Native toPeninsular Malaysia
Ethnicity25,000 (2008)[1]
Native speakers
28,000 (2016)[2][1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3tea

Temiar is a Central Aslian (Mon–Khmer) language spoken in Western Malaysia by the Temiar people. The Temiar are one of the most numerous Aslian-speaking peoples, numbering around 30,000 in 2017.[3]


Etymologically, the word "Temiar" means "edge" or "side". This meaning reflects the way in which Temiars describe themselves as "people of the edge, outside, [i.e. jungle]."[4]



Oral vowels
Front Central Back
Close i ʉ ʉː u
Close-mid e o
Open-mid ɛ ɛː ə əː ɔ ɔː
Open a
Nasal vowels
Front Central Back
Close ĩ ĩː ʉ̃ ʉ̃ː ũ ũː
Mid ɛ̃ ɛ̃ː ɔ̃ ɔ̃ː
Open ã ãː


Bilabial Dental Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive voiceless p t c k ʔ
voiced b d ɟ ɡ
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Rhotic ɾ
Lateral l
Fricative ɕ h
Approximant w j


Noun Phrase

The noun phrase is (pro)noun initial followed by modifiers and demonstratives or possessor pronouns. Pronouns may not be modified by another pronoun.[5] There are three allomorphic classes of pronouns (stressed unstressed, and bound). Stressed third person pronouns must occur with a demonstrative (and hence only occur as unstressed or as bound morphemes on the demonstrative (e.g. na-doh 'he-here' or ʔun-tu:y 'they-elsewhere.'[5]

Stressed Pronouns
Person Singular Dual Plural
Inclusive Exclusive Inclusive Exclusive
1 ye:ʔ ʔa:r ya:r ʔɛ:ʔ kanɛ:ʔ
2 ha:ʔ kəʔan ɲɔb
Unstressed Pronouns
Person Singular Dual Plural
Inclusive Exclusive Inclusive Exclusive
1 yeh ʔah yah ʔɛh kanɛh
2 hah kəʔan ɲɔb
3 ʔəh weh wɛh ʔun ʔən
Bound Pronouns
Person Singular Dual Plural
Inclusive Exclusive Inclusive Exclusive
1 ʔi- ʔa- ya- ʔɛ- kanɛ-



2 ha- kəʔa- ɲɔ(b)-
3 na- ʔə- we- wɛ- ʔun-

Verb Phrase

The verb phrase is ordered as sentential negation, auxiliary verb and main verb. The verb phrase precedes the subject.[5]

Further reading


  1. ^ a b Temiar at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Geoffery Benjamin, A new outline of Temiar grammar, Part 1
  3. ^ Benjamin, Geoffrey (November 2013). "Aesthetic elements in Temiar grammar". In Williams, Jeffrey P (ed.). The Aesthetics of Grammar. The Aesthetics of Grammar: Sound and Meaning in the Languages of Mainland Southeast Asia. pp. 36–60. doi:10.1017/CBO9781139030489.004. ISBN 9781139030489. Retrieved 2019-10-14.
  4. ^ Benjamin, Geoffrey (2012). "The Peculiar History of the Ethnonym "Temiar"". Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia. 27 (2): 205–233. doi:10.1355/sj27-2a.
  5. ^ a b c Benjamin, Geoffrey (1976). "An Outline of Temiar Grammar". Oceanic Linguistics Special Publications (13): 129–187. ISSN 0078-3188. JSTOR 20019155.