Learn Bidayuh Bukar: Familial Terms

I don’t pretend to be a linguistic expert, nor do I understand the phonetics system. But today we’ll learn some basic Bidayuh Bukar terms. Note that the letter /ŭ/ is pronounced as in “urn” or “baron“. Previous spelling by western priests who first documented the language created the letter /ɯ/.

Father: Amang

Mother: Andŭ

Son: Anak dari (dari to mean male)

Daughter: Anak dayung (dayung to mean female)

Brother/Sister (Older): Umbu’

Brother/Sister (Younger): Adi’

Grandfather: Babeh

Grandmother: Tayung

Great-grandfather: Babeh alak

Great-grandmother: Tayung alak

Grandchildren: Sungkuh

Great-grandchildren: Sungkuh barak

Uncle (parents’ older sibling): Amba dari

Aunty (parents’ older sibling): Amba dayung

Uncle (parents’ younger sibling): Amang bejŭ (bejŭ to mean young or young adult)

Aunty (parents’ younger sibling): Andu bejŭ

Cousin (Older): Umbu’ tungar

Cousin (Younger): Adi’ tungar

Nephew/Niece: Anak buah/ anak adi’ or anak umbu’ (literally means child of sibling)

Father/Mother-in-law: Tuwa’

Son-in-law: Iban dari

Daughter-in-law: Iban dayung

Brother/Sister-in-law (Older): Ingka’

Brother/Sister-in-law (Younger): Ipar

In the past (and to a certain extent today), the Bidayuh do not address each other directly by name unless they happen to be immediate family born within the same generation, eg. siblings, first cousins.

For example, Mary has a son called Peter. Thus, Mary will be called Andŭ Peter, literally the mother of Peter. Children are often used as a point of reference.

If the person happens to be single with no children, they will be called by their first names among those within the same generation, or amba or amang/andu bejŭ.

It is generally forbidden for those one generation younger to call those above them by their first names.

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Languages of Sarawak

Malaysia (Sarawak). 2,185,500 (2004). Information mainly from R. Blust 1974; A. Hudson 1978; C. Rensch 2006; P. Sercombe 1997; A. Soriente 2003, 2005; E. Uhlenbeck 1958. The number of individual languages listed for Malaysia (Sarawak) is 46. Of those, 44 are living languages and 2 have no known speakers. (Courtesy of http://tusunterabai.wordpress.com)

Bakati’, Rara [lra] 11,300 in Malaysia (2000). Population total all countries: 23,300. 1st Division, Lundu, Pasir River, 2 small villages. Also in Indonesia (Kalimantan). Alternate names: Luru.  Dialects: Most closely related to other Bakati’ languages spoken in Kalimantan. Lexical similarity: 46%–50% with Bidayuh languages.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Land Dayak, Bakati’
More information.
Belait [beg]   Alternate names: Lemeting, Meting.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, North Sarawakan, Berawan-Lower Baram, Lower Baram, Central, A
More information.
Berawan, Central [zbc] 710 (2007). Sarawak. Dialects: Batu Belah Berawan, Long Teru Berawan. Similar to East Berawan [zbe], West Berawan [zbw].  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, North Sarawakan, Berawan-Lower Baram, Berawan, Central-East Berawan
More information.
Berawan, East [zbe] 1,100 (2007). Sarawak. Alternate names: Long Jegan Berawan.  Dialects: Similar to Central Berawan [zbc], West Berawan [zbw].  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, North Sarawakan, Berawan-Lower Baram, Berawan, Central-East Berawan
More information.
Berawan, West [zbw] 720 (2007). Sarawak. Alternate names: Berawan, Long Terawan.  Dialects: Similar to Central Berawan [zbc], East Berawan [zbe].  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, North Sarawakan, Berawan-Lower Baram, Berawan
More information.
Bidayuh, Bau [sne] 29,200 (2000 census). Bau, 1st Division, Sadong, Samarahan, and Lundu rivers. About 50 villages. Alternate names: Bau-Jagoi, Jagoi, Jaggoi, Sarawak Dayak.  Dialects: Grogo (Grogoh), Stenggang Jagoi, Krokong, Gumbang, Serambau (Serambu, Serambo), Empawa, Assem, Singai (Singgai, Singgi, Singgie, Singhi, Bisingai), Suti, Tengoh, Dongay, Taup (Tahup). Gumbang may be more closely related to Tringgus-Sembaan [trx]. Lexical similarity: 69% with Bukar Sadung [sdo], 53% between Bukar Sadung and Singai dialect.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Land Dayak, Bidayuh, Core, Western
More information.
Bidayuh, Biatah [bth] 63,900 in Malaysia (2000 census). Population total all countries: 72,380. Sarawak, 1st Division, Kuching District. 10 villages. Also in Indonesia (Kalimantan). Alternate names: Bikuab, Kuap, Quop, Sentah.  Dialects: Siburan, Stang (Sitaang, Bisitaang), Tibia. Cannot understand Bukar-Sadung Bidayuh [sdo] Salako [ knx], or other Bidayuh varieties from Indonesia. Lexical similarity: 71% with Singa [sne].  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Land Dayak, Bidayuh, Core, Central
More information.
Bidayuh, Bukar-Sadong [sdo] 49,100 in Malaysia (2000 census). Sarawak, Serian 1st Division. 30 or more villages. Also in Indonesia (Kalimantan). Alternate names: Buka, Bukar, Bukar Sadung Bidayah, Sadung, Serian, Tebakang.  Dialects: Bukar Bidayuh (Bidayuh, Bidayah, Bideyu), Bukar Sadong, Bukar Sadung Bidayuh, Mentuh Tapuh. Lexical similarity: 57% with Malay [zsm].  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Land Dayak, Bidayuh, Eastern
More information.
Bidayuh, Tringgus-Sembaan [trx] 850 in Malaysia (2007 Z. Akter). Southwest of Kuching, south of the Bau Bidayuh [sne], on Kalimantan border. Also in Indonesia (Kalimantan). Alternate names: Tringus.  Dialects: Tringgus, Mbaan (Sembaan, Bimbaan). Each dialect has a few villages. More similar to Biatah Bidayuh [bth] than to Bau Bidayuh [sne]. Gumbang [sne] may be a Tringgus-Sembaan Bidayuh [trx] dialect rather than a Bau Bidayuh [sne] dialect.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Land Dayak, Bidayuh, Core, Sembaan
More information.
Bintulu [bny] 4,200 (Wurm and Hattori 1981). Northeast coast, Sibuti area, west of Niah, around Bintulu, and 2 enclaves west. Dialects: Could also be classified as a Baram-Tinjar subgroup or as an isolate within the Rejang-Baram subgroup. Blust (1974) classifies as isolate with North Sarawakan. Not similar to other languages.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, North Sarawakan, Bintulu
More information.
Bisaya, Brunei [bsb] 20,000 in Malaysia. Limbang and Lawas districts. Alternate names: Bekiau, Bisaya Bukit, Bisayah, Lorang Bukit, Visayak.  Dialects: Sarawak Bisaya (Bisaya’), Tutong 1.  Classification:Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, Sabahan, Dusunic, Bisaya, Southern
More information.
Bukitan [bkn] 290 in Malaysia (2000). Kapit, 7th Division. Alternate names: Bakatan, Bakitan, Beketan, Mangkettan, Manketa, Pakatan.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, Melanau-Kajang, Kajang
More information.
Iban [iba] 658,000 in Malaysia (2004). Population total all countries: 694,400. Sadong River north to Bintulu, Sibu; Sabah, Tawau District, 1 village. Also in Brunei, Indonesia (Kalimantan). Alternate names: Sea Dayak.  Dialects: Batang Lupar, Bugau, Skrang, Dau, Lemanak, Ulu Ai, Undup. Second Division dialect is norm for literature.  Classification:Austronesian,Malayo-Polynesian, Malayo-Sumbawan, North and East, Malayic, Ibanic
More information.Balau

[blg] 5,000 (Wurm and Hattori 1981). Southwest Sarawak, southeast of Simunjan. Alternate names: Bala’u.  Dialects: May be a dialect of Iban [iba].  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Malayo-Sumbawan, North and East, Malayic, Ibanic
More information.

Sebuyau

[snb] 9,000 (Wurm and Hattori 1981). Lundu, 1st Division, Lupar  River mouth, west bank around Sebuyau. Alternate names: Sabuyan, Sabuyau, Sibuian, Sibuyan, Sibuyau.  Classification:Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Malayo-Sumbawan, North and East, Malayic, Ibanic
More information.

Kajaman [kag] 500 (Wurm and Hattori 1981). Central Sarawak, 7th Division, near Belaga on Baloi River.Alternate names: Kayaman, Kejaman.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, Melanau-Kajang, Kajang
More information.
Kayan, Baram [kys] 4,150 (Wurm and Hattori 1981). Northern Sarawak, Baram River area. Alternate names:Baram Kajan.  Dialects: Long Atip, Long Akahsemuka.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, North Sarawakan, Kayan-Kenyah, Kayanic, Kayan Proper
More information.
Kayan, Rejang [ree] 3,030 (Wurm and Hattori 1981). Rejang, Balui River areas. Alternate names: Rejang Kajan. Dialects: Ma’aging, Long Badan, Uma Daro, Long Kehobo (Uma Poh), Uma Juman, Long Murun, Long Geng, Lemena, Lisum. Limited comprehension of Baram Kayan [kys].  Classification:Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, North Sarawakan, Kayan-Kenyah, Kayanic, Kayan Proper
More information.
Kelabit [kzi] 1,500 in Malaysia. Population total all countries: 2,140. Northern Sarawak, remotest and highest Borneo mountains. Also in Indonesia (Kalimantan). Alternate names: Kalabit, Kerabit. Dialects: Pa’ Umor (spoken in Bario), Pa’ Dalih, Long Peluan, Long Lellang, Brung, Libbung, Lepu Potong.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, North Sarawakan, Dayic, Kelabitic
More information.
Kenyah, Mainstream [xkl] 20,000 in Malaysia (2008). South central, near Kalimantan border. Alternate names: Bakong, Bakung, Bakung Kenya, Bakung Kenyah.  Dialects: Oga Bakung.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, North Sarawakan, Kayan-Kenyah, Kenyah
More information.
Kiput [kyi] 2,460 (Wurm and Hattori 1983). Northeast around Marudi. Dialects: Long Kiput, Long Tutoh (Kuala Tutoh). Related to Narom [nrm], Lelak [llk], Tutong [ttg], Belait [beg], Berawan languages. Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, North Sarawakan, Berawan-Lower Baram, Lower Baram, Central, A
More information.
Lahanan [lhn] 350 (Wurm and Hattori 1981). Central, east of Belaga, southwest of Long Murum. Alternate names: Lanan, Lanun.  Dialects: Most similar to Kajaman [kag].  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, Melanau-Kajang, Kajang
More information.
Lelak [llk] Extinct. Long Teru and Sungai Bunen (at Loagan Bunut Lake) on Tinjar River. Dialects:Related to Narom [nrm].  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, North Sarawakan, Berawan-Lower Baram, Lower Baram, Central, B
More information.
Long Wat [ttw] 600 (Wurm and Hattori 1981). Northeast, Tutoh River. Alternate names: Tutoh Kenya, Tutoh Kenyah.  Dialects: Long Wat, Long Labid, Lugat. Not closely related to other languages. Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, North Sarawakan, Kayan-Kenyah, Kenyah, Kayanic Kenyah
More information.
Lun Bawang [lnd] 24,000 in Malaysia. Sarawak 21,000, Sabah 3,000–4,000. Population for Brunei estimated at 500. Southwest border of Sabah and Sarawak. Alternate names: Lun-Bawang, Lun Daya, Lun Dayah, Lun Daye, Lun Dayeh, Lun Dayoh, Lun Lod, Lundaya, Southern Murut.  Dialects: Lun Bawang (Sarawak Murut), Lun Dayah, Kolur, Padas, Trusan (Lawas, Limbang), Lepu Potong. Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, North Sarawakan, Dayic, Kelabitic
More information.
Malay [msa] A macrolanguage.  Population total all countries: 39,144,949.
More information.
Melanau, Central [mel] 113,000 in Malaysia (2000 census). Population total all countries: 113,280. 3rd Division, Rejang delta coastal area to Balingian River. Also in Brunei. Alternate names: Belana’u, Milanau, Milano.  Dialects: Mukah-Oya (Mukah, Muka, Oya, Oya’, Oga), Balingian, Bruit, Dalat (Dalad), Igan, Sarikei, Segahan, Prehan, Segalang, Siteng. Balingian dialect is linguistically quite distinct from others.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, Melanau-Kajang, Melanau
More information.
Melanau, Daro-Matu [dro] 7,600 (Wurm and Hattori 1981). 4,800 Matu, 2,800 Daro. Matu River from north channel of Rejang River to the sea, Daro and Matu areas. Dialects: Daro, Matu.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, Melanau-Kajang, Melanau
More information.
Melanau, Kanowit-Tanjong [kxn] 200 (2000 S. Wurm). Ethnic population: 500. 3rd Division, Middle Rejang River, below Tanjong. Dialects: Kanowit, Tanjong.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, Melanau-Kajang, Melanau
More information.
Melanau, Sibu [sdx] 420 (Wurm and Hattori 1981). Sibu, 3rd Division, Rejang River. Alternate names: Seduan-Banyok, Sibu, Siduan, Siduani.  Dialects: Seduan, Banyok. May be intelligible with Central Melanau [mel].  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, Melanau-Kajang, Melanau
More information.
Murik [mxr] 1,120 (Wurm and Hattori 1981). Below Long Miri (Banyuq) and below Lio Mato (Semiang) on Baram River. Dialects: Long Banyuq (Banyuq), Long Semiang (Semiang).  Classification:Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, North Sarawakan, Kayan-Kenyah, Kayanic, Murik Kayan
More information.
Narom [nrm] 2,420 (Wurm and Hattori 1981). South of Baram River mouth, Miri area and south. Alternate names: Narum.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, North Sarawakan, Berawan-Lower Baram, Lower Baram, Central, B
More information.
Okolod [kqv] 1,580 in Malaysia (2000). 1,000 in Sarawak, 100 to 200 in Sabah. Sabah southwest of Tenom and Sipitang districts on plantation estates; Padas River headwater area. Primarily in Sarawak and Kalimantan, Indonesia. Alternate names: Kolod, Kolour, Kolur, Okolod Murut. Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, North Sarawakan, Dayic, Murutic, Murut
More information.
Penan, Bah-Biau [pna] 450 (Wurm and Hattori 1981). Central, 7th Division, Merit, Rejang River areas. Alternate names: Punan, Bah-Biau.  Dialects: Punan Bah (Punan Ba), Punan Biau.  Classification:Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, Rejang-Sajau
More information.
Penan, Eastern [pez] 6,400 in Malaysia (2007). Population total all countries: 6,455. Apoh River District, east of Baram River. Also in Brunei. Alternate names: “Punan”.  Dialects: Penan Apoh. Related to Western Penan [pne], Uma Lasan [xky], but not mutually inherently intelligible.  Classification:Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, North Sarawakan, Kayan-Kenyah, Penan
More information.
Penan, Western [pne] 3,400 (2007). 4th to 7th divisions, upper Baram and Balui rivers, Mt. Dulit area, 3 villages; Nibong branch of Lobong River, a tributary of Tinjar River. Alternate names: Nibon, Nibong, “Punan”.  Dialects: Nibong, Bok Penan (Bok), Penan Silat, Penan Gang (Gang), Penan Lusong (Lusong), Penan Apo, Sipeng (Speng), Penan Lanying, Jelalong Penan. Not closely related to other languages.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, North Sarawakan, Kayan-Kenyah, Penan
More information.
Punan Batu 1 [pnm] 30 (2000 S. Wurm). Central, west of Long Geng, southeast of Belaga. Classification:Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo  Nearly extinct.
More information.
Remun [lkj] 3,500 (SIL). Serian District, Kuching Division,southeast of Serian to Balai Ringin. 13 villages.Alternate names: Milikin, Millikin.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Malayo-Sumbawan, North and East, Malayic, Ibanic
More information.
Sa’ban [snv] 1,110 in Malaysia (2000). Population total all countries: 1,960. Northeast on Kalimantan border, 4th Division, south of Ramudu, Upper Baram, Long Banga’, Long Puak, Long Peluan. Also in Indonesia (Kalimantan). Alternate names: Merau, used in Kalimantan.  Dialects:Apparently there was a dialect chain in Bahau area (Kalimantan); now a Long Banga’ dialect is developing. In Kalimantan, those living in Tang La’an are influenced by Krayan (Kelabit) [kzi] dialects.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, North Sarawakan, Dayic, Kelabitic
More information.
Salako [knx] 10,700 in Malaysia (2000 census), increasing. Sarawak census data for Lundu Bidayuhs; Salako are not linguistically Bidayuh, but are referred to as Bidayuh. 1st Division, Saak, Lundu. 22 villages. Alternate names: Selako, Salakau, Selakau, Silakau, Kendayan, Kenayatn. Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Malayo-Sumbawan, North and East, Malayic, Kendayan
More information.
Sebop [sib] 1,730 (Wurm and Hattori 1981). Northern Sarawak, 4th Division, upper Tinjar River, between Rejang and Baram rivers. Alternate names: Sabup, Sebob, Cebop, Sibop.  Dialects: Tinjar Sibop, Lirong, Long Pokun, Bah Malei (Ba Mali), Long Atun, Long Ekang (Long Ikang), Long Luyang. Cebop used on the Indonesian side of the border, Sebop in Sarawak.  Classification:Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, North Sarawakan, Kayan-Kenyah, Kenyah, Kayanic Kenyah
More information.
Sekapan [skp] 750 (Wurm and Hattori 1981). Belaga, 7th Division. Alternate names: Sekepan. Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, Melanau-Kajang, Kajang
More information.
Seru [szd] Extinct. Kabong, 2nd Division. Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, Melanau-Kajang, Melanau
More information.
Sian [spg] 50 (2000 S. Wurm). Belaga, 7th Division. Alternate names: Sihan.  Dialects: May be intelligible with Bukitan [bkn], Ukit [umi], Punan Batu 1 [pnm].  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, Melanau-Kajang, Kajang  Nearly extinct.
More information.
Tring [tgq] 550 (2000). Lower Tutoh River, Long Terawan village. Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, North Sarawakan, Dayic, Kelabitic
More information.
Ukit [umi] 120 (Wurm and Hattori 1981). 7th Division, upper Rajom and Tatau rivers, Baleh.Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, Melanau-Kajang, Kajang
More information.
Uma’ Lasan [xky] 1,250 in Malaysia (Wurm and Hattori 1981). Population total all countries: 2,750. Balui, Belaga, Kalua, Kemena rivers. Also in Indonesia (Kalimantan). Alternate names: Kanyay, Kenja, Kindjin, Kinjin, Western Kenya, Western Kenyah.  Dialects: Uma’ Alim, Uma’ Lasan, Uma’ Baka. Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, North Sarawakan, Kayan-Kenyah, Kenyah, Upper Pujungan
More information.

Languages of Borneo

The indigenous languages of Borneo is divided into 10 subgroups (Hudson 1978).

The Malayic subgroup includes Iban and Malay. The diversity and relative archaism of the Malayic languages spoken in West Borneo suggest that the Malayic homeland may have been in this area.

The Tamanic languages are close enough to the South Sulawesi languages to form a subgroup with them. They have some striking phonological developments in common with Buginese, with which they seem to form a separate branch within the South Sulawesi language group.

The Land Dayak languages have a few striking lexical and phonological similarities in common with Aslian languages. This suggests that Land Dayak originated as the result of a language shift from Aslian to Austronesian, or that both Land Dayak and Aslian have in common a source from an unknown third language.

Malayic Dayak languages are part of the Malayic sub-family (including, among others, Malay, Minangkabau and Banjarese), Tamanic languages are most closely related to South Sulawesi languages, and Sabahan languages subgroup with the Philippine languages (Hudson 1978).

Hudson (1970) should be credited for identifying and defining the Malayic Dayak subgroup. Previous scholars were not aware of this subgroup and classified the Malayic Dayak languages either with the Malay dialects spoken by Muslims on the Borneo coast or with the Land Dayak languages.

In this way they classified Iban as a Malay dialect, and Salako as a Land Dayak dialect with strong Malay influence. Kendayan Dayak was seemingly also considered as a strongly Malayicized variety of Land Dayak (cf. Cense and Uhlenbeck 1958). Hudson, however, calls Iban, Kendayan, Salako and other closely-related Dayak languages ‘Malayic Dayak’, and he classifies them together with Malay and other Malay-like languages[10] into the ‘Malayic’ linguistic group. His term ‘Malayic Dayak’ is meant to distinguish Malayic languages spoken by non-Muslims in Borneo from other Malayic languages.

Hudson’s classification also pays attention to the fact that the Malayic Dayak languages are indigenous, whereas other Malayic languages in Borneo were introduced from Sumatra and/or Malaysia. This is important for the search of the original Malayic homeland. Three areas have been considered as a homeland: Sumatra, the Malay peninsula and Western Borneo.

Kern (1889) was in favour of a homeland in the peninsular Malay area, and he rejected the possibility of a Bornean homeland. But his arguments do not hold (Adelaar 1988). The historical and linguistic evidence suggests that the Malayic settlements in the Malay peninsula are of more recent date than those in Sumatra or in Borneo (Bellwood 1993). In view of the geographical spread (in the interior), the variety (which in some cases cannot be explained as due to contact-induced change) and the sometimes conservative character of Malayic Dayak languages, some linguists tend to favour Borneo as the homeland of the Malayic languages (cf. Blust 1988; Adelaar 1988, 1992).

The dialects belonging to the Tamanic subgroup are Embaloh, Kalis and Taman. They are spoken in the Hulu Kapuas Regency of West Kalimantan near the head of the Kapuas River and its tributaries.

If, as seems to be the case, Tamanic is more closely related to Buginese than to other South Sulawesi languages, it has to be included in the South Sulawesi language group in a subgroup with Buginese (or with Buginese and Campalagian, cf. Grimes and Grimes [1987] and Sirk [1989]).

It is evident that the Tamanic-Buginese link has no connection with the Buginese migrations to the coasts of East, South and West Borneo from at least the 17th century on. The Buginese kept their identity or merged with the local Malays. Their migration to Borneo is a more recent phenomenon in comparison to a Buginese-Tamanic split, which must have preceded the Islamization of South Sulawesi. It must have happened so long ago that it allowed the Tamanic speakers to adapt and assimilate to a considerable degree to their Bornean environment, and to forget their “exo-Bornean” (from outside Borneo) origin.

As to the original homeland of Tamanic, as a consequence of its apparent membership of the South Sulawesi language group it is most likely that at some point in time its speakers have left South Sulawesi and have migrated to Borneo.

~ K. Alexander Adelaar (Borneo as a Cross-Roads for Comparative Austronesian Linguistics)

Dunging’s Legacy: The Iban Alphabet

*** UPDATE:

For those interested to purchase the font can get it from http://www.linguistsoftware.com/liban.htm

Mr. Bromeley Phillip, a lecturer of Linguistics in UiTM Sarawak is currently teaching on the usage of this Iban alphabet. You can check out his SACRED Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sacred/182482625216196?ref=profile

Dunging Anak Gunggu (1904-1985)

Born and Died at:
Nanga Ulai LongHouse, Debak Sub-District,
Betong Division, Sarawak
East Malaysia.

In 1947 Dunging invented 77 characters/symbols representing phonological sounds in the Iban language. His alphabet was taught to a few of his nephews while the rest of the people in his community were too illiterate to appreciate the significance of his alphabet then.

Undaunted by the poor response from the surrounding community, Dunging kept at revising and refining his alphabet until after almost 15 years he managed to discard some overlapping and redundant characters. He finally managed to revise the alphabet from 77 to 59 characters in 1962.

Dunging was once invited by some colonial officers to teach his alphabet system to the Iban public in Betong. through formal education. His effort was unfortunately short-lived as he was not in agreement with some of the terms stipulated on his alphabet teaching. He left and the whole school for the alphabet was scrapped. Ever since then, the alphabet eventually disappeared into oblivion even though there had been some effort to revive it, nonetheless, all efforts seemed to fizzle away.

Dunging’s adopted son, Mr. Bagat Nunui however managed to put whatever was left together into an unpublished manuscript in 1990. It was only later that the alphabet was revived and revitalised by Dr. Bromeley Philip to salvage it from disappearing with times.

– Taken from ibanalaphabet.blogspot.com by Bromeley Philip

An Iban Language Forum was organised to discuss the future of the proposed alphabet with a Windows Font coming out soon from Linguist Software called LaserIban for Windows.

It remains to be seen what the future holds and how will it appeal to mainstream Iban language educators.

The Chebup: Long Pekun Group

The Chebup (also called Sebop , Sebup, Sibup, Sibop) is a minor group of the Orang Ulu, sharing much similiarities with (and often categorized under) the Kenyah people. In the Constitution, the official term is Sebop.

If one were to study their dialect closely, there is hardly any word that begins with the letter “S”, “Ch” instead is common. (Clement)

So for the purpose of this post, I will use the word Chebup.

Chebup is the collective name for a few sub groups. Long Pekun, Tebalau, Long Batan, Long Menapa, Long Puah, Long Temaja, Meleng, Ba Mali, Long Suku, Long Wat and Lirong. Their similiarity lies in their language, where only small vowel changes occur between the different sub-groups.

The Long Pekun Chebup are found in the Tinjar area (Lemeting), namely Long Loyang and Long Selapun, with a population under a thousand. They believe their ancestors came from Long Pekun on the Luar river in the Usun Apau Plateau.

Linguistically they are more related to the Penan, some believe sharing a common ancestry. Culturally, they share affinity with the Kenyah and Kayan.

The last place they lived at (before the migration) was believed to be at Batang Utip, Menavan. Their neighbours were the Lepo Jingan and the Lirong. The Lirong had migrated to Dapui earlier on, leaving the other two.

The reason for their migration was war. The Rajah sent raiders to attack people in the area so that they would settle downriver, within the Brooke government’s reach. When news came that they were coming to Menavan, the paramount chief, Tama Balan Dieng, called a meeting and asked all the Chebup to migrate instead of fight. Some refused, but he said, ” Let us have pity on the women and children.” (Seling Sawing)

The banks of the Tinjar.

They fled and upon reaching Batait, saw smoke rising out of their former longhouse. They journeyed and finally settled at Tang Pelutan by the Dapui river. The Lirong (who migrated to Dapui earlier) and its keta’u (aristocrat), Ukun Bulieng, invited them to stay and they bulit huts around the Lirong longhouse.

” At first they kept very much to themselves, strangers in a new country, until Penghulu Sadimusak of the Berawanpeople in the Tinjar came up to make friends with them, exchanged gifts and the promise of mutual help in the future.  Penghulu Sadimusak told (the Sebops)… about the white men… downriver… Tama Bulan took some leading men to Marudi… to meet the White Resident… asked that Dapoi should be reserved for the Sebops, to which the Resident agreed.” (Guy Arnold)

Soon they moved to Long Telangau (downriver). They built a proper longhouse there. It burned down later. They moved to Long Tebu (upriver), then Long Dulit, Long Ta’a and Pau Bilieng. Pau Bilieng is where the converted to Christianity (Catholic), introduced from the Baram.

The Longhouse in Long Loyang which burnt down in 1990.

“… they had a meeting and for three days all  the elders argued as to whether they should keep their old customs or not. Finally they declared that the Christian way, without all the taboos to deal with, was much easier, so they killed three pigs and had a feast, and declared the old customs at an end.” (Guy Arnold)

After that they moved to Long Burui. They moved after 8 years to Long Loyang, thinking that the Government would not give them any development project. But ten doors broke away from them and moved back to Long Ta’a and finally Long Selapun. Thus the Long Pekun Chebup settled in two different longhouses until today.

 

 

Homogenized

Ethnologue (Gordon 2005) estimates that there are about 6,900 languages spoken around the worldtoday. It is also estimated that only 4% of the globe’s 6 billion people speak 96% of the world’slanguages (Crystal 2000).

Nettle and Romaine (2000) estimate that about half the known languages in the world have disappeared over thepast 500 years and Crystal (2000) suggests that an average of one language may vanish every two weeksover the next 100 years. This would lead to around half of the languages currently spoken around theworld to disappear by the turn of the next century.

In the East Malaysian state of Sarawak, other languages are also taught. The Iban language catering to the largest group in Sarawak is also a POL in both primary and secondary schools.
However, the reality is rather different as there is a lack of trained teachers. Consequently, few if any secondaryschools offer Iban as a subject (Sercombe, personal communication). In the state of Sabah, also in East Malaysia, Kadazandusun has been taught as a POL in government schools since 1997 (Smith 2003), and the use of Murut has just started according to Kimmo Kosonen (2005).
In West Malaysia an Orang Asli (the indigenous people of West Malaysia) language called Semai, is being used as a POL at lower primary school level in some schools where the community dominates. The use of these minority languages does not mean that minority languages are alive and many languages survive only if they are maintained in the home domain.
Unfortunately, the emphasis on Malay, the National language, and also English, the most widespread international language, are seen as more important than time spent on learning the mother tongue and a number of speech communities who do not see any economic value in their respective heritage languages are shifting away from the habitua luse of their ethnic languages.
In Sarawak, in order to be identified as Malays, the Orang Miriek who also are Muslims have shifted to Bahasa Melayu Sarawak. The issue of being teased by members of the dominant group and the backwardness associated with the minority group not only makes the younger generation of Orang Miriek take on a Malay identity but this is also the case with other ethnic groups who have converted to Islam
As the constitutional definition of a Malay is one who practices the Islamic religion, has a Malay way of life and uses the Malay language, non- Malay Bumiputeras who are Muslims often adopt Malay culture and identity. When this happens, their children will shift language use to Malay because they have taken Malay names and joined Islamic activities where their peers are mostly Malay.
The Bidayuh for instance, who are generally described as “a Christian race” (Minos 2000), have a number who have converted to Islam or “masuk Melayu” (become Malay). According to Chang (2002) there are about 300 families out of 10,750 Bidayuh families in the Kuching Division who have converted to Islam and hence this figure shows that about 3% of the Bidayuh population has embraced the Islamic faith in the Kuching Divison already. Therefore, Bidayuhs who have converted to Islam, mostly through intermarriage with Muslims, adopt Malay culture and identity markers such as wearing ‘baju kurung’, speaking Malay and eating Malay food (see David andDealwis 2008).
Sourced from The Linguistics Journal- September 2009
What have we become? Bowing to the majority because we are embarassed? Let us all think for a moment of the future of our culture, and be proud of our heritage.