All consonants can occur in word-initial position, except /h/. Therefore, Standard Malay hutan 'forest' became utan in Brunei Malay, and Standard Malay hitam 'black' became itam.
All consonants can occur in word-final position, except the palatals /t?, d?, ?/ and voiced plosives /b, d, ?/. Exceptions can be found in a few borrowed words such as mac 'March' and kabab 'kebab'.
^ Some analysts exclude /w/ and /j/ from this table because they are 'margin high vowels', while others include /w/ but exclude /j/.
Acoustic analysis of the three vowels of Brunei Malay
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 [?]. 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.
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."
First person singular
First person singular when in conversation with a Royal Family Member
Second person singular
From '(si) awang' and '(si) dayang'. It is used like the Indonesian word 'anda'.
Second person plural
Third person singular
First person plural (inclusive)
To be used either like 'kitani' or 'biskita'
Male third person singular
Female third person singular
To address a listener of older age. Also first person plural
To be quick, (in a) hurry(ing) (also an interjection)
At a later time, soon
Straight ahead; immediately
Used as a term when in a state denial (as in 'No way!' or 'It can't be')
'Might as well ... '
Generally refers to a white Westerner.
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.
"Ia atu bini-bini." = She is a lady.
"Sudah kau makan?" = Have you eaten?
"Awda mendapat cabutan bertuah." = You have received a lucky draw.
"Rumah saya di sana." = My house is there
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.
^McLellan, J., Noor Azam Haji-Othman, & Deterding, D. (2016). The language situation in Brunei Darussalam. In Noor Azam Haji-Othman, J. McLellan, & D. Deterding (Eds.), The use and status of language in Brunei Darussalam: A kingdom of unexpected linguistic diversity (pp. 9-16). Singapore: Springer.
^Noor Azam Haji-Othman & Siti Ajeerah Najib (2016). The state of indigenous languages in Brunei. In Noor Azam Haji-Othman, J. McLellan, & D. Deterding (Eds.), The use and status of language in Brunei Darussalam: A kingdom of unexpected linguistic diversity (pp. 17-28). Singapore: Springer.
^ abcClynes, Adrian & Deterding, David. (2011). Standard Malay (Brunei). Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 41(2), 259-268. doi:10.1017/S002510031100017X
^ abMataim Bakar. (2007). The phonotactics of Brunei Malay: An Optimality Theoretic account. Bandar Seri Begawan: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Brunei.
^Poedjosoedarmo, G. (1996). Variation and change in the sound systems of Brunei dialects of Malay. In P. Martin, C. Ozog, & Gloria Poedjosoedarmo (Eds.), Language use and language change in Brunei Darussalam (pp. 37-42). Athens, OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies.
^Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Brunei. (2007). Kamus Bahasa Melayu Brunei (Edisi Kedua) [Brunei Malay dictionary, 2nd edition]. Bandar Seri Begawan: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Brunei.
^Jaludin Chuchu. (2000). Morphology of Brunei Malay. Bangi: Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
^Wurm, Mühlhäusler, & Tryon, Atlas of languages of intercultural communication in the Pacific, Asia and the Americas, 1996:677
^Nothofer, B. (1991). The languages of Brunei Darussalam. In H. Steinhauer (Ed.), Papers in Austronesian Linguistics (pp. 151-172). Canberra: Australian National University.
^Coluzzi, Paolo. (2012). The Linguistic Landscape of Brunei Darussalam: Minority Languages and the Threshold of Literacy. South East Asia: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 12, 1-16. Retrieved 14 April 2019 from http://fass.ubd.edu.bn/SEA/volume12.html
^Najib Noorashid (2016). The 'K' word referring to Indians in Brunei. Paper presented at the Brunei-Malaysia 2016 Forum, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, 16-17 November 2016.
^Martin, P. W. (1994). Lexicography in Brunei Darussalam: An overview. In B. Sibayan & L. E. Newell (Eds.), Papers from the First Asia International Lexicography Conference, Manila, Philippines, 1992. LSP Special Monograph Issue, 35 (pp. 59-68). Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines. Archived 2015-05-11 at the Wayback Machine