A Fortune-Teller Told Me: Earthbound Travels in the Far East by Tiziano Terzani

By Tiziano Terzani

“An completely captivating and interesting commute ebook that gives bright images of bizarre corners of Asia, informed via a talented raconteur whose eyes have been open wide.” —Los Angeles instances e-book Review

Warned via a Hong Kong fortune-teller to not danger flying for a complete yr, Tiziano Terzani—a tremendously skilled Asia correspondent—took what he known as “the first step into an unknown global. . . . It grew to become out to be the most awesome years i've got ever spent: i used to be marked for dying, and in its place i used to be reborn.”

Traveling through foot, boat, bus, automobile, and educate, he visited Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Mongolia, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. Geography improved less than his ft. He consulted soothsayers, sorcerers, and shamans and obtained a lot advice—some clever, a few otherwise—about his destiny. With time to imagine, he realized to appreciate, recognize, and worry for older methods of existence and ideology now threatened via the crasser sorts of Western modernity. He rediscovered a spot he were reporting on for many years. And reinvigorated himself within the approach.

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The AD 942 inscription found in western Java contains just 13 words, eight Sanskrit and five Malay. While Sanskrit words would have been entering the language, certainly by later Srivijayan OLD M A L AY • 45 times, the large number of Sanskrit words in the inscriptions does not point to large-scale borrowing in the 7th century. Rather, Sanskrit was partly used precisely because it was not familiar; its mystery enhanced the power and efficacy of the texts. The next known examples of Malay are three inscriptions from the 14th century, 700 years after the Srivijayan inscriptions.

This inscription also contains many Sanskrit words. 24 Apart from the inscriptions, nothing is known of Srivijayan literature, although there must have been a considerable court literature over many centuries. The 14th-century Pagarruyung inscription suggests that Old Malay remained in use as a written language, with Indian script and containing many Sanskrit elements, up to the end of the Sumatran Buddhist period, which may have lasted longer in the hinterland than on the coast. 25 Nevertheless, the early literature of the Islamic period probably carried on a number of traditions from the earlier period.

Borrowing from Sanskrit represents the first known influence on Malay from a language external to the Austronesian group. Presumably, many borrowings have disappeared from the language and most of the Sanskrit elements appearing in Old Malay inscriptions cannot be regarded as borrowings at all, as already mentioned. However, a great many Sanskrit words exist in the present-day language, many of them so assimilated that Indonesians are not aware that they are borrowings. It cannot be stated for certain when most of these terms actually acquired general acceptance in Malay; the process of adoption stretched over many centuries and some words would have acquired common usage much earlier or later than others, even within the same semantic domain.

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