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FASS Newsletter

The Pronunciation of Kedayan

Kedayan is spoken by an estimated 30,000 people in Brunei. One defining charactersitic is that it has no /r/ sound, in contrast with the six other indigenous languages of Brunei, all of which have some kind of /r/ sound. For example, roti (bread), baris (line) and acar (pickles) are uti, bais and aca in Kedayan, while they have some kind of /r/ sound in all the others.

Pronunciation of roti, baris and acar in the seven indigenous languages of Brunei
(from Daftar Leksikal 7 Dialek Brunei Darusalam, DBPB, 2011)

As expected, our informant produces pangabaa (traveller) with no /r/ when reading The North Wind and the Sun passage.

However, unexpectedly, she sometimes has an /r/ sound in this word, maybe influenced by its pronunciation as pengabara in Malay.

It is possible that pure Kedayan that is not influenced by Malay may be rarely found in modern-day Brunei.

For a detailed analysis see here.