Linguistic classificationAustronesian
Glottologkaya1332  (partial match)

The Kenyah languages are a group of half a dozen or so closely related languages spoken by the Kenyah peoples of Borneo. They are:

Kenyah proper (a dialect cluster, incl. Madang), Sebob, Bakung, Tutoh (Long Wat), Wahau Kenyah, Uma’ Lung / Uma’ Lasan.

Ethnologue says that the Punan–Nibong languages are related to Uma’ Lasan, Glottolog that they are outside the Kenyah languages.


Soriente (2008) proposes a Kayan-Kenyah grouping.[1]

However, Smith (2015) rejects Soriente's grouping, and argues that Kenyah and Kayan are separate groups. Smith (2015) proposes the following classification.[2]

This classification of Kenyah languages was updated in a second publication, "Penan, Sebop, and Kenyah internal classification". There, it was shown that Penan and Sebop subgroup specifically with the Western-Lowland branch of Lowland Kenyah. This subgrouping was repeated in the dissertation, "The languages of Borneo: a comprehensive classification".


  1. ^ Soriente, Antonia. 1997. The classification of Kenyah languages: A preliminary assessment. In SEALS XIV(2): Papers from the 14th meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society (2004), ed. by Wilaiwan Khanittana and Paul Sidwell, 49–62. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  2. ^ Smith, Alexander D. "On the Classification of Kenyah and Kayanic Languages." In Oceanic Linguistics, Volume 54, Number 2, December 2015, pp. 333-357.