Mendriq: A Language Lost in Time

5 January 2024

Photo by: Bernama

Mendriq: A Language Lost in Time

5 January 2024

According to Language experts who were interviewed by Bernama, the Mendriq language could become extinct in 20 years if no serious efforts are taken to preserve it; meaning that Malaysia might lose another one of its cultures.

To save the language from extinction, 20 villagers from the Mendriq Orang Asli in Kampung Kuala Lah were involved in a project to input Mendriq words and their meanings in Bahasa Melayu into the online multilingual dictionary Wiktionary. The aim of Wikimedia Community User Group Malaysia (Wikimedia Malaysia) is to preserve the Mendriq language.

Mendriq is one of the sub-groups of Orang Asli Negrito that can only be found in Kelantan. Currently, they live in three locations namely Kampung Lah in Gua Musang Kampung Pasir Linggi, and Sungai Tako in Kuala Krai. In Peninsular Malaysia, there are three groups of Orang Asli, namely Senoi, which includes 55.09 percent, Proto Malay (41.97 percent), and Negrito (2.94 percent).

The language expert added that the extinction of one language happens when one ethnic group receives formal education that does not use their language, other than mixed marriage, which is happening with the Mendriq ethnic group.

According to the village chief, Ali Lateh, mixed marriages have happened very frequently since the early 1990s. When their significant others cannot speak the Mendriq language, they will use the Malay language to communicate with each other. Hence, this has caused the Mendriq language to slowly be forgotten. The young children are also being seen using the Malay language to communicate with each other.

He also said that a person with the ‘original’ features of someone from the Mendriq ethnic which are curly hair, dark skin, a wide round face, a flat nose, and a short chin; and even if there are, there are less than 10 people with those features.

Source: BERNAMA TV [Channel] Jejak bahasa Mendriq: selamatkan dari kepupusan [Video]. YouTube

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