Dewan Bahasa Says Thosai Is Spelled 'Tose' In BM & Some M'sians Disagree

Some netizens said DBP should have consulted the local Indian community on the spelling of the cultural food.

Cover image via @DBPMalaysia (Twitter) & New Straits Times

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The Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) has recently pointed out that the official spelling for thosai in Bahasa Melayu is 'tose'

The government body in charge of standardising the use of the Malay language said on Monday, 17 October, that the correct spelling for the popular South Indian breakfast is 'tose', rather than the commonly-used spelling 'tosai'.

The word was brought to DBP's attention after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Yaakob was seen making thosai at an event in Bera, Pahang.

He spelt the dish as 'tosai' in Bahasa Melayu in his Facebook post.

Thosai, also commonly known as dosa, is often made of fermented lentils and rice on a griddle and is popularly eaten for breakfast.

However, the announcement of the formal spelling of the dish has sparked a debate among netizens, with many not in favour of the standardised spelling

"That spelling is not right. It sounds like you created it yourself, and it does not give any meaning or reflect the right picture [of the food]. It's completely distorted," said a user.

Some added that the DBP should have also consulted the local Indian community on the spelling of the cultural food.

Image via Twitter

Meanwhile, another said, "I think Dewan Bahasa sometimes forgets that language is determined by the living; the kamus (dictionary) should be updated to reflect how people use the language, not the other way round."

Image via Twitter

However, others contended that DBP was only standardising the spelling, and that 'tose' was adjusted to the conventional spelling system of Bahasa Melayu, where words are often spelt phonetically.

"The spelling is like how we say it. It has been standardised to follow Bahasa Melayu orthography, not other languages or informal Malay," they said.

Image via Twitter

Last year, netizens were also conflicted when DBP announced that the formal spelling of flat rice noodles in Bahasa Melayu is 'kuetiau':

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