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Arabic Script of Written Malay: Innovative Transformations towards a Less Complex Reading Process

Khazriyati Salehuddin

Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, Volume 21, Issue S, May 2013

Keywords: Arabic script, cognitive complexity, Jawi, national heritage, psycholinguistics

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A lot of efforts have been made by the Malaysian government to address today’s lack of usage of the Arabic alphabet for writing the Malay language (i.e., Jawi) and making it popular among Malaysians. Many J-QAF (Jawi, Qur’an, Arab dan Fardhu ‘Ain) teachers have been recruited to at least get Muslim primary school children today to learn Jawi formally. Nevertheless, this 700-year-old script continues to be marginalised by the population and is currently only perceived as a national heritage that is only used by the “more conservative” Malays in religious discourse. Thus, an effort to understand the root cause of why Jawi continues to be marginalised by the majority of Malaysians was conducted (Salehuddin, 2012) and by assessing the cognitive complexity of Jawi, especially in reading the script, Salehuddin (2012) carefully lists factors that lead to the complexity in reading this derived Arabic script. Following the assessment on the cognitive complexity of Jawi, the current paper puts forward some innovative solutions that can be introduced to Jawi to help reduce the cognitive complexity faced by its readers in the reading process. It is hoped that with an innovative transformation in the features of Jawi, this script will slowly regain its popularity and will ultimately be widely used in the Malay Archipelago.

ISSN 1511-3701

e-ISSN 2231-8542

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