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Kamus Murut Timugon-Melayu dengan Ikhtisar Etnografi, 2004.

Kamus Murut Timugon-Melayu dengan Ikhtisar Etnografi, 2004. Kota Kinabalu: Kadazandusun Language Foundation (KLF), xlii +1015 pp, ISBN 983-9325-32-9.

Although the purpose of this dictionary is to help Malay speakers learn the Timugon Murut language (and to a lesser extent to help Timugon Murut speakers improve their knowledge of Malay), it deserves a wider audience than this, since it represents an important contribution to our knowledge of one of the indigenous, Austronesian languages of Sabah. This is no pocket dictionary, but rather a solid, hardback volume comprising more than a thousand pages.

The Timugon Murut language is spoken by about 9,000 people who live in and around the Tenom valley in Sabah, Malaysia. It is one of twelve Murutic languages that are spoken across the southern region of Sabah and over the border in Kalimantan. (1)

The dictionary began as a computerized database of lexical information started by the editors, Richard and Kielo Brewis, in 1983. It was greatly expanded between 1991 and 2001 by a native speaker of the language, Selipah Majius, who as project co-ordinator saw the project through to publication in 2004.

Timugon, like other Murutic languages, has a complex system of verb affixation. Verbs may be inflected by adding any of the 13 prefixes, 2 infixes and 5 suffixes known in the language to a root or stem. Typically, a verb has up to fifty different forms. The verb ongoi 'go' is cited as an example (p. 901), for after affixation it has more than 125 verbal and nominal forms derived from the single root. This verb also serves as an example of another feature of the language, that is, the presence of vowel harmony, whereby, the addition of a suffix such as -an can cause the root vowel (usually an /o/) to harmonize with the vowel of the affix. This can be seen, for example, in the way the verb ongoi 'go' plus the suffix -an becomes angayan 'place, time of going' (Introduction p. xxx).

Austronesian linguists will be delighted to know that there is an excellent outline (in Malay) of the Timugon verb system (pp. 905-35). Timugon is described as a VSO type language, with a five-way voice system. This means that the semantic role of a selected noun phrase is reflected in an affix that occurs on the verb. These affixes are:
 Active voice signaled by the affix (-u)m- on the verb
 Objective voice signaled by the suffix -on
 Dative voice signaled by the suffix -in
 Instrumental voice signaled by the prefix pag- plus reduplication
 Locative voice (which includes location, time and reason) signaled
 by the suffix -an.


Given these and other complexities of the Timugon language, careful thought went into the arrangement of the entries in the dictionary. The editors had two principal aims. The first was that it should be easy for the primary intended audience (i.e., Malay speakers) to access, and the second, that the dictionary arrangement should reflect the semantics of the Timugon language. The possible choices before the editors, and their reasons for selecting an essentially root-based approach over an alphabetical approach, are discussed at some length in the Introduction (pp. xxi-xlii).

The resulting format is certainly clear and easy to use. All major entries have the head word/root marked in bold and located in the left margin, while subentries also in bold are indented. Affixation is shown by a parsed version of the word in square brackets. Malay glosses are in italics. Each entry concludes with the cited word used in an example Timugon sentence along with a Malay translation. Words identified as borrowings from English, Arabic, Malay or local dialects are indicated by appropriate abbreviations (p.xxviii). Typical entries appear as follows:
 inum
 inuman [inum-an] masa atau tempat minum, lnuman nilo ra inasi
 giu' ra baloi ri Nayam. Mereka minum tapai di rumah Nayam.
 This entry is followed by several more subentries based on the
 root inum. In the following entry, Ig is the abbreviation for
 English.
 Noos Ig nurse jururawat. Masaga' io mangandoi ra noos ru
 hospital. Dia mahu bekerja sbg jururawat hospital.


In order to help the user find Timugon equivalents for simple Malay glosses there is a Malay-Timugon index (pp. 843-97). While this may at times be a little cumbersome to use since many Malay words appear to have several Timugon equivalents (for example, Malay besar 'big,' 'large' has fourteen Timugon equivalents listed), it is undoubtedly a very useful addition to the dictionary and facilitates its use by non-Timugon speakers.

The appendix (pp. 899-1016) contains outlines (in Malay) of Timugon Murut phonology, grammar and ethnography, plus a glossary of terms used in the dictionary, and a short bibliography. I did notice that references to works by King and King 1984, and Smith 1984 (p. 900-1) have been omitted from the bibliography)

This dictionary represents an important corpus of information on the Timugon Murut language. All who have had a hand in preparing it, from the editors and project co-ordinator to the Kadazandusun Language Foundation who have published it, and the Embassy of Finland in Kuala Lumpur who met the printing costs, are to be congratulated on a well-produced volume (3) (Beatrice Clayre, Oxford, England.)

(1) There is also a small group speaking a Murutic language, Okolod, in north Sarawak. In the past, the term Murut, which is generally agreed to mean 'up-country' or 'hill people,' was applied not only to speakers of Murutic languages in Sabah but also to speakers of a Kelabitic language in north Sarawak. The Sarawak "Muruts" now call themselves Lun Bawang, and speakers of a closely related Kelabitic dialect living in Sabah and Kalimantan call themselves Lundayeh.

(2) K. D. Smith, "The Languages of Sabah: A Tentative Lexicostatistical Classification" in King and King eds, 1984, pp. 1-49. King, Julie K. and John W. King, Languages of Sabah: A Survey Report. 1984. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.

(3) The Kamus Murut Timugon-Melayu and other publications of the KLF may be ordered through the following website: Sabahtravelguide.com. The dictionary costs 100 RM plus 16 RM overseas postage. The KLF mailing address is: P.O. Box 420, 89507 Penampang, Sabah, Malaysia.
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Author:Clayre, Beatrice
Publication:Borneo Research Bulletin
Geographic Code:9MALA
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Words:1021
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