20 December 2010

Kinorotuan vs Kinaratuan- why oh why


Each time I go back to my home sweet hometown, I can't help but feel irritated to see the misspelling of my kampung's name on the big signboard at the junction (Ranau-Sandakan Road). There, very glaringly un-dusun is the word KINARATUAN where it should be KINOROTUAN. As far as I am concerned, no one has ever referred to the village as Kinaratuan. The base word is of course ratu that could refer to either the fruit 'wild durian' or the action 'fall' (jatuh). No one knows which although if you spend enough time talking with the entertaining elderly folks they will give you their versions of the stories on how Kinorotuan came to be. The most popular ones I've heard are 1) the place used to be inhabited by ratu(s) and 2) somebody fell from a tree that his falling resulted in the name Kinorotuan. Dissected into its individual unit, the word would be:

ratu (wild durian or fall) - base word
ko---an - the circumfix that indicates a lot of things. When added to a 'noun-like word' it means location.
-in- - the infix that indicates past time reference

When ko---an is added to a base word that has the sound 'a' in the first syllable such as ratu (mind you, only with noun-like base words), the 'a' in that syllable changes to 'o'. Hence, the word kinorotuan.


By logic, version 1) is more believable because it conforms to the morphological system of Dusun as described above. Version 2) is not very convincing, as the only way to make a location out of a verb-like base word is by adding ko---on to it. Thus "a place where somebody has fallen" should have been kinorotuon. (If indeed the story of a fallen somebody had resulted in the name of a kampung, that somebody must have been an esteemed person or an entertaining idiot).

But apparently the people who endorsed the signboard didn't know this. And so the name of my village is still KINARATUAN. I bet I'll forever be irritated by this.

4 comments:

Tina said...

Hehe.. I like that 'entertaining idiot'.
I know how you feel, Verone, and I share your sentiment. I hate it too when people refuse to pronounce Dusun words correctly and then spell them wrong. A few decades down the road, the Dusun pronunciation is gone, forgotten.
One good example is 'Keningau'. To the old locals it used to be 'Kaningau'. (Even Oscar Cook in his book "Borneo the Stealer of Hearts" wrote the old sound.) And as far as I can remember my mama called the town 'Kondingou' though I must add she has the tendency to corrupt certain words.

azamain said...

...apart from the syllable logic,there was another version : 'kinorot' in dusun means being chopped,or a cut at the throat and 'tuan' is a modern way of the dusuns to refer to the old English masters or officers and guess what ? combine those two words it'll be 'cutting the head of the Imperialist ! ' . Patriotic at certain juncture but a sort of an easier way to remember the name and people of the place.

On a serious note though, pls highlight the correct spelling to the AJK there. Merry Christmas and Happy,prosperous new year,2011...:)

Verone said...

Tina- glad you share my sentiment :). At least I feel that it is not only me that's weird.
Azamain- your version is one that I have never heard of, but LOL, it's more entertaining than the ones I've heard! Well, have tried to mention this to some JKK members but they said it's not easy to change something that have been put in writing. Guess I'll just have to bear this....good naturedly.

Safry Saff said...

Do you know any else history about kg kinaratuan?