ASEAN Centre in MGIMO-University the MFA of Russia


"Tak Kenal Maka Tak Cinta (You Can't Love What You Don't Know)": The First Russian Dictionary in Malaysia

"Tak Kenal Maka Tak Cinta (You Can't Love What You Don't Know)": The First Russian Dictionary in Malaysia


In Malaysia, a Russian-Malay Malay-Russian Dictionary containing 50 thousand words (ISBN 978-967-0544-00-7, 778 pages) has been published for the first time. The dictionary was compiled by our consultant, Russian scholar of Oriental studies Victor Pogadaev, who currently works at the University of Malaya (Kuala Lumpur) as a teacher of the Russian language. Malaysian national writer Anwar Ridhwan served as the editorial advisor. The manuscript of the dictionary was prepared at the University of Malaya, and published by the publishing house Minda.

It is worth mentioning here that the first Malay dictionary appeared in Russia in the 18th Century. Then, under the orders of Ekaterina I, a glossary of words from 180 languages and dialects, including Malay, was compiled. Subsequently, mainly Indonesian dictionaries were published. However, the establishment of diplomatic relations with Malaysia in 1967 led to the emergence of new Malay dictionaries in Russia.

The first of such publications was prepared by Andrey Pavlenko and published by the publishing house Russkiy Yazik in 1977. At that time, the term "Malaysian language" (Bahasa Malaysia) was widely used in Malaysia; hence, this was reflected in the title of the dictionary – Malaysian-Russian-English Dictionary. Ten years later, the very same publishing house released a Malaysian-Russian Dictionary containing 30 thousand words. It is also important to note that a Russian-Malay Phrasebookwas released in 1997 under an initiative by the Malaysia Club of Friends, and was intended for Russian tourists. This phrasebook was included in the book Malaysia: A Pocket Encyclopaedia, published in 2000 by the publisher Muravey-Guide.

The latest Russian-Malay Malay-Russian Dictionary, which has been released in Malaysia, is not only relatively comprehensive, but also contains illustrations related to the culture of both countries. In a review published in the leading Malaysian newspaper Utusan Malaysia on 6 October, it was said that "the dictionary will e useful to readers from a practical standpoint, and will also contribute to the deepening of mutual understanding between the peoples of Russia and Malaysia".

And this is true because, as the Malay proverb goes, "Tak kenal maka tak cinta (you can"t love what you don"t know)". We shall also add that there are currently more than 3,000 Malaysian students studying in Russia. Such students do begin to learn Russian on their own at home, and a Russian-Malay dictionary will definitely be of great use to them.

The ASEAN Centre