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.