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Old 8th March 2019, 08:38 PM   #2
A. G. Maisey
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 6,201

Patrick, in today's Bali this knife is known as a "blakas pengentas".

A blakas is any big knife, sort of equivalent to "machete" for us; "pengentas" I do not know precisely, but the blakas pengentas is associated with funeral ceremonies, the root is probably "genta" which is the bell that a priest uses.

I do not know the word "arug" as Balinese, and I cannot find it in a Balinese dictionary, but I do know it as Old Javanese, in this language "arug" is a weapon used for stabbing.

"Arug" also occurs in Modern Javanese, where its meaning is "soft & crumbly".

I have not even the smallest knowledge of Bahasa Sasak, but that is irrelevant in this case, because this knife is Balinese, the Balinese colonised and held part of Lombok for a time, and Bahasa Bali was used on Lombok by Balinese colonists, thus the name for the knife is the same on Lombok as on Bali.

The word "blathi" is actually a Modern Javanese word for a knife or dagger, "blathi" does not occur in Old Javanese, nor in Balinese.

An Afterthought

It has occurred to me that "blathi" is very probably a corruption of the Malay word "belati", which is a sort of knife with a wide blade, this word also occurs in Bahasa Indonesia, which is actually based on Malay as spoken in South Sumatera.

In Classical Malay the word "belati" means "European" or goods that have come from far away, so originally the word belati in Malay would have been applied to a foriegn knife.

The pronunciation of "blathi" and "belati" would be indistinguishable to a non-native speaker.

The Malay "belathi" comes from Sanscrit "vilayati", by way of Hindi.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey; 9th March 2019 at 12:58 AM. Reason: Afterthought
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