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Stuart Robson

Whenever Javanese scholars are asked to name the high points of their literature, almost certainly they will include the Wédhatama. This is because it is considered to contain the ‘highest wisdom’ appropriately cast in a mould of fine poetic language.
The challenge of translation has already been met by several others, so that we can speak of ongoing process of interpretation, in which the present English translation represents only the most recent stage and in turn invites the critics to correct and improve it, as our knowledge of Javanese language and literature grows and deepens. On the other hand, though, any statement on this subject, relating to the highest spiritual truths, can be no more than an approximation; in the end words fail, leaving only something like a star or flame pointing the way onward (compare Wédhatama IV .21, and see the drawing on the front cover).
This working paper offers an English translation, accompanied by the standard Javanese text, for the perusal of students, with a short introduction and a number of explanatory notes intended to aid the process of interpretation.

Stuart Robson

The personal view of philology presented in the Working Paper is both a stocktaking and a programme for development. At a time when Indonesian and foreign scholars are asking questions about the Indonesian ‘classical literary heritage’, a fresh impulse is needed to propel the work of philologists forward. Their work is to make texts accessible, and they achieve this through both the techniques of presentation and of explanation and interpretation; philology is thus more than mere ‘textual criticism’, according to Stuart Robson.
Existing views are assessed in a critical but balanced manner and fruitful avenues of exploration are pointed to. It turns out that thinking on philology is moving ahead faster than one might suspect, so that the form of the Working Paper is appropriate to suggest an on-going process, where views neglected today may receive more attention tomorrow.
The publication of texts from manuscript materials in Indonesian languages calls for a consideration of method: no one method is prescribed; one has to take account of genre, it is suggested, as well as textual tradition. Furthermore, part of the aesthetic content of a text is lost if we fail to consider how it sounds, its ‘music’. And finally, there is surely room for more literary translations from Indonesian texts—all part of an endeavour to introduce them to a wider audience and to foster a better understanding of their nature and content.

Series:

L. de Vries and R. de Vries-Wiersma

In this book an outline is given of the morphology of Wambon with an emphasis on placing the data in the wider context of the present typological knowledge about Papuan languages. The descriptions are amply illustrated by examples. These examples, mostly taken from recorded texts, have been provided with word-for-word glosses and English translations. Four Wambon texts complete the description.

M. Termorshuizen-Arts

This dictionary has mainly been compiled for Dutch translators, lawyers and others working with Indonesian law. In the colonial era large parts of Dutch law were 'exported' to Indonesia. Apart from being a dictionary of Dutch judicial terms, the book aims to give the reader a clear understanding of Indonesian law and tries to make it accessible by way of comparative law. Attention is given not only to modern law, but also to historical aspects. Of the most important legal expressions the history is described. In the model sentences Dutch legal notions are explained in Indonesian and subsequently linked with Indonesian law. Of all Indonesian expressions the more important sources of legislation and literature are given.
This dictionary will also be a useful tool for Indonesian lawyers who still stumble across so many Dutch legal expressions in their daily practices.

English in Malaysia

Current Use and Status

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Edited by Toshiko Yamaguchi and David Deterding

English in Malaysia: Current Use and Status offers an account of the English language used in present-day West and East Malaysia and its status anchored in different linguistic, social and educational domains. After an Introduction giving a bird’s eye view of the status of English in Malaysia, the eight main chapters offer case studies revolving around four themes:
i. linguistic features, with special focus on pronunciation and language contact;
ii. language attitudes;
iii. English in on-line discourse; and
iv. English and language policies.

The chapters cover original data and topics, seeking to draw an accurate portrait of Malaysian English, a non-native variety of postcolonial English that is currently developing its pronunciation, grammar, lexis and distinct identity.

Dairi Stories and Pakpak Storytelling

A Storytelling Tradition from the North Sumatran Rainforest

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Clara Brakel-Papenhuijzen

This study of traditional literature in Pakpak-Dairi, an endangered North Sumatran language, is based on written and oral versions of stories. Discussing the views of well-known scholars of Sumatran languages, the book includes the texts of seven stories which were collected in North Sumatra by the well-known linguist Herman Neubronner van der Tuuk (1824-1894) and are kept in Leiden University Library.
The book also contains a story performed in the village of Sukarame by Sonang Sitakar, who may well have been one of the last Pakpak-Dairi storytellers. Presenting unique information on an endangered literary genre from North Sumatra.

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Edited by Alexandra Aikhenvald and Anne Storch

Every language has a way of talking about seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching. In about a quarter of the world's languages, grammatical evidentials express means of perception. In some languages verbs of vision subsume cognitive meanings. In others, cognition is associated with a verb of auditory perception, touch, or smell. 'Vision' is not the universally preferred means of perception. In numerous cultures, taboos are associated with forbidden visual experience. Vision may be considered intrusive and aggressive, and linked with power. In contrast, 'hearing' and 'listening' are the main avenues for learning, understanding and 'knowing'. The studies presented in this book set out to explore how these meanings and concepts are expressed in languages of Africa, Oceania, and South America.