BANDUNG, unpas.ac.id – The sound symbol or phoneme ‘eu’, which is known in Sundanese, in now included in the Indonesian spelling system. This was decided at the Focus Group Discussion of the Language Proficiency Agency (Badan Kemahiran Berbahasa) in Jakarta, 10-14 Nove.ber 2021.
“Base on the agreement of session participants regarding the spelling, it has been decided that ‘eu’ will be included in the Indonesian spelling system,” said the Head of Language Development and Guidance Agency, Prof. E. Aminudin Aziz.
Language Expert and Observer, as well as teacher of Faculty of Art and Literature Universitas Pasundan, Drs. Tendy K. Soemantri has been browsing for the number of Sundanese words recorded through online Indonesian Dictionary. As a native speaker, he felt that there is something odd, but he could still understand it.
“I have been keeping to browse the dictionary until I had my eyes focused one phrase, kecap lemas. At first, I did not recognize it in Sundanese; whether it is a compound word for the noun ‘kecap’ (soy sauce) making you weak’ or what? But then, I was thinking, is there even such phrase?” he said.
After it was clicked, it showed the meaning of ‘kecap lemas’ which is actually a word-absorption from kecap lemes which means kata halus. But then, why should be the words kecap and lemas which can be directly matched with kata and halus absorbed from Sundanese?
This absorption makes the meaning of the phrase deviate because the word lemas in Indonesian has another meaning, and can confuse language users. As in illustration, Sundanese is known to have language levels (undak-usuk), namely basa kasar, basa loma and basa lemes.
“Three of them are marked by the difference of words (kecap), namely kecap kasar (harsh-spoken word), kecap loma (friendly/familiar-spoken word) and kecap lemes (soft-spoken word). Perhaps, the word lemes is considered as the non-standard kind of word of lemas, like bener and benar, or males and malas,” he explained.
The other problems occurred from Sundanese word absorption in Indonesian Dictionary is the word adaptation containing of the sound ‘eu’. The sound ‘eu’ is adapted to be [é] since Bahasa Indonesia does not have the symbol for the sound ‘eu’, such as geulis-gelis (beautiful), keukeuh-kekeh (firm, insistent), aseupan-asepan (steamer), baheula-bahela (formerly), or beunyeur-benyer (groats).
The absorption with the change in writing actually feels disturbing for Sundanese speakers who are accustomed to distinguishing the sounds [é], [ê], and [eu]. In fact, in many words, the sounds [ê], and [eu] can distinguish meanings such as in bener-beuneur (correct-pithy), peres-peureus (squeezing-painful), hideng-hideung (diligent-black), or lebet- leubeut (getting in-thick/heavy),” he continued.
Tendy also once made a small survey on Facebook about the word ‘geulis’ written as ‘gelis’ in Indonesian Dictionary. As a result, netizens were disturbed by the word ‘gelis’ without the suffix ‘u’. One of them even commented that the word should be removed from the dictionary rather than destroying its meaning.
The problem is, as Tendy stated, removing the entry from Indonesian Dictionary is not a simple thing. Each entry is the result of data collection using the dictionary method, so it is not arbitrary. Therefore, deletion of entries cannot be done arbitrarily.
“If that’s the case, what can be done? Will the problematic entries be left? In a tit for tat, from the results of the Language Proficiency Agency’s Focused Group Discussion, eu was adopted as Indonesian vowels such as a, e, i, o, and u. Thus, there are now six Indonesian vowels. Welcome, eu,” he concluded. (Reta)*