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Malayic varieties of Kelantan and Terengganu

On the 28th of September, Jiang Wu successfully defended a doctoral thesis. The Leiden University Centre for Linguistics congratulates Jiang on this achievement!

Jiang Wu
28 September 2023
Leiden University Repository

This dissertation examines the Malayic varieties spoken in Kelantan and Terengganu, two Malaysian states located on the northeast coast of the Malay Peninsula. It focuses on three varieties, namely Kelantan Malay, Coastal Terengganu Malay and Inland Terengganu Malay, all belonging to the Malayic subgroup within the Austronesian language family. On the basis of data gathered through linguistic fieldwork undertaken by the author, the dissertation provides the most comprehensive description of these languages to date, and offers an analysis of their historical developments.

The three Malayic varieties under investigation display notable similarities in their phonological and morphosyntactic patterns, characterised by significant phonological and morphological reduction. Despite these common features, however, it is concluded that these varieties do not form a discrete subgroup within the Malayic languages. The common changes observed in their consonant systems must have followed distinct developments in the vowel systems. Furthermore, the morphological reduction was primarily driven by internal phonological changes, and no clear traces of substrate influences have been found.

It is proposed that Inland Terengganu Malay represents a separate variety, distinct from Kelantan Malay and Coastal Terengganu Malay. A two-wave migration pattern is suggested: speakers of Inland Terengganu Malay likely arrived in the region earlier, whereas the speakers of Kelantan Malay and Coastal Terengganu Malay arrived at a later stage.

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