Not long ago, this word keep repeating itself in my mind. It is a Minangese word for just now (sacah ko) which is then contracted to a shorter word, cako.

I remembered when I was an elementary school girl, this word slipped out of my mouth, leading to curious reactions from my friends. Cako? What’s that? I wondered why they asked that weird question. They are just like me, born and raised in Minangese families, so there is no reason for them to not knowing that word.

Later, I realized that Minangese, just like other languages has different dialects. People from Bukittinggi and Solok talk in different way. Here in Bukittinggi, people use –no as a suffix to indicate possession by a third person. Meanwhile, in Solok, people say alum (means ‘not yet’) instead of alun, which is more commonly used. People in Pariaman often use –e as a suffix to indicate possession by a third person, instead of -nyo which is recognized as standard dialect. People in Payakumbuh talked in unique tone, making it easy to recognized by Minangese speakers who come from other regions. While in Agam, people use different words which means ‘only’: sen and men which can be used to distinguish the origin district of the speakers. And there are many examples which I cannot mention here. Thus, it is really okay, actually, for my old friends to not recognize that meaning of cako, since they were more familiar with tadi to express the same meaning.

Perhaps I could not let myself free from that experience, which took place years ago, sometimes I deliberately choose different words to sound like standard Minangese speakers.  I used tadi instead of cako, for example. Or se, not sen. 

Kama tadi? (Where have you been?)

Surang se? (Are you all alone?)

Frankly speaking, I was still nervous deep inside to be recognized as a Minang people who speaks in different dialect. What if they do not understand me? Should I explain to them? What if they make my dialect as laughing stock? Yes, the latter question is no joke. Some people here think that certain dialects are funny and strange, so they make fun of them.

However, more often than not, I mixed several dialects unintentionally since I had lived for several years in capital city of West Sumatera. My classmates came from different regions, so I got influenced. I was not realized about it until I went home once in a while and my parents told me that I spoke like people from other region of Minangkabau. They laugh at me sometimes, which was totally okay for me.

In conclusion, the way I speak Minangese is a combination of intentional and accidental choice of vocabularies. Since I currently live in my hometown, I tried to speak solely in one dialect: my hometown dialect. Yet, that way of speaking is not easy to maintain, especially when I am surrounded by people from different regions. That is the time when I switch my words: from cako to tadi.

Do you have similar experience? Please tell me yours.

Image source: here


6 thoughts on “Cako

  1. Haha. Same here. I usually pretend to use similar dialect with the people I talk with, so it’s quite flexible. But sometimes my friends recognize me using Payakumbuh dialect unexpectedly, like ‘cako’ which I most used than ‘tadi’, or something called ‘unique tone’ that you had told before. It is difficult to explain. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed. Sometimes, the native dialect just slipped out, despite of how hard I tried to mask my dialect haha. 😀 But I like how Payakumbuh people speak. Somehow it’s more like singing a song than speaking. Yes, it’s difficult to explain certain parts of this language in other language 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hahaha… Same hereee Amii… 😀
    It’s such automatically, default setting from the brain and tongue tu use the same dialec with the people you talk with.
    And for me, it’s kinda proud to speak and use my motherdialect(?) to very best friend of mine.
    Thankyou to describe this awesome article Ami, i love the tittle. “Cako”. It’s really Payakumbuahness ^.^


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