|Native to||Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei|
700,000 L2 speakers in Malaysia (2013)
The Iban language (jaku Iban) is spoken by the Iban, a branch of the Dayak ethnic group, who live in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan and in Brunei. It belongs to the Malayic languages, a Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian language family.
Iban is classified as a Malayic language, a Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian language family. The language is closely related to Malay, more closely to Sarawakian Malay. It is thought that the homeland of the Malayic languages is in western Borneo, where the Ibanic languages remain. The Malayan branch represents a secondary dispersal, probably from central Sumatra but possibly also from Borneo.
The Iban language is the native language of the Iban people, who fall under the general grouping of "Dayak"(i.e. native peoples of Borneo). Previously, the Iban were referred to during the colonial period as "Sea Dayaks". Their homeland is the island of Borneo, which is politically divided between Malaysia and Indonesia; the Iban can mostly be found in the Malaysian state of Sarawak.
The Iban can be subdivided into different sub-ethnic groups, each of which speak in different dialects. The most formal, intermediate, and working dialect is the Saribas dialect, and mainly Betong and Saratok. Others such as Balau, Sebuyau, Ulu Ai, and Rejang are mutually intelligible throughout the Sarawak region. The exception is the Iban Remun/milikin dialect, which is still understood by Ibans from other districts. In West Kalimantan, dialects such as Bugau, Seberuang, Mualang, Chengkang, Sebaru, and Dau are more disparate.
|English||Balau (Sarawak)||Mualang (Kalimantan)|
-Sample phases in Iban Remun-
|Like this||Baka nya||Baka nia|
Iban has the following consonant inventory:
Vowel sounds are nasalized when preceded by a nasal consonant.
Although the Iban language is presently written using the Latin alphabet, an Iban syllabary (the Dunging script) was devised by Dunging anak Gunggu, who reportedly spent fifteen years from 1947 to 1962 devising the script. Twenty generations before Dunging, which would represent approximately 400–600 years, an ancestor named Renggi also devised a script, but it was apparently lost in a flood. The Iban syllabary is published but is not widely distributed; recent efforts by Dr. Bromeley Philip of Universiti Teknologi MARA to promote and revitalize the use of script have resulted in the creation of digital fonts, a teaching program, and the transcription of several traditional folktales.
In 2010, extending Dunging's work, Dr Bromeley Philip of Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Sarawak developed computer fonts for the Iban alphabet, called LaserIban. His aim is to help preserve the Iban alphabet in digital form in the modern world. The LaserIban is available for Windows and Macintosh computers and is completely cross-platform compatible.
Lexical roots can be expanded by many affixes in Iban, as exemplified here with the verb gagai.
|Type of noun affixes||Affix||Example of root word||Example of derived word|
|Prefix||pe-||mangah (angry)||pemangah (hot tempered)|
|pen-||datai (arrive)||penatai (arrival)|
|penge-||rindu (love) (verb)||pengerindu (love) (noun)|
|be-||reta (property, possessions)||bereta (rich)|
|bepe-||rindang (entertained)||beperindang (being entertained )|
|beke- bete||kitang (hang)||bekekitang (hanging in group)|
|ke-||rimpak (break)||kerimpak (broken pieces)|
|m- n- me- nge- nye||panduk (cooked)||manduk (cooking)|
|di-||sium (kiss)||disium (being kissed)|
|dipe-||jaku (word, talk)||dipejaku (being talk about, gossiped)|
|se-||iku (tail)||seiku, siku (one (person) )|
|sepe(m)-||panjai (long)||sepemanjai (as long as, measurement of long)|
|te-||indik (footstep)||terindik (accidentally stepping on something)|
|Infix||⟨er⟩||titik (drip)||teritik (dripping)|
|Suffix||-ka||pasuk (wear)||pasukka (wear) (command)|
|-i||garam (salt)||garami, gerami (marinade)|
|Circumfix||ng-...-kn||ayah (waste)||ngayahka (wasting, playing)|
|be-...-ka||kena (hit, for)||bekenaka (wears)|
|First-person exclusive||aku||kami səduai||kami|
Mostly pronouns are put after subjects
|enggi di, ngedi,||your|
|enggi iya, ngi'ya||his/her|
|enggi tua||ours (both of us)|
|engkita||belong to all of you|
There are three demonstrative determiners in Iban. Tu "this, these" is used for a noun which is generally near to the speaker, nya "that, those" is used for a noun which is generally far from the speaker and "Nyin" which is the furthest from the speaker.
|tu||bup tu||This book, these books|
|nya||ukui nya||That dog, those dogs|
|nyin||bungai nyin||That (furthest) flower(s)|
These words can also act as demonstrative pronouns where they can stands on theirs own, replacing rather than modifying a noun.
In Iban, demonstrative pronouns are words that show which person or thing is being referred in relation to the location of the addressee to the speaker. There are three demonstrative pronouns in Iban depending on location to the speaker. They can only be used to refer to an addressee (human) and cannot be used to refer to inanimate objects.
|Proximal||iya tu||this person|
|Medial||iya nya||that person|
|Distal||iya nyin||the other person (furthest)|
Demonstrative adverbs in Iban are closely related to the demonstrative pronouns in Iban grammar. For example, corresponding to the demonstrative pronouns are the adverbs such as kitu (= going here), kia (= "going there") and kin (= "going there (farthest)") equivalent adverbs corresponding to the demonstrative pronoun this are tu, nya and nyin.
|Distal||kin||going there or going yonder|
|Distal||din||there or yonder|
Iban also has a set of adverbs referring to manner. They are a combination of baka (ke) ("like/as") and the abbreviated determiner forms tu, nya and nyin.
|Proximal||baka tu||like this, this way|
|Medial||baka nya||like that, that way|
|Distal||baka nyin||like that, that way|
|Aka/Ika/Menyadi tuai||Elder brother/Elder sister|
|Adi/Menyadi biak||Younger brother|
|Ensanus||Day before yesterday|
|Lusa||Day after tomorrow|
|Tulat||3 days later|
|Lupat||The fourth day|
Example: Tulat tua betemu - We'll meet again the third day.
Ensanus ku bisi meda iya - I saw him two days ago.
The Iban calendar is one month ahead of the Gregorian calendar as follows:
|Pangka di labu(1st month of Iban calendar)||December|
|Nama berita nuan?||How are you?|
|Sapa nama nuan?||What is your name?|
|Berapa/mesa rega utai tu?||How much is this?|
|Dini alai ___?||Where is ___?|
|Ari ni penatai nuan?||Where are you from?|
|Datai ari ___aku||I come from ___|
|Pukul berapa diatu?||What is the time now?|
|Selamat lemai!||Good evening!|
|Selamat ngalih ari!||Good afternoon!|
|Anang manchal!||Don't be naughty!|
|Enda ulih datai||Couldn't make it|
|Anang guai||Hold on/Wait a sec|
|Nadai ngawa nya/enda ngawa||Nevermind/it does not matter|
|Nyamai, wai||nice taste|
|Pulai/mupuk dulu||going back|
|Aram bekelala tua||Let's get to know each other|
|Aku lelengauka nuan||I miss you/I am missing you|
|Sapa enggau nuan?||Who came/is with you?|
|Aku enggau ___||I came / went with ___; I am with ___|
|Alau dinga||Please listen (Saratok dialect)|
|Anang inggar / ragak||Silent, please|
|Kini ke nuan?||Where are you going?|
|Mar amat!||Too expensive/difficult|
|Tusah endar!||Too difficult|
|Kapa nya!||Couldn't care less/what is that for!|
|Selamat pagi, Pengajar||Good morning, Teacher|
|Enda nemu aku tu||I don't know|
|Aram ngirup mih kitai||Let's we drink|
|Ka ke pasar ku pagila||I want to go to the town tomorrow|
|Mupuk gawa aku||I'm going to work|
|Ka tinduk aku||I want to go to sleep/bed|
|Sapa kita ke manchal?||Who is being naughty?|
|Bajik amat nuan||You are pretty/beautiful (for women)|
|Sigat amat nuan||You are handsome (for men)|
|Aku meruan sayauka nuan belama||I will always loving you|
|Asai ke kala meda nuan||I feel like that I have seen you before|
Ba pun iya kelia, lebuh Allah Taala berengkah ngaga langit enggau dunya, dunya endang apin bisi bakal tauka gamal sereta nadai utai nguan. Semina ribut ti deras ari Allah Taala aja ti bepuput atas tasik ti agi petang. Allah Taala lalu bejaku, “Awakka penampak pegari.” Penampak lalu pegari. Allah Taala meda penampak nya manah; lalu Iya nyeraraka penampak nya ari pemetang. Iya ngumbai penampak nya “Siang” lalu pemetang nya dikumbai Iya “Malam.” Lemai ambis lalu pagi pen datai. Nya hari ti keterubah.
In the beginning God created heaven and earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep water. The spirit of God was hovering over the water. Then God said, "Let there be light!" So there was light. God saw the light was good. So God separated the light from the darkness. God named the light "day", and the darkness he named "night". There was evening, then morning, the first day.
|Iban language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator|