying we are still single.’ (PF 10-8)

The reduplicated second plural pronoun ngoni is used only for address­ees who are younger in age and lower in social status than the addresser.

For example :

[At the office, a female employee is addressing her younger male colleague with his friends]

Kurang ajar ngoni-ngoni ini.

‘You are always the bastards.’ (PM 9-2)

The reduplicated third person plural pronoun dorang is for referents who are younger in age and lower in social status than the addresser.

For example :

[At the office, a male employee is referring to his other colleagues]

Oh, dorang-dorang bagitu dang. ‘Oh, They are all always like

that.’ (PM 9-3)

These reduplicated forms of pronouns convey the meaning of ‘more frequency and emphasis of the partici­pants doing something’ or ‘the partici­pants being always the ones who do something’.

2.2 Procliticisedforms of pronouns

As shown in Table 1 except for the third person singular ‘dia’ and the second person plural ‘ngoni1, the full forms of Manado Malay pronouns can be pro-liticised as :

‘ta- for first person singular

‘nga-\ ‘ngan-‘ and ‘na-‘ for second person singular

‘tong-‘ for first person plural

‘dong-‘ and ‘dom-‘ for third person plural

These procliticised pronouns oper­ate the same way as the fiill pronouns. They may be employed in both formal and informal situations depending on the social relationship among the partici­pants

For example : ;

[At home, a female lecturer is talking to a younger male tenant]

Ta- kira ngoni di Pertanian cuma bicara-bicara tentang itu.

‘I thought you, at the School of Agriculture, just study about that.'(PF 10-5)

[At the office, a female employee is talking to a younger male colleague]

Nga- da riki stow dia.

‘You might know him.’ (PM 9-1)

[At home, a female lecturer is referring to herself and her two tenants present in the interaction]

Sama dang tong- blajar supaya torang kan tau samua.

‘It’s like we learned it so that we understand all’ (PF 10-5)

[At the office, a male employee is referring to his colleague]

Kalamaring dong- so kunci akang pa kita.

“Yesterday they locked me in.’ (PM 9-2)

2.3 The backwards-pronounced forms of pronouns

The full forms of first, second and third person singular pronouns may be pronounced backwards as atik [from kita’ 1 sgf], anang [from ngana’ 2 sg] and aid [from did 3 sg*] respectively.

These backwards-pronounced forms of pronouns are used only in in­formal situations and mostly among younger adults.

For example:

[Talking to an older female colleague during a lunch break, a male employee is addressing himself]

Sedangkan atik rutin kalo nyanda pi ambe untuk bulan Maret puny a.

‘While I routinely do it, if I did not retrieve the Marchinstall-ment.’ (PM 9^)

[At the cafeteria, a female food caterer is addressing her younger female waitress].

Keode, anang cuma …… Nani somara.

‘Shit, you are just ……. Nani has not upset.’ (NPF 9-2)

They show closer or intimate so­cial relationships between the partici­pants and operate the same way as the full forms of pronouns.

2.4 The adopted forms of pronouns

As noted in Table 2 Manado Malay speakers adopt some personal pronouns from other language. These pronouns are from Bahasa Indonesia [Standard Indonesian Malay], from the vernaculars spoken in the surrounding area of Minahasa North Sulawesi, from other dialects from other areas (such as Jakarta Malay), and even from foreign languages.

The pronoun adopted from Bahasa Indonesia, which include soya ‘1 sg’ engkau or anda ‘2 sg1, kami ‘1 pi’, kamu ‘2 pi’ and mereka ‘3 pi1, convey the respect an addresser shows to the addressees) and when the participants are lower in social position. The pronouns are employed mostly in formal situations to mark the difference of social status of the participants in their position or occupation in order to gain respect.

For example:

[At school, male teacher is talking to his colleagues]

Saya deng soya pe laki juga blum.

‘My husband and I had not applied for it yet.’ (PM 2-7)

The pronouns adopted from local vernaculars such as nyaku (Tondanonese) ‘1 sg1 and angko (Tountemboanese) ‘2 sg’ are used when the addresser knows that the addressee is a descendant of a specific linguistic area where the pronoun in question is generally employed. These pronouns are very common in informal situation and indicate close or intimate social relation­ships between the participants.

For example :

[At the office, a male employee is talking to an older female colleague who is a Tondanonese origin]

Manganto nyaku eh. ‘Well, I’m sleepy.1 (PM 9-3)

[At the office, a male employee is talking to a male colleague is a Tontemboanese origin*

Angko apa dang?

What do you want?” (PM 4-1)

The pronouns adopted from Jakarta Malay such as gue ‘1 sg’, ente ‘2 sg1 and situ ‘2 sg” are commonly used in very informal situations and specially among very young adults or close colleagues and friends. These partici­pants are not necessarily considered ‘modern’ or ‘urban1.

For example :

[At home, a female tenant is talk­ing to another male tenant]

Jadi ente mo maso di bulutangkis dang?

‘So you are joining the badminton alright?'(PF 10-7)

The pronouns adopted from foreign languages such as ai (English ‘you'” ‘2sg’, eyke or ike (Dutch ‘/#), and yey (Dutch ‘jif) ‘2sg’ are very common among intellectuals who know each other well and they are employed in both formal and informal situations.

For example:

[At the office, a male employer is talking to one of this male employee]

Kita so sarankan yu beking tu tugas.

‘I had suggested that you do the assignment.’ (PM 4-3)

These adopted pronouns shows the influence of participants’ verbal re­pertoire in their employment of address forms and shows the results of their more frequent contact with the speakers of other languages. The employment of the adopted forms is intended to gain respect.


Kempf, Renate. 1985. ‘Pronouns and Terms of Address in Neues Deutschland’ Language in Society 14:223-237.

Me Ginn, Richards. 1991. “Pronouns, Politeness and Hierarchy in Ma­lay’ hi Robert Blust (ed). Pacific Linguistics Series C-117, Canberra: Australian National University, pp. 197-221.

Prentice, Jack. 1994. Manado Malay: Product and Agent of Language Change’ In Tom Dutton and Dar-rell T. Tyron (eds.) Language Con­tact and Change in the Austrone-sian World. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 411 -441.

Trudgill, Peter. 1974. Sociolinguistics: An Introduction to Language and Society. Hermondsworth: Pelican.

Wardhaugh, Ronald. 1986. An Introduc­tion to Sociolinguistics. New York: Blackwell.—


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