Central Melanau
Native toMalaysia, Brunei
RegionSarawak and neighbouring Brunei
EthnicityMelanau people
Native speakers
110,000 (2000)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
mel – Central Melanau
sdx – Sibu Melanau
Glottologcent2101  Central
sibu1258  Sibu
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Melanau is an Austronesian language spoken in the coastal area of the Rajang delta on northwest Borneo, Sarawak, Malaysia and Brunei. There are several dialects—Mukah-Oya, Balingian, Bruit, Dalat, Lawas, Igan, Sarikei, Segahan, Prehan, Segalang, and Siteng.[2]



Melanau has the following consonants.[3]

Bilabial Coronal Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Stops and
Voiceless p t k ʔ
Voiced b d ɡ
Fricatives s h, ɦ
Nasals m n ɲ ŋ
Lateral l
Trills r ʀ
Semivowels w j


Melanau has the following vowels.[3]

front central back
High i u
Mid ɛ ə ɔ
Low a

Sounds /i a u ɔ/ can have allophones of [ɪ æ~ʌ ʊ ɒ].[4]


Vowels and diphthongs



  1. ^ Central Melanau at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Sibu Melanau at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Raymond G. Gordon Jr., ed. 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. 15th edition. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics.
  3. ^ a b Clayre 1970.
  4. ^ Clayre 1972.
  5. ^ "Melanau language". Omniglot. Retrieved 27 August 2021.