When a heart is hati and not jantung

  • Letters
  • Friday, 13 Oct 2006

I REFER to the query, “Heart to heart”, posed by a reader in SMS your Views (The Star, Oct 9).  

As the reader rightly points out, the Kamus Dwibahasa Oxford Fajar does state that the equivalent of the English word heart in Bahasa Melayu (BM) is jantung or hati. 

In fact, the dictionary lists other words as well, including kalbu, and these word choices are also supported by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. 

“Heart-to-heart” is an idiomatic expression, likewise hati ke hati. Idiomatic expressions have the poetic licence to adopt certain words over others. 

In BM, most idiomatic expressions that refer to “heart” favour hati over jantung. See buah hati, senang hati, baik hati, tawar hati. 

The reader must be aware of the danger of direct translation or of translating words in isolation. 

In some BM expressions, the words do not mean heart or liver at all, for example jantung pisang, jantung betis, hati-hati, hati batu.  

To the reader, may I state categorically that the Kamus Dwibahasa Oxford Fajar is right in its word choice. 



Editorial Manager 

Malay Language Teaching & Dictionaries 

Oxford Fajar Sdn Bhd, 

Kuala Lumpur. 

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