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Malaysia or Malaysian

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  • Eslbase
    2 June, 2007 at 10:02
    • Total posts: 85

    Posted on behalf of Shah:

    I am from Malaysia. Lately there has been some confusion on the use of the noun ‘Malaysia’ in the naming of companies, professional organisations, institutes etc, in my country.

    I am unsure whether it is grammatically correct for some organisations to add "ian" as in ‘Malaysian’ when officially naming their companies, organisations or societies.

    Here are some examples:

    Use of Malaysian – with ‘ian’:
    Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants
    Malaysian Palm Oil Association
    Malaysian Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators Malaysian Medical Association
    Malaysian Dental Association
    Malaysian Institute of Microelectronic Systems
    Malaysian Rating Corporation Berhad
    Malaysian Rating Corporation Berhad

    Without the ‘ian’:
    Malaysia Printers Association
    Malaysia South-South Association
    Malaysia Football Association
    Malaysia Cable Manufacturers Association
    Malaysia Association of Southern California
    Malaysia Airlines System
    Malaysia Weiqi Association
    Malaysia National Institute of Translation
    Malaysia Volleyball Association
    Malaysia Retailers Association
    Malaysia Budget Hotel Association
    Malaysia Amateur Basketball Association

    Other examples:

    Korea University College of Law (not Korean)
    Korea Institute of Public Administration (KIPA) (not Korean)
    Korea Institute of Science and Technology (not Korean)
    Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (not Korean)

    I would be most grateful if you could advise me on the following:

    1. What is the accepted, correct use English grammar in such situations?

    2. What is the grammatical reasoning behind your answer?

    3. What is, in your view, the best practice?

    4. What is the trend like?

    I know it sounds simplistic, but I believe that it all depends on one and one thing only in the end – it has to sound right. If it sounds erractic, chances are it is not to be preferred, not necessarily wrong though. For example, the word and a top brand name Malaysia Airlines, there is nothing MalaySIAN about it, in the sense that it is not conceptualised to distinguish it from British Airlines or American Airlines. It is Malaysia’s. Not Malaysian in that sense.

    That said, British and America are two exception. They LOVE calling
    anything local as either British or AmericAN. No such thing as America Airlines or Britain Airline, but it’s amazing that we have AOL – America OnLine.

    The ‘sian’ at one extreme can connote ‘ethnicity’ or geographical
    civilisation, ie. a race situate in parts of the world. To me, this is
    bad because it’s like yelling out loud thus, "Im Malaysian, you are
    British and he is Indian".

    Try using ‘Britain’ for British, in the examples above. It will sound
    very silly. In the end, there is no real solution. I know that. It is
    probably up to acceptabilty, practice, tradition, usage and recognition.

    Kuala Lumpur

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