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Ibanic languages in Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia: exploring nomenclature, distribution and characteristics.


Iban, spoken as a first language by hundreds of thousands of people in Sarawak, Brunei, Sabah and western Kalimantan and as a second language by scores of thousands more, (1) has long been an object of scholarly research. For more than 150 years, wordlists, dictionaries, grammars, harvest chants, bible translations, comic books, novels, and school primers have been published from Nottingham to Bombay and Kanowit. (2) The Iban community's strong demographic profile, political importance and easy accessibility to English-speaking westerners have ensured its status as one of the few Austronesian languages of Malaysia that has been studied in considerable detail. (3)

Although the Iban communities of Sarawak comprise the largest ethnic group in the state with a population of more than 600,000 (Sather 2004), across the border in Kalimantan Barat the number of ethnic Ibans is rather small (4) and the distribution of Iban communities often displays a pattern of pockets or enclaves distant from each other. On the other hand, communities that speak languages and dialects closely related to Iban comprise a significant percentage of Kalimantan Barat's population with patterns of distribution that suggest a lengthy settlement history and processes of internal diversification.

The existence of these language variants that are closely related to Iban has long been known. For example, Van Kessel (1850: 183) wrote about the movement of at least 2000 Kantuk Dayaks ("de Dajaksche stam Kantoh") to the Selimbau area. Cerise and Uhlenbeck (1958: 12-13) mentioned only Iban and Mualang, but, in fact, western Kalimantan (Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia) has a large population of speakers of diverse language variants that must be classified in the same sub-branch as Iban. These include (among other named variants) Mualang, Kantuk, Desa, Seberuang and Ketungau, most of which are spoken along the mighty Kapuas River and its upriver tributaries and wetlands.

Among these, only Mualang has been studied to some extent, particularly by D. Dunselman (1950, 1955). A small monograph about Kantuk (Yoseph 1992) was published in Jakarta and a large Kantuk dictionary lies unpublished in Pontianak (Kadir 1991). Rahim (1997) undertook a preliminary comparative study of Iban, Mualang and Kantuk and has published a few short articles on related topics, for example, Rahim (1998). There is also a brief study of reduplication in Iban spoken in Kalimantan Barat (Mustafa 1990). The anthropologist M. Dove (1985, 1988 and elsewhere) has provided insightful analyses of Kantuk ethnolinguistics; another anthropologist, R. Wadley (1994, 1999, 2000 and other writings) has written extensively about the Iban communities of Indonesia. But, by and large, very few linguistic studies of the language variants closely related to Iban that are spoken in Indonesia have been undertaken.

Drawing on recent research conducted by staff of both The Institute of the Malay World and Civilization (Pontianak Field Office) of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Institut Dayakologi (Pontianak) as well as published sources, in particular Wurm and Hattori (1983), the names of these "Ibanic" groups and their distribution across Indonesian Borneo will be considered. Because of this paucity of information about the closest congeners of Iban, this brief and very preliminary description of the linguistic characteristics of some of these Ibanic languages, for example, Ketungau Sesat, Desa and Mualang, will be touched upon. This essay will discuss the term "Ibanic," provide some background information about some of the Ibanic communities of Kalimantan Barat and describe some of the Ibanic variants there within the family of Iban-like variants. The opportunities for further research will become immediately obvious.

1. Iban and Ibanic

More than thirty-five years ago, A. B. Hudson began his fieldwork in southern Borneo, focusing on the culture of the Ma'anjan community. He also collected limited wordlists of more than twenty-five language variants in that part of Borneo. In Hudson (1967), some of these wordlists were used to propose a classification of the variants spoken in the Barito River Basin. In that essay, Hudson dealt with the names ascribed to the various ethnic groups in the region. He discussed at some length the use of the terms "Dayak" and "Malay." Nonetheless, Hudson followed an established tradition of using "Dayak" as a term to refer to languages not "shown to have closer affiliations to languages indigenous to regions outside Borneo than it has to other Borneo languages." Hudson followed Cense and Uhlenbeck (1958) in using "Malay" as a term "to indicate languages more closely related to those of the Malaya-South Sumatra region than to other indigenous Borneo languages."

In 1969-1970, Hudson conducted a linguistic survey of Borneo's indigenous languages based on fieldwork in Sarawak and Kalimantan Barat, with funding from the American Council of Learned Societies. He collected at least thirty-five 330-item wordlists of Bidayuhic ("Land Dayak"), Malayic and Tamanic variants spoken in western Borneo. The results of his fieldwork in Sarawak and Kalimantan Barat, as reported in Hudson (1970), persuaded him to refine the Malay-Dayak dichotomy he had proposed in Hudson (1967). In doing so, Hudson introduced a large number of terms--some useful, some obfuscative--that have persisted in the field of Borneo linguistics.

First, Hudson had discovered that, contrary to popular nomenclature, Selako was not a "Land Dayak" language at all. Thus, in order to emphasize the linguistic cleavage between Selako and the many indigenous languages already labeled "Land Dayak," Hudson introduced a new term, "Malayic Dayak," to refer to variants "spoken by non-Moslem Dayaks, but which appear to be more closely related to Malay than to other Bornean languages." So "Malayic Dayak" was meant to contrast with "Land Dayak" in the western Borneo area. He admitted that "Malayic Dayak was an "evil-sounding term" (Hudson 1970: 302) but he justified its use as an alternative to Cense and Uhlenbeck's naming Iban a Malay dialect, which had "raised many local hackles."

Second, following from the term "Malayic Dayak," he introduced the term "Malayic, as a general term to refer to the various descendants of Proto-Malayic, such as Malay, Iban, Selako, and Minangkabau, wherever they occur." (5) Thus, Malay and all its dialects belong to the same Austronesian branch as "Malayic Dayak"; that branch he named "Malayic." He emphasized that Iban was not "just another of the myriad Malay dialects to be found scattered around the archipelago.... Iban is, however, a close relative of Malay, one more like a first cousin than a delinquent child."

Third, it was in this article that Hudson (1970: 304) apparently introduced the term "Ibanic," although he did not provide very convincing evidence to justify this term. He wrote (1970: 306):
 [M]embers of an Ibanic sub-group, comprising such isolects as
 Sebuyau, Mualang, Kantu', Seberuang, and the various related Iban
 dialects of Sarawak and Brunei, may be easily identified on the
 basis of the presence in word-final position in certain lexical
 forms of /-ai/ where cognates in other Malayic dialects exhibit/an/,
 /-ang/, or, less frequently, /-ar/.

He gave seven examples of this "Ibanic" phenomenon: bajalai 'walk', jalai 'path', makai 'eat', datai 'come', terbai 'fly', panjai 'long' and besai 'large.' (6)

Although in 1970 Hudson (1970: 303) modestly acknowledged that his categories were "rough-hewn," "very general indeed," and "provisional," he repeated and affirmed all three of these terms in a later publication without any such modest posturing. Hudson (1978: 14-15, 18-19) used "Malayic Dayak," "Malayic" and "Ibanic" to categorize languages in his overview of linguistic relations among Bornean peoples. The internal relationships among these three named groups appears to be as follows in Figure 1. (7)


All these groups and subgroups are considered by Hudson to be "exo-Bornean"--that is, not autochthonous to Borneo! (8) He linked Iban and Selako to "Malaya-South Sumatra." Indeed, many languages spoken by Dayaks are "exo-Bornean"--another cumbersome term introduced by Hudson (1978: 18). In any case, Hudson realized that there were no linguistic grounds for classifying all the languages spoken by Dayaks in a single category, although by making Dayak the headword of his compounds ("Malayic Dayak") that is precisely the implied status of Dayak. Hudson introduced a nomenclature that is clearly illogical but curiously long-lived; see Adelaar's (1992) use of the terminology.

In this paper the term "Malayic" is used to refer to all the languages that display the innovations listed by Adelaar (1992). The term "Ibanic" refers to that subgroup of Malayic language variants that display most of the features noted by Nothofer (1988) for Iban. Hudson's term "Malayic Dayak" is explicitly rejected here and the internal relations among Malay, Ibanic, Selako/Kendayan and other Borneo languages closely related to Malay, such as Menterap, Mahap, Kendawang and Kayung, are considered undetermined. (9) Hudson's term "exo-Bornean" is also rejected because it rests on an unjustified premise that close relations to a language outside Borneo imply an origin outside Borneo (see Collins 1996).

There appears to be a large number of unstudied Ibanic variants with diverse names spoken in Kalimantan Barat. Hudson (1970: 304) told us that the Ibanic language spoken at Kampung Kedemba' on the Ketungau River is known as Air Tabun. Hadi Kifly (personal communication, 25 January 2001), on the other hand, reported that other speakers on the Ketungau River refer to their (Ibanic) language as Bahasa Demam. L.H. Kadir (1991) listed Kantuk-speaking villages on the Ketungau. Apparently, as is often the case in Borneo, nomenclature is not so clear-cut; ambiguities and probably multiplicities persist. Wurm (1983, Sheet 42, Note 7) cited King (through Appell): "'Ibanic' (Ketungau) consists of a considerable number of sub-dialects spoken along the Ketungau River, i.e., Air Tabun, Sigarau, Seklau, Sekapat, Bugau, Banjur, Sebaru', Demam and Maung."

Although Hudson (1970) collected a Kantuk wordlist from a speaker from Kampung Sagin on the Suai River, Upper Kapuas, more than 800 km. from the coast at Pontianak, most Ibanic communities live further downriver. Some occupy niches in the swampy areas near the Kapuas Lakes region, about 500-600 km. from the coast between the Kapuas River and the border with Malaysia. (10) Others, including the groups mentioned by Wurm, live on the Ketungau River. Diverse Ibanic groups, including Iban and Mualang communities, live further downriver on the Kapuas or its tributaries.

Some of these groups are small isolated communities surrounded by local majority non-Malay groups. For example, Sellato (1986) discussed the existence of a single community of 107 Iban speakers about 100-150 km. south of the Kapuas on the Menukung River, a tributary of the Melawi, the major branch of the Kapuas. (11) In the uppermost reaches of the Sambas River near Seluas, Albertus (2002) worked with two Iban speakers coming from a total of about 250 located in 2-3 villages completely surrounded by Bidayuhic speakers (both Bakati' and Jagoi languages). See Map 1, where these Iban outliers appear as small circles far from each other and disconnected from other Ibanic communities as well. Another group of just 4000 Ibanic speakers, locally known as "Dayak Kedeh" lives in hamlets about 40-50 km. east of Balai Karangan near the international border (Sujarni 2002).


Other Ibanic groups, such as the Desa and Seberuang communities near Sintang on the Kapuas itself "are jumbled up" (King, cited in Wurm 1983) in complex settings of multilingualism; see also King (1974, 1976). Dove's (1985, 1988) descriptions of the complex relationships that obtain between Iban and Kantuk speakers on the Kantuk River just south of Lubuk Hantu (Sarawak) reflect similar complex patterns of language use and social behavior. Moreover, apparently in the upper reaches of the Ketungau River near Senaning, several named Ibanic variants are spoken, including Iban, Sebaru' and Bugau, with traditional multilingualism and intermarriages and marriages not only in Indonesia but in Malaysia as well (Demetrius, personal communication 13 June 2002).

Ibanic variants in Kalimantan Barat are spoken in a wide range of sociological settings. One of those settings, perhaps atypical, is the focus of the following section.

2. Ibanic Communities: The Case of Ketungau Sesat

At the southwestern edge of the geographic region peopled by speakers of Iban and Iban-like language variants, in fact, just beyond the orange and dotted area circumscribed for such communities by Wurm and Hattori in their maps of Borneo (1983, Sheets 41 and 42) (12) lie numerous hamlets of "Ketungau" speakers. These communities project a rather different sociolinguistic profile compared to the various situations noted above. They are not isolated from one another in small enclaves, nor (for the most part) are they "jumbled" with other groups. On the contrary, the majority of these Ibanic speakers know only their own language in a wide range of dialects (see Section 3 below) and local Sekadau Malay (plus standard Indonesian). Perhaps, by examining this peripheral, distant relative of Iban we can better understand the whole Ibanic family.

Along the lower reaches of the Sekadau River, a southerly tributary of the Kapuas River, about 300 kilometers upriver from the provincial capital, Pontianak, and also in some areas immediately to the west and east of the Sekadau Valley and on the northern side of the Kapuas across from the mouth of the Sekadau, are numerous hamlets and villages of "Ketungau" speakers. When I first began to study Ketungau, I was immediately informed that this language variant in the Sekadau area was "Ketungau Sesat," that is 'Ketungau Gone Astray,' if you will. I was only slightly surprised because I had learned earlier in 1996 that the Sekadau River Basin boasts a number of sesat ('stray') language variants (Collins 1996-2002). By that time, I already had worked with speakers of "Taman Sesat" and "Sawai Sesat." (13) These were the terms used by the language informants themselves, but it is not clear whether they are endonyms, or merely exonyms that are tolerated by the "sesat" speakers. Each of these communities has oral traditions about ancestors who made the wrong turn, drifted too far, got left behind or simply went astray. Speakers usually emphasize that their language is not the same as the respective mainstream variants, spoken elsewhere in the province.

Indeed, about 100 km. further upriver from the mouth of the Sekadau River, the Ketungau River, noted repeatedly above, flows from the north into the Kapuas River. Along the Ketungau River there are groups of Ibanic speakers who sometimes are referred to as Ketungau speakers, that is, speakers of whatever named Ibanic languages are spoken in the Ketungau River. (14) Thus, the Ketungau of Sekadau are peripheral in a geographical sense because they are located on the very southwesternmost fringe of the Ibanic territories, and also peripheral in a social sense because they do not speak the mainstream Ibanic variants. Moreover, they acknowledge that they are "sesat." Whatever the linguistic and sociohistorical relationship between the "Ketungau" variants of the Ketungau River and of the Sekadau River, it is clear that the Sekadau variant of Ketungau can be identified as Ibanic, as will be seen in the following section.

Along the Sekadau River, the Ketungau Sesat speakers reportedly constitute the largest non-Malay group (Agum, personal communication, 24 January 2001). About 100 years ago, a colonial official, J. J. K. Enthoven (1903: 695-696), listed the Ketungau community as one of ten separate Dayak groups ("stammen") on the Sekadau River. At that time, Ketungau was already the largest non-Malay community among the ten such "tribal" communities that Enthoven surveyed; he estimated the number of Ketungau at 2500 persons, or 30% of the total Dayak population of 8390 at that time. (15)

Traditionally, the Ketungau speakers in the Sekadau Valley are swidden rice farmers. But most recently they have succeeded as cattle breeders (and even cattle rustlers!). More striking is the fact that many work as day laborers in the new palm oil plantations planted in the flat stretches of the Sekadau River's lower reaches. Moreover, most Ketungau hamlets are less than 20-30 km. from Sekadau Town, connected by roads and motorbike trails, and in some cases fairly regular public transportation services (local buses and ojek ('chartered') motorbikes, many of these owned and operated by Ketungau speakers).

Because of their relative proximity to the town of Sekadau and their reportedly early conversion to Catholicism, (16) centered in the town, with its locally strong educational infrastructure (see Chong Shin 2002), many Ketungau speakers are well-educated and work as teachers and government officials throughout the province. And there is a strong impression that Ketungau speakers constitute the majority of students in every upper secondary school in Sekadau--even the Islamic ones, like Sekolah Menengah Ekonomi Atas Amaliah, though, for the most part, the students remain Catholics (Yohanis Anas, personal communication, 20 May 2001). A few mixed Chinese and Ketungau families live in Sekadau Town, where they usually speak Hakka, Ketungau, local Malay and Indonesian (Chong Shin 2004). In fact, Ketungau can often be heard in Sekadau Town and some Chinese and Malays in town have some competence in the language.

A measure of the socioeconomic position of Ketungau speakers can be glimpsed from data recently collected in Lamau, a small dusun (hamlet) that forms a part of the Sejirak village. The main road of the Sekadau Valley, linking the estuary with the interior headwaters about 80-100 km. away, runs through the hamlet. By motorbike, Sekadau town is less than 20 minutes away. In Lamau, there are only 47 households (216 persons) living in single family houses, scattered on either side of the road. Among these approximately 40 houses, there are 30 televisions, 16 satellite-broadcast receivers (parabola) and 11 video compact disk players--this in a settlement that does not include a primary school.

Other Ketungau villages and hamlets are not so favorably located or as prosperous. For example, although larger than Lamau (about 250 persons), Tinting Boyok on a tributary of the Peniti River, a minor tributary of the Kapuas immediately to the west of the Sekadau Basin, can only be reached by a footpath suitable for motorbikes from the provincial road that runs parallel to the Kapuas River. Nearby, Tebelian Mangkang, where a different dialect of Ketungau is spoken, is smaller and shares the same primary school with Tinting Boyok. In both these hamlets, speakers usually know only their own dialect of Ketungau, Sekadau Malay and Indonesian. In Selabi, a much larger village directly across the Kapuas River from Sekadau Town (a 500 rupiah boat ride), the Ketungau speakers often also know Benawas, a Malayic (non-Ibanic) language more closely related to Malay, because a number of Benawas hamlets are found in the vicinity.

Thus, Ketungau, like many Ibanic variants in Kalimantan Barat, is spoken in a large number of dialects in a diverse array of social settings.

3. Characteristics of Ibanie Variants in Kalimantan Barat

In this section a few observations are made about some Ibanic language variants spoken in Kalimantan Barat. These notes are far from complete and the intent is simply to provide a few examples for our discussion. Clearly an intensive, comprehensive research program ranging over the whole region is sorely needed. The notes presented here are intended merely to give an impression of both the obvious diversity and underlying unity of Ibanic in Kalimantan Barat.

It must also be emphasized that these impressions are not based on a focused study of Ibanic variants. Rather, the research conducted so far has been discontinuous and serendipitous. Initially, the data that spurred this study were collected in Pontianak in 1999 from a 39-year old Ketungau "Sesat" speaker from Empaung Village (on the Sekadau River). I compared these materials with a smaller Mualang vocabulary collected in 1996 (Collins 1996-2002). Then in 2001, more data were collected in Lamau from two Ketungau speakers in their 20s born in Sejirak hamlet about 18 km. from Sekadau Town. (17) Later in 2001 I set about collecting a few samples of other Ketungau variants and of the Desa language. In 2002-2004 additional wordlists of other Ibanic variants were added for comparison. (18) So it must be emphasized that, although these data were collected by the same fieldworker, the collection was sporadic and discontinuous over a period of nine years, 1996-2004.

For comparative reasons, the data, few as they are, and analyses, preliminary as they are, are arranged in three sets: Ketungau Sesat, Seberuang and Desa, and Mualang and Bugau.

Ketungau Sesat

One of the most divergent Ibanic languages is probably Ketungau, as it is spoken in villages in and around the Sekadau River Basin. Not only does it differ markedly from our notion of Ibanic, based on Sarawak's standard Iban, it also displays considerable internal, that is interdialectal, diversity. As an example, please refer to Table 1, a simple 15-word vocabulary of five dialects of Ketungau Sesat.

These five dialects display a number of similarities. First, we note DIPHTHONGIZATION of final high vowels, /u/ and /i/ (19), ranging from the moderate diphthongization in Selabi ([sik[u.sup.w]] 'elbow' and [kak[begin strikethrough]I[end strikethrough]y] 'leg') to diphthongization coupled with centralization of these vowels; for example:
 Empaung T. Mangkang Tinting Boyok

elbow sik[begin strikethrough]u sik[LAMBDA]w sik[??]w
 [end strikethrough]w

leg kak[begin strikethrough]i kak[LAMBDA]y kak[??]y
 [end strikethrough]y

Second, all these dialects display the shift of final alveolar occlusives, /t/ and /s/, to the matching glottal occlusive, [[??]] and [h] respectively, usually with a glide trace or another change in the preceding vowel. So, we note:
 Empaung T. Mangkang Tinting Boyok

heel tu[m.sup.b]i[??] tum[epsilon][??] tumiy[??]
knee p[??]l[??]t[u.sup.y][??] palatu[i.sup.y[[??] p[??]l[??]tw
calf b[??]tih b[??]t[??]h b[??]tiyh

Third, each of these dialects shows a shift of /a/ in final open syllables or final syllables ending in an original glottal stop /[??]/ to a low back vowel, often rounded, (20) for example:
 Empaung T. Mangkang Tinting Boyok (21)

left side kib[??] kib[??] kib[[??].sup.[??]
thigh p[o.sup.w]: p[??]: pa[??]

A fourth characteristic of Ketungau Sesat variants is the weakening of the final velar nasal, /[eta]/, which is retained only as nasalization of the preceding vowel. Note, however, that the front nasals /m/ and /n/ are unchanged in final position. In Table 1, the only example is the Sejirak compound [tula: buku[??]] 'malleolus,' where [tula:] is /tula[eta]/ 'bone.' Other examples collected in the fieldnotes include:
 Empaung T. Mangkang Tinting Boyok

return pula: pula: pula:
swim k[??]d[??][n.sup.d]a: k[??]d[??]na k[??]d[??]
waist pu[eta]g[??] pu[eta][u.sup.w] pu[eta][o.sup.w]
 [??] [??].

These few examples provide a glimpse of the phonological complexity of Ketungau Sesat dialects. Among speakers of other Ibanic variants in Kalimantan Barat, Ketungau Sesat is considered difficult to speak. (22)

Seberuang and Desa

As noted above, King observed that these two named groups lived in close proximity near the Kapuas River Basin in the vicinity of Sepaoh and Sintang. The population estimates in Wurm suggest a disparity. Seberuang is estimated at 20,000 speakers and Desa at 5000 speakers. These seem to be unreliable figures because Sellato (1986) counted about 10,000 Desa speakers in just two districts of the Melawi River Basin. Yovinus (2000) also had higher figures for Desa speakers in the whole Sintang residency, a total of 41,000 in 1998. In any case, there appear to be a large number of Desa dialects. The data discussed here were collected from Desa speakers (interviewed in Pontianak, 2001 and 2002) of two different variants and one Seberuang speaker (interviewed in Sekadau, 2002); please refer to Table 2 for a few examples taken from the 500-word vocabularies collected.

First, we observe the large number of shared lexical items with the Ketungau variants of Table 1 as well as the shift of -an to /ay/ in /b[??]jalay/, said to be diagnostic of all Ibanic languages (Hudson 1970). But if we pay closer attention to the list, we note that, whereas Ketungau reflects [pula], that is/pula[eta]/, 'return', both Seberuang and Desa show /pulay/, in common with Iban (Richards 1988: 288). More curious is Entry 10, 'run', where we see both Seberuang and one Desa variant displaying /b[??]gua[eta]/ but the other Desa variant /b[??]guay/. (23) This variant, Baning Pendek, also yielded /ujay/ 'rain'; whereas Temanang and Lengkanan, in common with Iban, had /ujan/. These data suggest the need to explore more carefully the distribution of unexpected diphthongs (for *-aN) in Ibanic variants. After all, it is the basis for Hudson's subgroup "Ibanic"!

Second, we should observe that the Seberuang data indicate that in initial position /[gamma]/, the voiced velar fricative, is often pronounced with a voiceless velar fricative onset, [x]; moreover, in final position /[gamma]/ often appears simply as [x], as in Nos. 17-18. The Lengkanan dialect of Desa displays similar, but perhaps more advanced, phonetic shifts; note that in some words, for example [xa:[eta]] 'jaw' and [[u.sup.x][gamma]a[eta]] 'person, other person', [x] appears in both initial and medial positions as well as in final position (Nos. 17-18). Though there is weakening of /[gamma]/ in Baning Pendek, this Desa variant did not reflect [x]. Closer, more intense work is required and we simply need data from more Desa and Seberuang variants before we can make a broader statement about these phenomena. (24)

Third, in Table 2, there are also differences in the treatment of certain final consonants. In Baning Pendek, but not in Lengkanan, /s/ in final position shifts to [h], again with some influence on the preceding vowel. In addition to No. 8, 'calf' [b[??]teh], in the complete list from this speaker we also find [[d.sup.[??]][gamma][a.sup.e]h] 'swift-flowing', [mul[a.sup.e]h] 'untwist (a bottle top), turn (a cover), tweak (an ear),' (25) [man[[epsilon].sup.e]h] 'sweet' and [pu[gamma]:t al[o.sup.e]h] 'intestine'. A note should also be made of Nos. 19-20 in which we see oddly diphthongized high vowels before/[eta]/in final position. In No. 20, because the preceding nasal, [n] is phonemically a cluster /nd/ (compare to Iban pending), nasalization is blocked and the velar quality of/0/impacts the preceding vowel. (26)

Again, because of the paucity of data, and the need to test these existing data against a larger community of speakers, no generalization is possible about the relationship of Desa (27) and Seberuang. All we can say is that they do seem very similar; and that is also the opinion of a Seberuang speaker (Lapur, personal communication, 29/5/02).

Mualang and Bugau

As noted in the introduction, Mualang is the only Ibanic language of Kalimantan Barat to have been studied in some detail (Dunselman 1950; Dunselman 1955), but that was about 50 years ago. (28) The chief Mualang settlements are on the Aya' and Belitang Rivers, both northern branches of the Kapuas, to the west of the Ketungau River and the east of Sekadau Town. Although access to many of these villages is limited because of the swampy terrain, the introduction of massive palm oil plantations and government-sponsored Javanese resettlement projects has changed the movement and dispersal of the Mualang groups. (29)

The Bugau group centers around the town of Senaning in the uppermost reaches of the Ketungau River. Apparently, the Bugau group is rather well-known in Sarawak; indeed, according to Cullip (2000: 8-9), among the Remun (an Ibanic group in Sarawak), the Bugau are both respected as bearers of traditional culture and mocked (by the young) as rustic and old-fashioned. The proximity of the Bugau to the border near Serian may explain their clear profile in the Serian area. As noted above, the area around Senaning includes not only the Bugau but also speakers of Iban and Sebaru' as well as a sizeable settlement of Sintang Malays; even remote villages, such as Jassa, have mixed Bugau and Iban populations (Demetrius, personal communication 13 June 2002).

In Table 3, a few words of Mualang and Bugau are set forth for our purview. The first thing to notice is that both these variants appear (to my view) closer to the standard language of Iban. In Nos. 4 and 5, /k/ and /[??]/ appear as distinct phonemes; note, also, that in both Mualang and Bugau, just as in Iban, there are very clear minimal pairs like /k[??][gamma]a[??]/ 'the long-tailed macaque' and /k[??][gamma]ak/ 'rice crust'; or in Bugau /[eta]aya[??]/ 'address or call someone uncle' but /[eta]ayak/ 'winnow rice'. This contrasts with most dialects of Ketungau Sesat, Sebuyau and (probably) Desa, where /k/ and /[??]/ have apparently merged as /[??]/.

In particular, Bugau often (but not always, see No. 20 in Table 3) displays nasal-occlusive clusters that are weakened or phonetically lost in many of the variants spoken closer to the Kapuas. For example, in Bugau [mandok] 'roast (chicken)' but [manok] 'chicken'; whereas in Mualang [manok] 'roast (a chicken)', without the phonetic realization of the stop/d/, contrasts with [mano[eta]k] 'chicken' marked by the presence of nasalization and an excrescent nasal consonant before final k.

In detail, even Bugau and Mualang display many apparent differences from standard Iban. In Bugau, forms like [mbaya:], [m[??]ltak] and [b[??]ltik] (Nos. 17-19) contrast with Iban lemayar, lemetak and beleti'; see Richards (1988). (30) The /[??]/ offglide in No. 20 in both Mualang and Bugau is also unexpected, (31) see the discussion above about No. 20 in Table 2. The shift of /s/ to [h] in final position in Bugau in No. 9, [b[??]teh] 'calf is regular; note, for example:
[mpu[eta]aeh] 'wash one's face'
[bab[epsilon]h] 'forest'
[tip[epsilon]h] 'thin'
[at[epsilon]h] 'above'
[p[??]d[epsilon]h] 'ginger'
[p[??]dih] 'painful, ill'

Two forms show apparent dissimilation (uCus [right arrow] uCuh [right arrow] uCeh); [puteh] 'snapped apart' (compare to putus) and [lu[gamma]eh] 'straight' (compare to lurus).

The occurrence of sandhi forms in Bugau is also striking:
[[??][epsilon]t] 'sew'
[p[epsilon]t] 'bitter'
[d[??]n] 'leaf
[j[??]h] 'distant'
[t[??]n] 'year'

A closer srudy of both Bugau and Mualang is imperative. The results of this initial survey suggest such small differences between them and Iban that we may be dealing with dialects of the same language. Text collection and morphological analysis are necessary.


A hundred years ago, Enthoven (1903: 697) observed that the Mualang language with certain differences in pronunciation and intonation belonged to the same language group as Rambai, Kantuk, Ketungau, Belabang and Seberuang in Kalimantan as well as Batang Lupar (in Kalimantan and Sarawak), and Undup, Ketibas, Saribas and Lemandak in Sarawak. He noted that "It is thus certainly the most wide-spread 'dialect' of West Borneo."

The issue that needs resolution is whether all or only some of the Ibanic variants of Kalimantan stand as separate languages closely related to, but not the same as, Iban itself. Based on a somewhat close examination of Ketungau Sesat, a preliminary assessment would be that this is a separate language within the Ibanic family. On the other hand, specimens of oral literature in Ketungau Sesat display a literary style which is in some ways closer to Iban. We might look at some materials recorded in Sejirak, the one a sung poem, the other a folktale with some sung parts, both performed by Ma' Jinah; see Texts 1 and 2. (32) As noted above, the recording, transcription and analysis of texts is a prerequisite to classifying languages, especially closely related languages.

Another perspective can be attained through the speakers' eyes. Most Ibanic speakers have opinions about other variants; some have already been cited here: "difficult to pronounce," "passive understanding," "roughly the same," and so forth.

In Table 4, one speaker of Bugau offered his (or his community's) perception of some of the differences between Bugau and Iban. It is not clear if the Iban he referred to was the Iban spoken in the Senaning area or the Iban he observed in villages near Serian. But even by simply referring to Richards (1988), one can find most of these contrastive Bugau words in Iban. This is reminiscent of the problems faced by Cullip (2000: 15) in his efforts to "establish[] the 'identity' of the Remun language." Neither anecdotal evidence (such as Table 4 here) nor lexicostatistics is convincing. Moreover, a speaker's reservoir of knowledge about other Ibanic variants allows the speaker to supply the meaning of words he or she may not use in his or her own variant. And of course this is how traditional literature works as well as taboo avoidance languages (Collins 1989a, 1989b, 1992).

This necessarily brief and sketchy paper is presented simply to draw attention to the pressing need for intensive research about the languages closely related to Iban spoken in Kalimantan. In themselves they are worthy subjects for linguistic and literary research. Most of them are spoken by communities of a large enough size to expect that literary and ecological knowledge will still reward researchers. At the same time, although Iban is among the best studied Austronesian languages of Malaysia and Southeast Asia in general (as noted in the Introduction), very little is known about the relationship of Iban to its closest congeners, that is, about the prehistory of the Iban language. Preliminary surveys, like the research recently conducted by The Institute of the Malay World and Civilization (UKM), are prerequisites, but not conclusions, to scholarly investigation of Borneo, the center of Southeast Asia and the Malay World.
Text 1. A Ketungau Sesat Dirge Sung by Ma' Jinah (55)
in Sejirak, Sekadau, Kalimantan Barat

 o bala m[??]adi[??] ku tampow linda[eta]
 o bala ana[??] ku b[??]lum ku b[??]nima[eta]
 tingaw kataw inday di baju nima[??]
 kataw iniy[??] di b[??]di[eta]a[eta] lawa[eta]

 di b[??]di[??]a[eta] lawa[eta]
 niy[??] ne dah tu[??] janaw
 du[??] b[??]liga[??] pantaw
 uban ne da[??] mampaw
 k[??] bu[eta]a lala[eta]

 du[??]? ne dah tutum pow[??] datu? Tabala[??]
 lagu? Tabala[??] ti[??]aw kataw balaw
 inday ta[??] tu[??] b[??]baju nima[??] ti[??]aw
 jantu[??]h balaw tacu[??] a p[??]ndie ku b[??]nima[eta]

 kalaw pagi a[gamma]iy
 j[??]may di usa[eta]
 na[eta] gaw? jadiy
 pantun h[??]labi pagiy a[gamma]iy
 na[eta] gaw? jadiy
 kataw ca[gamma]itaw de[gamma]i?

 O, my family, place of protection,
 O, my children whom I've not yet lullabied
 Listen to mother's words in the clothing of a lullaby
 The words of grandmother quite near the portal

 Near the portal
 This grandmother is old and aged
 Sitting side by side, gaze
 At these gray hairs not so strong
 As the blossoms of lalang

 Sitting thus as if Datu' Tabalang
 The song of Tabalang hear the words all
 Of this your mother clothed as if a lullaby, hear
 the speech you grandchildren hearken to me lullabying
 If tomorrow
 In the ages yet to pass
 Let it not become
 A poem widespread tomorrow
 Nor let it become
 The words in anyone's story

Text 2. Dongeng Lamambang Bulan, A Ketungau Sesat Folktale from Kampung Sejirak, Sekadau (Kalimantan Barat), Told by Ma' Jinah (55)
kataw ne teh j[??]diy t[u.sup.w]u[??]. jadi [??] a:[??]h
say 3s that so T. become that ah
kataw tuw[??] tanti[??] tanti[??] lah lamamba: bulan
say T. wait wait EMPH L. moon

l[??]mah sulayku niti[??] tatay l[??]mah buku[??] ku di sini
weak bone 1s TR+goup hill weak joint 1s here
l[??]mah tula: ku niki:[??] bulan
weak bone 1s TR+goup moon

tanti[??] k[??]sudah ne teh tanti[??] lamamba[eta] bulan tanti[??]
wait after 3s that wait L. moon wait
agi[??]. tanti[??] agi[??] dah [??] tu[eta]u[??]
again wait again COMPL that wait

agi[??]. jalay ne agi[??] jalay pa[eta]kayh ne agi[??] tanti
again walk 3s again walk call 3s again wait
tanti[??] lah lamamba: bulan l[??]mah gaw[??]
wait EMPH L. moon weak too

tulay ku niki[??] tatay b[??]l[??]mba: dah [??] the
bone 1s TR+go-up hill MD+ valley COMPL that that
tanti[??] datay ka l[??]mbi[??] l[??]mbi[??] kata ne.
wait arrive to L. L. say 3s

l[??]m[??]bi[??] dah b[??]jalay si[eta]gah si[??]gah ne the
L. COMPL MD+walk stop stop 3s that
si[eta]gah diau diam atay uya[eta] [??]
stop 3s stay arrive person that

teh sam[??] sid[a.sup.w][??] du[??] iku[??] [??] teh
that together 3p 2 counter that that
sam[??] sid[a.sup.w][??] du[??] iku[??] sam[??] si[eta]gah
together 3p 2 counter together stop MD+
look for

kut[u.sup.w] lins[a.sup.w][??] ba: tundi[?? dah [??]
louse nit PRT squash COMPL that
teh la:p tindu[??] l[??]mbi[??] teh la:p tindu[??]
that doze sleep L. that doze sleep

dah tindu[??] teh ti[eta]gal lamamba: bulan agi[??]
COMPL sleep that leave behind L. moon again
that doze sleep L. that doze
leave behind 3s MD+walk again

pupu[??]h n[??] agiy[??] way kata ne kini lamamb[??]: bulan
chase after 3s again hey say 3s to where L. moon
ni[eta]gal aku p[??]daw[??]
TR+leave behind 1s see

ne da:h jauh [??]am pa[??]kayh ne agi[??] tanti[??] tanti[??]
3s COMPL far 3s+EMPH call 3s again wait wait
lah lamamba: bulan
EMPH L. moon

l[??]mah tulay ku niki[??] tatay l[??]mah buku[??] ku niki[??] dah
weak bone 1s TR+go-up hill weak joint 1s TR+go-up COMPL
tuay tuay ne teh
old old 3s that

atay k[??] ta[eta]g[a.sup.w][??] la[eta][epsilon][??] atay k[??]
arrive to stair stay arrive to
ta[eta]gaw la[eta][[epsilon].sup.y][??] teh na[o.sup.w] akal
stair stay that what idea
[??]mbia kataw me aku tau[??]
2s say 3s 1s know

niki[??] kataw lamba: bulan [??]mbi[??] taut[??] nikit naday aku
TR+go-up say L. moon 2s know go-up NEG 1s
umbo[??] aku [??]mo[??]
follow 1s carry-on-back

aku ami[??] kataw ne au[??] tau[??] ami[??] nam[??] akal ami[??]
Is take say 3s yes know take what idea take
lala: tuju[??]h tiy[??] ami[??] lala: tuju[??]h tiy[??]
grass 7 seed take grass 7 seed

ta[eta]ngaw la[eta][epsilon]y[??] tuju[??]h tuju[??]h tiy[??] bau[??]
stair stay 7 7 seed then
tiki[??] sutiy[??] tos tiki[??] sutiy[??]
go-up 1+seed IDEO go-up 1+seed

agi[??] to[??] tiki[??] suti[??] agi[??] to[??] tuju[??]h tiy[??]
again IDEO go-up 1+seed again IDEO 7 seed
tuju[??]h putuyh pu:w ne teh jatu[??]
7 shapped IDEO 3s that fall

lamba: l[??]mbi[??]h teh jatu[??] jatu[??]h teh laluw balaw
L. L. that fall fall that then group
ulay[??] ne teh j[??]diy tuwu[??] jadiy tuwu[??]
maggot 3s that so T. so T.

[??]am dah tu[??]o[??] dah timbol bulan [??] bulan
3s EMPH COMPL this 3s COMPL appear moon that moon
[??] b[??]bu[eta]iy m[??] tuwu[??]
that MD+make-noise PRT T. IDEO

tuw[??] tuw[??] tuw[??] nam[??] teh hampu[??] bulan
IDEO IDEO IDEO what that that smoke moon
nampa[??] bu[eta]iy ne bu[eta]iy dah [??]o[??]
be apparent sound 3s sound COMPL 3s

su[eta]iy[??] ne dah satu malam bulan nampa[??] tuwu[??]
quiet 3s COMPL 1 night moon appear IDEO
tuwu[??] tuwu[??] kataw ne dah [??]
IDEO IDEO say 3s COMPL that

tu[gamma]un agi[??] hampay ba[eta]ku[??] mataw ne [??]aba[??]
go down again to-the-point narrowed eye 3s weep
[eta][??]na: tuwu[??]
TR+recall IDEO

lamamba: bulan [eta]uwa: ne piaw[??] agi[??] ne bau[??] dah [??]o[??]
L. moon TR+visit 3s thus again 3s then COMPL 3s
teh kataw aday l[??]mbi[??]h l[??]mbi[??]h
that say EXIST L. L.

l[??]mbi[??]h pintu buk[??] bah l[??]mbi[??]h o: pintuw
L. door open EMPH L. oh door
dibuk[??] l[??]mbi[??]h kini aku [eta]ua:
AF+open L. to where 1s TR+visit

[??]mbi[??]h a:[??]h pa:h pay l[??]mbi[??]h ana: piaw[??] bah
2s EXCL why L. don't thus EMPH
l[??]mbi[??]h pagi ne la l[??]mbi[??]h
L. morning 3s EMPH L.

[eta][??]na: aku k[??]tiy m:mbi[??]h l[??]mbi[??]h hampay
TR+recall 1s how 2s L. to-the-point
ba[eta]kuw[??] mataw jadi tuwu[??]
narrowed eye become IDEO

tuwu[??] ana: [eta][??]na: aku agi[??] [??]mbi[??]h l[??]mbi[??]h
IDEO don't TR+recall 1s again 2s L.
au[??] [eta][??]na: me kataw ne asaw piaw[??]
yes TR+recall 3s say 3s if thus

taw k[??]tiy tau[??] naday [??]mbi[??]h [eta]umb[??] aku la
Ipi how know NEG 2s TR+follow 1s EMPH
libouw [??]mbi[??]h naday tau[??] nundo[??]
later 2s NEG know TR+follow

aku tau[??] kini [??]mbiy[??]h kiaw[??] akuw [??]am me teh
Is know to where 2s *** 1s 3s EMPHPRT that

b[??]pupu[??]hpu[??]h kiaw[??] ne mupu[??]h lakiy ne [??]o[??] teh
MD+chase+RED to there 3 s TR+chase husband 3s 3s that
lamamba: bulan lamamba:
L. moon L.

bulan teh a: kau ne [eta]ula: lamamba: bulan natay tau[??]
moon that ah 2s 3s TR+invite L. moon NEG know

kataw lamamb[??]: bulan [??]mbi[??]h bayah m[??] nundo[??] aku
say L. moon 2s no-need PRT TR+follow 1s
[??]mbi[??]h dah piaw[??]
2s COMPL thus

naday aku [eta]umb[??] [??]mbi[??]h kiniy embi[??]h kiaw[??]
NEG 1s TR+follow 2s to where 2s to there
ku kiniy [??]mbi[??]h kiaw[??] ku a: a
 1s to where 2s to there 1s HES

anu[??] tauw[??] [??]mbi[??]h [eta]umbo[??] akuw tau[??] tau[??]
PRT HES know 2s TR+follow 1s know know
naday [??]mbi[??]h t[??][gamma][??]ba: nundo[??]
NEG 2s fly TR+follow

aku aku [eta]umbo[??] aku [??]m[??] kataw ne [??]am
1s 1s TR+follow 1s carry-on-back say 3s 3s EMPH
tu[gamma]un tu[gamma]un ne niki[??]
 go down go down 3s TR+go-up

ne tambah niki[??] kene teh [eta]ahauw ne naday tau[??] niki[??]
3s and go-up PRT that because 3s NEG know TR+go-up
teh ti[eta]gal lamamba:
 that leave behind L.

bulan di bawah l[??]mbi[??]h lamamba: bulan teh niki[??] k[??]
moon at below L. L. moon that TR+go-up to
la[eta][epsilon][??] a: [??] m[??] nampa[??]
 stay ah that PRT appear

bulan tu[??] bukan sejatiy bulan nampa[??] aday cuntouw pow
moon this NEG real moon appear EXIST features as-if
nsiaw di atayh bulan [??]
human at above moon that

m[??] lakiy ne teh lamamba: lamamba: bulan [??] m[??]
PRT husband 3 s that L. L. moon that PRT
suda:h musi[??]: bulan basay nampa[??]
COMPL season moon big appear

N[??] b[??]bu[eta]iy m[??] tuwu[??] aday m[??] n[??] tuwu[??]
3s MD+make noise PRT T. EXIST PRT 3 s T.
k[??] tuwu[??] sampay ba[eta]ku[??]
to T. to-the-point narrowed

mataw ne [eta][??]na: k[??] lakiy ne naday dapay[??] ne
eye 3s TR+recall to husband 3 s NEG get 3s
mupu[??]h ne lakiy ne naday dapay[??]
TR+chase 3 s husband 3 s NEG get

[eta]ami[??] ne ne naday tauw[??] mupu[??]h lakiy ne bau[??] dah
take 3s 3s NEG know TR+chase husband 3s then COMPL
[eta]ayayh [eta]ampayh
 TR+vanish TR+disappear

ne da:h hampay k[??] taw tu[??] aday ha[gamma]i bu[eta]iy
3s COMPL to-the-point to Ipi this EXIST continuous sound
tuwu[??] bah kalaw aday bulan
T. EMPH if EXIST moon

b[??]say t[??][gamma]a: aday m[??] tuwu[??] b[??]bu[eta]iy
big clear EXIST PRT T. MD+make noise
b[??]bu[eta]iy m[??] tuwu[??] hampay
MD+make noise PRT T. to-the-point

k[??] taw tu[??] aday a[gamma]iy m[??] bu[eta]iy tuwu[??] kay
to Ipi this EXIST continuous PRT sound T. because
ne [eta][??]n[??]: k[??]
 3 s TR+recall to

lakiy ne hampay matiy ne jadiy bu[gamma]u[??]: teh
husband 3s to-the-point dead 3s so bird that
hampay ba[eta]ku[??] mataw ne [??]aba[??]
to-the-point narrowed eye 3s TR+weep

[eta][??]na: tuwu[??] tuwu[??] k[??] tuwu[??] a: dah
TR+recall T. T. to T. ah COMPL
m[??] nisi[??] agi[??] m[??].
 PRT not-exist again PRT


This essay is a revised version of an invited paper by the same title that I presented at the Tun Jugah Foundation in Kuching on 1 July 2002. I am very grateful to the Foundation, especially its director Datuk Amar Leonard Linggi, for the opportunity to present the results of my preliminary research to a distinguished and well-informed audience whose comments and insights greatly contributed to the value of this brief essay.

The research upon which the essay is based has a long and serendipitous history. In 1998, I was asked by Pontianak's Institut Dayakologi in cooperation with Pusat Kajian Melayu, Universitas Tanjungpura, to conduct a workshop on fieldwork and phonetic transcription. I am grateful to the Institut and especially its director at that time, S. Djuweng, and to Dr. Chairil Effendi, director of Pusat Kajian Melayu, for being invited to work with them and their staffs. It was during this workshop that I was introduced to Ketungau Sesat by one of the participants, Bapak Djuanda. In 1999 I met again with him in Pontianak, where he worked as a teacher, to collect some preliminary language data and to learn more about the setting of the Ketungau communities in the Sekadau River Valley.

In July 2000, the Institute of the Malay World and Civilization (ATMA), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, in cooperation with Pusat Kajian Melayu, Universitas Tanjungpura, was granted a Southeast Asian Studies Regional Exchange Program (SEASREP) collaborative research grant to conduct research about language and identity in western Borneo (Grant Number D00-EC-03). I was appointed consultant and frequently visited the Sekadau area (2000-2003). In 2001, I worked with Ketungau Sesat informants in Lamau (a nearby hamlet), and later with young speakers of other Ketungau dialects who lived in Sekadau Town. Also in 2001, SEASREP staff in ATMA's Pontianak office collected recordings in Sejirak (near Lamau). In 2002-2004, I worked briefly with speakers of Seberuang, Mualang, Desa, Sekujam and Bugau in both Sekadau and Pontianak. I am grateful to all these generous language informants and to Prof. Shamsul A.B., director of ATMA, who provided innovative leadership in supervising this SEASREP grant. I was also allowed to refer to other Ibanic data collected by the staff of ATMA's field office in Pontianak and to use field reports written by my M.A. students at that time, Albertus, Sujarni and Yovinus, staff members of Pontianak's Institut Dayakologi. My thanks go to them, to Dr. Chairil Effendi and Hadi Kifly for their help, to Dr. Chong Shin and Dr. Yusriadi, then students at ATMA, who have provided genial support in collecting and organizing these and other SEASREP data, to Petrus Derani, my field assistant, who organized sessions with Ibanic speakers in both Sekadau and Pontianak, and to Dedy Ari Asfar, a recent M.A. graduate at ATMA, who located Ibanic speakers for me in Pontianak.

Editor's Note: The Tun Jugah Foundation

Professor Collins's paper was originally presented in Kuching, under the auspices of the Tun Jugah Foundation, in the Tun Jugah Building auditorium on 1 July 2002. Having been present myself, your Editor can attest that the paper drew a large and appreciative audience and was followed by a lively discussion.

In this connection, I think it may be relevant to add a brief note on the role of the Tun Jugah Foundation in promoting the use and scholarly study of Iban and other Ibanic languages. Since its establishment in 1985, the Tun Jugah Foundation and its staff have been actively engaged in research, publication, and the collection, recording, and archiving of Iban language and language-related materials, including Iban traditional songs, oral narratives, life histories, folktales, local histories, pantun, prayers, funerary chants, bardic invocations and other ritual texts.

In addition to maintaining a library and an extensive sound archives of tape- and digitally recorded language-related materials, the Tun Jugah Foundation also publishes scholarly work in both Iban and English. Among the Foundation's currently available publications, containing extensive Iban language materials, are the following:

1) Vinson H. Sutlive, Handy Reference Dictionary of Iban and English, 1994, pp. 925. This work contains nearly 50,000 entries; 13,000 Iban-English and 36,000 English-Iban.

2) Robert Menua Saleh (compiler), Leka Timang, 1997, pp. 617. A collection of Iban bardic chants, in Iban.

3) Robert Menua Saleh (compiler), Pantun Iban II, 1998, pp. 157. An anthology of selected pantun, with a background discussion of their use, in Iban.

4) Robert Menua Saleh (compiler), Sabak, 2000, pp. 382. A Rejang Iban lamentation for the dead, in Iban.

5) Vinson H. and Joanne Sutlive (general editors), The Encyclopedia of Iban Studies, Vols. 1-4, 2001, pp. 2,783. This work contains more than 4,000 entries, with articles from 40 contributing editors, including entries on language, verbal arts, folk taxonomies, ethnobotanical terms, etc.

6) Clifford Sather, Seeds of Play, Words of Power." An Ethnographic Study of Iban Shamanic Chants, 2001, pp. 753. This study includes a 200-page introduction to Iban shamanism, followed by a description of nine shamanic rituals, including complete ritual texts (in all, 3,148 lines of Iban ritual poetic texts, with English glosses and free translations of each line).

7) Robert Menua Saleh and Janang Ensiring (compilers), Sampi enggau Biau, 2001, pp. 382. An anthology of traditional prayers and blessings, in Iban.

8) Janang Ensiring and Robert Menua Saleh (compilers), Renung Semain, 2001, pp. 161. A collection of traditional Iban love songs, in Iban.

9) Jantan Umbat, Clifford Sather, Janang Ensiring and Robert Menua Saleh (compilers), Pelian, 2002, pp. 382. Texts of Iban shamanic chants (pelian) recited by Manang Bangga anak Anggat of Muton Longhouse, Debak, in Iban.

10) Jantan Umbat and Janang Ensiring (compilers), Ripih Pengawa' Gawai Antu, 2004, pp. 203. A monographic account of the ritual celebration and chants of the major Saratok-Saribas memorial rites for the dead (Gawai Antu), in Iban.

Current Foundation projects include the compilation of a comprehensive Iban-Iban dictionary; the translation and annotation of the sabak or lamentation for the dead; and the translation and analysis of a Saribas-Saratok bardic ritual of curing, the besugi sakit.

For more information on these publications and other activities of the Foundation, see the Foundation website at: (Clifford Sather, University of Helsinki)
Table 1. Brief Vocabularies of Five Ketungau Sesat Variants
(Sekadau, Kalimantan Barat)

No. Malay Sejirak

 1 tangan ja[gamma][begin strikethrough]i
 [end strikethrough]y

 2 siku sikuw,
 sik[begin strikethrough]u
 [end strikethrough]w

 3 kuku sil[u.sup.w][??]

 4 jari tu[??]j[u.sup.w[??]]k

 5 kiri kib[??]

 6 kanan kanan

 7 kaki kak[begin strikethrough]i
 [end strikethrough]y

 8 mata tula: buku[??]

 9 tumit tumb[e.sup.y][??]

10 lutut p[??]l[??]t[u.sup.y][??]

11 betis b[??]t[e.sup.y]h

12 paha p[o.sup.w]:

13 berjalan b[??]jalay

14 lari b[??][gamma][??]ntuw

15 pergi b[??]jalay

No. Empaung Selabi

 1 ja[gamma][begin strikethrough]i l[??][eta]an
 [end strikethrough]y

 2 sik[begin strikethrough]u sik[u.sup.w]
 [end strikethrough]w

 3 sil[begin strikethrough]u sil[u.sup.w]
 [end strikethrough][??]

 4 tu[[??].sup.j]u[??] tu[??][o.sup.w][??]

 5 kib[??] kibaw[??]

 6 kanan kanan

 7 kak[begin strikethrough]i kak[begin strikethrough]i
 [end strikethrough]y [end strikethrough]y

 8 buk[begin strikethrough]u
 [end strikethrough]w
 lal[[begin strikethrough]i
 [end strikethrough].sup.y]

 9 tu[m.sup.b]i[??] tum[i.sup.y][??]

10 p[??]l[??]t[u.sup.y][??] lut[u.sup.y][??]

11 b[??]tih b[??]tiyh

12 p[[??].sup.[??]] pao

13 b[??]jalay b[??]jalay

14 ja[gamma][begin strikethrough]i la[gamma][??]y
 [end strikethrough]y

15 tu[gamma]un p[??]g[begin strikethrough]i
 [end strikethrough]y

No. Temblian Tinting
 Mangkang Boyok

1 ja[gamma][LAMBDA]y l[??][eta]an

2 sik[LAMBDA]w sik[??]w

3 sil[LAMBDA]w[??] sil[??]w[??]

4 tu[??][u.sup.w][LAMBDA][??] tu[??]u[??]

5 kib[??] kib[[??].sup.[??]

6 kanan kanan

7 kak[LAMBDA]y kak[??]y

8 buk[??]w[??] lal[??]y[??]

9 tum[epsilon][??] tumiy[??]

10 palatu[i.sup.y][??] p[??]l[??]tw[epsilon][??]

11 b[??]teh is[??]y[??] b[??]tiyh

12 p[??]: pa[??]

13 b[??]jalay b[??]jalay

14 b[??][gamma]unt[LAMBDA]w la[gamma][??]y

15 mupu[LAMBDA]h tu[gamma]un

Table 2. A Selected Vocabulary of Seberuang (S) and Desa (D)

 Temanang (S) Lengkanan (D)

 1 arm l[??][eta]an ja[gamma]iy
 2 elbow siku sikuw
 3 nail silu[??] siluw[??]
 4 left side kiba[??] kiba[??]
 5 right side kanan kanan
 6 leg kakiy kakiy
 7 calf b[??]tis b[??]tis
 8 thigh paha[??] pa:
 9 walk b[??]jalay b[??]jalay
10 run b[??]gua[eta] b[??]guw[a.sup.g][eta]
11 return pulay balik
12 neck [sup.x][gamma][??]ku[eta] [sup.x][gamma][??]k
13 jaw [sup.x][gamma]a[eta] xa:[eta]
14 blood da[gamma]ah da[gamma]ah
15 person u[gamma]a[eta] [u.sup.x][gamma]a[eta]
16 in-law ip[a.sup.x] ip[a.sup.x]
17 centipede l[??]mayax l[??]may[a.sup.y]x
18 pig tusk ta[gamma]i[eta] t[a.sup.x][gamma]
19 ear p[??]n[i.sup.[gamma][eta] p[??]n[i[??]x]n

Table 3. A Selected Vocabulary of Mualang (M) and Bugau (B)

 Menawai Tekam (M) Senaning (B)

 1 arm ja[gamma]iy l[??][eta]an
 2 elbow sikuw sikuw
 3 nail silu[??] silu[??]
 4 finger tu[??][o.sup.[??]]k tu[??]uk
 5 left side kiba[??] kiba[??]
 6 right side kanan kanan
 7 leg kakiy kakiy
 8 calf b[??]tis b[??]teh
 9 thigh pa: pa:
10 walk b[??]jalay b[??]jalay
11 run b[??]guay b[??]guay
12 return b[??]balek pulay
13 neck [gamma][??]ko[eta] [gamma][??]ku[eta]
14 jaw [gamma]a[eta] [gamma]a[eta]
15 blood da[gamma]ah da[gamma]ah
16 person u[gamma]a[eta] u[gamma]a[eta]
17 centipede l[??]maya[gamma] mbaya:
18 leech l[??]m[??]tak m[??]ltak
19 rambutan blit[[epsilon].sup.[??]][??] b[??]ltik
20 ear p[??]n[i.sup.[??]][eta] p[??]ni[??][eta]

Table 4. Contrasts Between Bugau and Iban, as
Specified by Local Speakers (Demetrius 13/6 2002)

 Bugau Than

 1 face mua gambal
 2 cook rice [??]umai b[??][gamma]api
 3 go a[eta]kat m[??][gamma]aw
 4 dirty j[??][gamma]aba[??] kamah
 5 durian paste mpuyak mpikaw
 6 chew [eta]i[??]a [eta][??]mpa[??]
 7 see [eta]ilaw m[??]da[??]
 8 white putaw bu[gamma]ak
 9 black ito[eta] c[??]lum
10 dead mati pa[gamma]ay

(1) As the language of Sarawak's largest ethnic community, with more than 600,000 first-language speakers, Iban is a very influential language in many areas. Along the upper reaches of the Saribas and Lupar Rivers, for example, many Malay and Chinese grow up bilingual in Iban and their home languages; see Collins (2000a). On the Rejang River, the Iban language is used in Catholic church services in Kejaman-speaking villages (Collins 2001a). As early as 1911, even along the Limbang River, far from the traditional centers of Iban influence, Iban was used by Lun Dayeh and Kelabit speakers (Moulton 1912), a phenomenon recently observed by Jayl Langub (personal communication, 21 September 2000). No accurate count of Sarawakians who speak Iban as a second or third language has ever been conducted; see Collins (2000a, 2000c) on the use of Iban among non-Iban Sarawakians. It is interesting to note the existence of an Iban language handbook published in Mandarin (Sim 1965), which suggests the generally perceived importance of Iban.

(2) In 1958, Cense and Uhlenbeck published an impressive list of publications in and about Iban. And, the past 40 years have seen a remarkable increase in such materials. When they wrote their bibliography, Scott's 1956 dictionary was the latest lexicographic contribution, but since then Richards (1981), Ngadi (1989) and Sutlive & Sutlive (1994) have enriched that tradition. No comprehensive grammar of Iban had been written 40 years ago, but today we can refer to Asmah (1981) and Steinmayer (1999). Numerous Iban textbooks, novels and short stories have appeared along with the publication of traditional literature and a wide range of church materials, including the complete Bible, Bup Kudus (Bible Society 1997), as of 1997 already in its sixth printing, and a comic book version of the gospels published in Bombay (Pai 1984). Moreover, Bup bacha hari Minggu (Komiti 1983, 1984, 1994), the complete three-year cycle of Catholic liturgy, is now in its second edition. We should also note the enormous popularity of Iban-language films and song collections, especially those distributed in CD format.

(3) Even before the many ambitious projects organized and sponsored by the Tun Jugah Foundation (see Editor's Note), the study of Iban has far exceeded mere wordlists and dictionaries. Iban oral literature, in particular, has attracted the attention of western scholars since the 19th century; see Collins 1989a.

(4) Wadley (2000: 44-45) estimated the total Iban population in the Kapuas Lakes and nearby areas at about 9,600 in 1995. This is the largest concentration of ethnic Ibans in Kalimantan Barat.

(5) He also wanted to account for the existence in Borneo of Muslim groups who speak Dayak languages (such as the Bakumpai, already noted in Hudson 1967), so he provided the term "Islamic Dayak." But in Hudson (1978) he wisely dropped this cumbersome term.

(6) These seven examples did not advance the diagnostic features for classifying Ibanic much beyond Van Kessel (1850: 166) who noted that in Ketungau and Kantuk there were words such as bezai, not bezaar 'big' (V. Kessel's spelling), panjai, not panjang 'long' and lebai, not lebar 'wide,' which characterized a group of Dayak languages he labeled "Maleisch."

(7) Note that Hudson did not present his conclusions in tree diagram form. Figure 1 is my approximation based on Hudson's (1970, 1978) discussions; no misrepresentation is intended.

(8) Hudson (1978: 18) wrote: "Exo-Bornean isolects are those that appear to have closer affinities to languages indigenous to regions outside Borneo than they do to other Bornean languages."

(9) However, see Collins (2003) for a tentative classification of Menterap.

(10) See Wadley (2000) for a detailed survey of this region. Moreover, Yusriadi (2004) reported that many Malays living far south of the Kapuas and not near any Ibanic groups acquire speaking knowledge of Iban as they pass through those northern lakes and streams en route to the lively trade along the Indonesian-Malaysian border.

(11) This seems to be the same group that was noted by Enthoven (1903: 452). On 1 January 1895, there were 265 Ibans mixed with (including?) Ransa Dayaks.

(12) As has been noted often, Wurm and Hattori's (1983) maps need numerous revisions. Although they represent a solid contribution to the world community's knowledge about the Pacific area, including insular Southeast Asia, the research underpinning them is based on what scholars knew or could find out twenty years ago. Certainly, it is time for a thorough-going revision, now that more data and details are available.

(13) For example, the language spoken along the Taman River, a tributary of the Sekadau, and elsewhere in the Sekadau area, is a "Taman Sesat" variant; Kami ini tiruan, "We here are imitations" (Marselinus Siswandi, personal communication, 13 April 1996). Indeed, it is not related to the Taman language spoken in the headwaters of the Kapuas River, about 300-400 km. upriver from the Sekadau area. The Sekadau variant of Taman is a Malayic language, whereas the language spoken in the upriver Taman River is a Tamanic language (Hudson 1970, 1978). Another group living on tributaries of the Sekadau is known as the Menterap Kabut, that is, the 'blurred Menterap.' They comprise a small, widely dispersed ethnic group, that is not found on the Menterap River.

(14) The "ethnolinguistic" map of the Ketungau River produced by Institut Dayakologi (Sujarni Alloy et al. 2000) as well as the report on languages in the Ketungau Basin written by Yovinus (2000) seem to simplify a language ecology that is far more complex according to King (Wurm 1983), Kadir (1991) and the informants that I personally interviewed. See Enthoven (1903) for a more detailed survey of the river valley.

(15) Note that a conservative estimate of Dayak villagers in the Sekadau Valley today stands at 50,000 (E. Marino, personal communication 30/5/2002). If the Enthoven proportion of Ketungau to other Dayak groups has remained the same (30%), then there might be almost 17,000 speakers of various dialects of Ketungau Sesat in the Sekadau area.

(16) This statement is based on information given by Ketungau informants. However, Van de Boom (1974: 383) also noted that the Ketungau were among the first Sekadau Dayak groups to accept "new opinions and ideas," including the Catholic religion.

(17) In March 2001, Marjuki, a Ketungau language assistant, and Hady Kifli, staff associate in Pontianak, collected recordings of oral literature in Sejirak, which Marjuki and I later transcribed and studied for the better part of 5 days in Sekadau and Pontianak.

(18) Again, I express my thanks to all my informants, especially Djuanda, Deme, Arias, Lapur, Marto, Yanto, lion, Kemiyul, Rufinus, Herpanus, Tanton, Panco, Rama, Petrus, Mumi and Marjuki for their cheerful assistance and advice. ! apologize for any errors that might have crept in and misrepresented their languages.

(19) This phonological phenomenon has been noted in many other Malayic variants, especially dialects of Malay. The process is discussed in some detail in Collins (1983a) and numerous examples of diphthongization and centralization of final high vowels can be found in Collins (1983b). In Borneo, too, diphthongization was recorded in a number of Malay variants spoken in the Saribas River Basin and in downriver Samarahan; see Collins (1987) and Collins (2000a).

(20) As can be seen in Table 1, in the Selabi dialect, /a/ is accompanied by a rounding offglide, [w]: [kibaw?] 'left side', but the occurrence of [pao] 'thigh' suggests some variation.

(21) The form given by the Tinting Boyok speaker is not cognate with /pu[eta]gun/ so the Selabi form has been used as a replacement to indicate the variation in the region.

(22) Two young men who had lived in Sekadau Town for 2-3 years and had many Ketungau friends and schoolmates, Ilon (22, Mualang) and Lapur (17, Seberuang), recognized Ketungau as a language similar to their languages but with "difficult pronunciation." The level of interdialectal variation must also complicate efforts to speak Ketungau. Pronunciation differs in detail in almost every village. Note, too, that when Ketungau recordings (see Texts I and 2) were played for an audience of Iban speakers at the Tun Jugah Foundation, 1 July 2002, many reported a low level of understanding.

(23) In Richards (1988:107) we find both guai and guang with slightly different meanings but still suggestive of a doublet.

(24) Nonetheless it is interesting to recall that Bampflyde (in Ray 1913: 7-8) claimed that in Sarawak the Enkaris Iban could "not pronounce" r, for which they substitued h. Bampflyde's a may in fact be the voiceless velar fricative /x/, under discussion here. On the other hand, I observed in September 2003 that Seberuang variants spoken on the Seberuang River, about 150 km. east of Temanang, often displayed [h] as an apparent allophone of this /x/.

(25) This contrasts with [mulah] 'make, do.'

(26) See Blust (1997) for a discussion of some of the nasal phenomena found in languages of Borneo.

(27) The Ibanic variant surveyed here, Desa, should not be confused with another "Dayak" language, Desa, spoken much further to the west, just south of the Kapuas River, about 20-30 km. from Tayan. The Ibanic variant is [d[??]sa] but the non-lbanic variant near Tayan is [desa].

(28) In 1996 I was able to buy a small collection of cassette recordings of Mualang oral literature in Pontianak city. I have not seen them for sale since, however.

(29) It was a surprise in March 2001 to arrive in Entibuh, on the upper reaches of the Kedukul River, and find that Mualang speakers had migrated there, far to the west of their traditional territories, by traveling along palm oil, lumber and transmigrasi roads.

(30) However, his definitions for lemayar and beleti' seem rather weak, if not mistaken.

(31) In Bugau, forms such as [t[??][eta]ili[??][eta]] 'pangolin', [k[??]ni[??][eta]] 'forehead', also occur with [[??]] off-glides.

(32) Text 1 includes a preliminary translation; Text 2 includes a word-for-word interlinear gloss.


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James T. Collins

The Institute of the Malay World and Civilization

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Bangi, Malaysia
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Title Annotation:RESEARCH NOTES
Author:Collins, James T.
Publication:Borneo Research Bulletin
Geographic Code:9INDO
Date:Jan 1, 2004
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