Southern Thailand place names in the Malay language

I have been to the east (Pattani, Narathiwat, Sungai Golok, etc) in January 2015 - just on the road, only went off-road to have lunch. Through a brief observation, it seems clear that place names in Malay in this region uses the Jawi (or the Arabic) alphabet.

And recently, I have had the chance to visit Dannok (west-ish) - just off the Thai-Malaysian border. Again, just a brief observation - some place names in Malay uses the Jawi alphabet e.g. mosque. Some businesses or shops (run by the Malay/Muslims) tend to use the Latin alphabet.

So, what should the value of name:ms tag would be? Ground truth, or there’s a suitable tag to include both names in Jawi alphabet and its transliteration in the Latin alphabet?

If both scripts are used, they should both be recorded when possible (at least until machine transliteration becomes reliable and practical). I don’t know about the factors influencing the scripts used in each area, but the choice of script for the name:ms tag should probably follow the on-the-ground rule. The other script can be accommodated in a separate tag. The -Latn suffix is quite established for Serbian and Japanese, and is also used for Thai. So the name in Latin script should probably use name:ms-Latn=*. I’m not sure about Jawi though. There’s name:ms-jawi, but this is used only once for the country name of Brunei. If we followed ISO 15924 we’d use name:ms-Arab. The wiki also notes name:mfa, though it doesn’t seem to be used. It follows the ISO 639-3 code for Pattani Malay, but doesn’t address the script issue; I don’t think it’s necessary since name:ms is available.

For these names, do I have to include a slash (“/”) to separate them? IIRC semicolons is not allowed in the name:* tag, isn’t it? Or just leave nothing in between?

Sorry; what I meant was both should be recorded, but in separate tags.


Excellent question! We need to talk more.

This is a test that I did which needs correction but as a proof of concept, it works. as you can see for Jawi the tag should be name:mfa

I have about 100G of Mapillary imagery from the South coming online soon.

Best regards

As I mentioned above, I don’t think this actually addresses the script issue.

First, though, we probably should address the semantics. The name Jawi properly refers to the Arabic script (ISO 15924: Arab) when used to write the Malay language (ISO 639-1: ms). But in Thailand it more often refers to the Pattani dialect of Malay (ISO 639-3: mfa), which is also spoken in Kelantan. I.e. both standard Malay and Pattani Malay can be written using either the Latin alphabet or Arabic (Jawi) script.

Simply using name:en for the Latin script wouldn’t be correct if the place has a Malay language name that is different from English.

So there’re actually two questions here: (1) Should place names in the Pattani Malay dialect use name:ms or name:mfa, and (2) When both Latin and Jawi (Arabic) script are used, how should we distinguish them?

Now things get really interesting…

There’s a (private, religious? pondok?) school in Pattani. If I recall correctly, it has names in Thai, English and (I’m not really sure) either Arabic or local Malay name.

I guess this is something that should be firm and might be put in the Wiki. Since I’m from Malaysia, I may stick with name:ms. Still, if name:mfa is decided to be one of the naming convention in Thailand, I’ll go with the flow.

But, I can’t help with the transliteration. I’m not sure whether the Pattani Malay (or Satun Malay) written in Jawi follows the official Malaysian-style transliteration standard. If I’m in doubt, I would simply put what’s on the sign. Easy.

For example, this mosque: I have used the name:ms-Latn for its transliteration - based on the name of kindergarten just next to it. Lucky this time, but can’t be sure in the future.

Not sure how my opinion is related: not all Malaysians are able to read the Jawi script; hence there is some (annoying) desire to use (or include) the Latin script. However, this sounds like tagging for the renderer.

I’m following the convention in my thinking is in South Thailand, people speak Bahasa Malayu Patani so the correct language code is mfa. The reason for this is because the dialect I understand has nuances that make it unique. For example to illustrate, in train stations they would write something like ستاني روتفاي which reads “Sathani Rotfai” which is Thai for “Train Station” which would be gibberish in ms. So if you see the Jawi script, you can safely assume that the intention is to express something in Bahasa Melayu Patani.

Still, there’s no reason why there can’t be overlaps. Bangkok is Bangkok whether it’s name:en name:es or name:de so if it makes sense in ms then it can very well be name:ms :slight_smile:

I’ll try to find someone who can answer the question of following transliteration standards.

We can follow the convention in which echoes what Paul mentioned and seems sensible enough. I’m just not certain about the use of Arab since Jawi does have a few more alphabets that are not part of standard Arabic and I’m not familiar with ISO 15924.

Best regards

While traveling in the South of Thailand, I found some inscriptions in Malay language in Latin script. Also restaurants in Hatyai write their Malay menu in Latin script. Names of mosques were often given in Arab alphabet also, and as far as I could read it, it was Arab language then (not Malay written in Arab alphabet). Thus I’d prefer the Latin alphabet for Malay names. But I do not know the situation in Pattani/Narathiwat, it may be different.
By the way, during my first holiday in Malaysia, I was first puzzled by the use of Arab script. On a big building I could read something like Hung Ching Bank (eh? is that Chinese?), round the corner I saw some Chinese which I cannot read, and on the other side of the building, the name of the bank was given in Latin script. Well, if it attracts more customers, Chinese business men will use any alphabet…

Fair enough. There’s even some difference from Kelantanese Malay - someone from Pattani runs a tomyum restaurant nearby here.

The more you know! I think this makes the clear case for the name:mfa= tag. I can confirm that its transliteration into name:ms= is simply gibberish and meaningless (it’s stesen kereta api in Standard Malay).

I agree with this. It’s just I’m new to the ISO standard thingy, so… :laughing:

I’m inclined to do the same. In fact, not every Malay (or Muslims) in Malaysia could even read Jawi nowadays; so that’s why I’m biased to use the Latin script instead. But, this defies on-the-ground rule, and also it’s tagging for the renderer.

The Jawi script sometimes can be seen on the road signs. It’s more prominent in Kelantan (or lesser extent in Terengganu).

Hong Leong Bank, maybe? :laughing:

Have we reached a conclusion here? It seems agreed that name:mfa=* should be used, with Jawi script as the default. So what should the Latin script use? name:mfa-Latn or name:ms?

I guess we would use name:mfa-Latn. The tag name:ms strictly implies an element’s name in the official, standard Malay language spoken in Malaysia.