|Bahasa Melayu Brunei|
|Native to||Brunei, Malaysia|
|Ethnicity||Bruneian Malay, Kedayan|
|(270,000 cited 1984–2013)|
Area where Brunei Malay is spoken
Brunei Malay (Malay: Bahasa Melayu Brunei) is the most widely spoken language in Brunei and a lingua franca in some parts of East Malaysia, such as Labuan, Limbang, Lawas, Sipitang and Papar. Though Standard Malay is promoted as the official language of Brunei, Brunei Malay is socially dominant and it is currently replacing the minority languages of Brunei, including the Dusun and Tutong languages. It is quite divergent from Standard Malay to the point where it is almost mutually unintelligible with it. Although the idea that Brunei Malay might be classified as a creole language has been discredited, it does bear considerable similarities to East Indonesian Malay-based creole languages.
The consonantal inventory of Brunei Malay is shown below:
Brunei Malay has a three-vowel system: /i/, /a/, /u/. Acoustic variation in the realisation of these vowels is shown in the plot on the right, based on the reading of a short text by a single female speaker.
While /i/ is distinct from the other two vowels, there is substantial overlap between /a/ and /u/. This is partly because of the vowel in the first syllable of words such as maniup ('to blow') which can be realised as [ə]. Indeed, the Brunei Malay dictionary uses an 'e' for the prefix in this word, listing it as meniup, though other analyses prefer to show prefixes such as this with 'a', on the basis that Brunei Malay just has three vowels.
Main article: Languages of Brunei
Brunei Malay, Kedayan and Kampong Ayer can be regarded as different dialects of Malay. Brunei Malay is used by the numerically and politically dominant Brunei people, who traditionally lived on water, while Kedayan is used by the land-dwelling farmers, and the Kampong Ayer dialect is used by the inhabitants of the river north of the capital. It has been estimated that 94% of the words of Brunei Malay and Kedayan are lexically related.
Coluzzi studied the street signs in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital city of Brunei Darussalam. The researcher concluded that except Chinese, "minority languages in Brunei have no visibility and play a very marginal role beyond the family and the small community."
|Aku / ku||First person singular|
|Peramba||First person singular when in conversation with a Royal Family Member|
|Awak||Second person singular|
|Awda||From '(si) awang' and '(si) dayang'. It is used like the Malay word 'anda'.|
|Kamu||Second person plural|
|Ia||Third person singular|
|Kitani||First person plural (inclusive)|
|Kita||To be used either like 'kitani' or 'biskita'|
|Si awang||Male third person singular|
|Si dayang||Female third person singular|
|Biskita||To address a listener of older age. Also first person plural|
|Cinta||To address a loved one|
|(Di) mana?||Where (at)?|
|Ke mana?||Where to?|
|Kebawah Duli||His Majesty|
|kabat||To close (a door etc.)|
|Cali||Funny (adj.), derived from Charlie Chaplin|
|Siuk||cf. Malaysian ‘Syok’, Singaporean ‘Shiok’|
|Lakas||To be quick, (in a) hurry(ing) (also an interjection)|
|Karang||At a later time, soon|
|Tarus||Straight ahead; immediately|
|Manada||Used as a term when in a state denial (as in 'No way!' or 'It can't be')|
|Baiktah||'Might as well ... '|
|Orang putih||Generally refers to a white Westerner.|
|Kaling||Refers to a Bruneian of Indian descent. (This is generally regarded as pejorative.)|
1 "Bini-bini" is exclusively used in Brunei and the Philippines (Binibini) to refer to a lady. In Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, it is an informal way to refer to one's wives or a group of married women.
The vocabulary of Brunei Malay has been collected and published by several western explorers in Borneo including Pigafetta in 1521, De Crespigny in 1872, Charles Hose in 1893, A. S. Haynes in 1900, Sidney H. Ray in 1913, H. B. Marshall in 1921, and G. T. MacBryan in 1922, and some Brunei Malay words are included in "A Malay-English Dictionary" by R. J. Wilkinson.
The language planning of Brunei has been studied by some scholars.