Welcome to my private journal generally on Brunei issues. Any opinions expressed are in my personal capacity. All rights to the articles are reserved.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Our Brunei Language

I found this really interesting site/post about the Brunei language. This is a good read especially those of you who are curious about the fast and weird slang we Bruneians have.

Do you ever notice that Brunei is always pronounced as Brun-ai?

Please check at the sound of vowel "a" at this webpage if you are unsure of what I meant, grrrr!

Only three vowel soudns are available in Bruneian Malay -- a, i, u. Wan's little head starts to experiment -- Brun-a-i, Brun-i-i or Brun-u-i...of course, Brun-a-i sounds better for the oil-rich kingdom that once ruled the whole of Borneo island.

Eh, then what happen to imbuhan such as "me" and "ber" ? Well, they become "man" and "bar".

That is to say, "memasak" becomes "mamasak" and "berjalan" is theoretically " bar + jalan" then evolves into "bajalan". No...I didn't make a typing mistake...it's "bajalan" alright as omission of the letter r is a characteristic.

"Ber...i" is an extinct imbuhan for standard Malay but very much alive in the form of "Bar...i". Examples: " basirai" which is the equivalent of "dibubuh garam" and, "babaki" which is " dibaiki".

Here's one imbuhan that I'm fond of...imbuhan sisipan "-la-" ( imbuhan sisipan is infix ). Nowadays schools teach you that armpit is "ketiak" but we kids love to joke about " kalatiyak". In fact, we prefer "kalatiyak" to "ketiak".

By now you should know that I didn't accidentally type an extra "y" for kalatiyak. Yeap, a letter is inserted to smoothen the pronunciation of words such as ..."katiak". Another example is "tiyang" for "tiang".

The most popular export word of Bruneian Malay is "-bah". Bruneians use "bah" a lot to invite, agree, get attention and prohibit. Apparently their neighbours the Sabahans love the usefulness of "bah" so much to the extent of adopting "bah" to their Malay.

When a Bruneian asks: " Siapa nama kita?" He is asking to know YOUR name. They use " kita" instead of "awak" as a gesture of respect. Would you like to hear how they say it? Go to this website to hear the sound files.

Bruneians also add prefixes to personal pronouns, such as "kadi-", therefore you see kadiaku, kadikita, kadikamu and kadidia. To denote plurality, they add "bis-" such as for "biskita" and "bisdia".

Bruneian Malay is abundant in expressions of kata ganda. "Merisik" ritual in a Malay wedding is " berjarum-jarum" for them. They call their fish "pila-pila", "aur-aur", "alu-alu", "kurisi-kurisi" and "tingkur-tingkur". Their insects are "sambah-sambah","suruk-suruk" and "budu-budu". Their plants are " ungguh-ungguh", "uduk-uduk" and "saga-saga". If you come to a village called "Patau-patau", then you knowlah its origin!

From the ancient cradle in Kampung Ayer at today's Bandar Sri Begawan, Bruneian Malay extends its influence to the neighbouring borders of Sabah and Sarawak. That's why in these areas you hear "Kamu tuli!" instead of " Kamu pekak!". I hope nobody calls you "palui" because it means "bodoh". Ha ha...

Don't worry if you think you cannot speak Bruneian Malay. Apart from the few aspects of differences mentioned above, it is very much like standard Malay.

Source: http://www.bahasa-malaysia-simple-fun.com/brunei.html

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