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Ricky Ganang, Jay Crain, and Vicki Pearson-Rounds, Kemaloh Lundayeh-English dictionary and bibliographic list of materials relating to the Lundayeh-Lun Bawang-Kelabit and related groups of Sarawak, Sabah, Brunei and East Kalimantan.

Ricky Ganang, Jay Crain, and Vicki Pearson-Rounds, Kemaloh Lundayeh-English dictionary and bibliographic list of materials relating to the Lundayeh-Lun Bawang-Kelabit and related groups of Sarawak, Sabah, Brunei and East Kalimantan. Phillips, Maine: Borneo Research Council, 2008, xvii + 451 pp. [Borneo Research Council Reference Series 1.] ISBN 1929900090. Price: USD 40.50 (paperback).

Ganang, Crain, and Pearson-Rounds (GCPR) have compiled an easy-to-use dictionary of several thousand lexemes along with an extensive bibliography which serves as an appendix to the dictionary. Because minority-language dictionaries are expected to include a list of references, GCPR did not need to incorporate the name of the appendix in their title. Kemaloh Lundayeh-English dictionary and bibliography would have worked well as a much shorter title.

The 30-page appendix (pp. 421-51) has three parts: (I) 'A bibliography of general works on the language'; (II) 'A bibliography of Lundayeh-Lun Bawang-Kelabit linguistics'; and (III) 'A list of Lundayeh-Lun Bawang texts'. These texts are primarily unpublished recordings and transcriptions collected by Ganang. Hopefully, as part of the process of documenting the Lundayeh-Lun Bawang language, Ganang's collection of over 50 texts will become available at some future time.

The dictionary ( column%20web.pdf) and appendix ( Studies/APODUATupdate03-07.pdf) are available online at: http://www.csus. edu/anth/Lundayeh%20Studies/lundayeh%20studies%20index.html.

GCPR's introduction includes a list of the pronouns (xii), and a pronunciation guide (xiii). They state: 'We make no attempt here to offer a definitive grammar' (p. xi), and they refer readers to the linguistic works listed in Part II of the appendix. Although the linguistic works in the appendix provide some information about the Lundayeh-Lun Bawang language and related languages, one could hardly cannibalize a rough description of the grammar from these works. Because a grammar sketch of the language is currently unavailable, a good sketch would be a nice addition to any future edition.

Language names are a terminological jungle in Borneo. GCPR could help their readers navigate this jungle by adding an explanation of the language names Lundayeh and Lun Bawang. As it stands, unless they look up lun 'person' (p. 216), naive readers will not know that the Lundayeh of Sabah and East Kalimantan are called Lun Bawang in Sarawak. Some discussion of the location of Kemaloh, along with a map, would also enhance the dictionary. Interestingly, Kemaluh is included as a lexeme (p. 164), but the alternate spelling Kemaloh, which is used in the title, does not occur as a lexeme.

Dictionaries are usually based on a subset of information in a lexical database. Although GCPR's lexical database might contain information about the lexical category of some words (for example, afui 'fire' is a noun) or it might contain Malay or Indonesian glosses for some words (for example, afui 'fire' is api in Malay or Indonesian), GCPR chose not to include lexical categories or Malay/Indonesian glosses in this dictionary. GCPR acknowledge this in their introduction and state that future versions should include translations into Malay and Indonesian (p. xi).

While it is easy to criticize dictionary compilers for what they exclude from a dictionary, compiling a bilingual dictionary of this size (419 pages excluding introduction and appendix) is a huge task. GCPR's bilingual dictionary is a great contribution to the Lundayeh-Lun Bawang language, regardless of any criticisms that might be raised about the absence of certain features, such as Malay/Indonesian glosses, lexical categories and pronunciations for each word, a grammar sketch, an ethnographic sketch, and an English Lundayeh-Lun Bawang reversal index. Instead of focusing on what GCPR did not include in their dictionary, the remainder of this review focuses on what can be found in the dictionary and how users can effectively make use of the dictionary.

Dictionaries are configured with a specific audience in mind. This dictionary would be especially helpful to Lundayeh-Lun Bawang speakers who are wanting to learn English, or English speakers wanting to learn Lundayeh-Lun Bawang. However, both audiences will be hampered by the absence of an English-Lundayeh (Lun Bawang) reversal index. This dictionary began as a word-list in 1968 (p. x) and, even now, could be considered an expanded Lundayeh-English word-list with some illustrative sentences. The following is a typical entry (p. 11) for a word without an illustrative sentence:
   afui ... fire. ngafui .. make a fire. inafui ... a fire was started
   by someone. mafui ... 1. burning. 2. can build a fire. fingafui ..
   the wood used to start a fire.

Because there is neither a grammar sketch nor an explanation of how to read dictionary entries, users are left to infer information from each entry. Some users will be able to infer the following: the lexical entry for afui 'fire' is a noun root. Four different verb forms can be derived from the noun afui 'fire': ngafui 'make a fire'; inafui 'a fire was started by someone'; mafui (1) 'burning', (2) 'can build a fire'; and fingafui 'the wood used to start a fire'. According to the entry for afui 'fire', each verb form has a single meaning with the exception of mafui, which has two senses: (1) 'burning', and (2) 'can build a fire'. Most dictionary users will not be able to infer that the two 'senses' of mafui belong to two different verb classes, and that ngafui 'make a fire', inafui 'a fire was started by someone', and fingafui 'the wood used to start a fire' belong to the same verb class. In other words, five verbs with four different forms belonging to three semantically defined verb classes are derived from afui 'fire'.

Roots like afui 'fire' in the dictionary are major entries, whereas derived stems such as ngafui 'make a fire' are minor entries. The following is the lexical entry for the minor entry ngafui 'make a fire' (p. 284).

ngafui ... make a fire. <afui>

GCPR (p. xi) refer to forms like ngafui 'make a fire' as inflected forms; however, the prefix ng- clearly has a derivational function changing a noun meaning 'fire' into a verb meaning 'make a fire'. The root <afui> is indicated in angular brackets at the end of the derived stem. The presence of angular brackets indicates the word form is a minor entry.

The dictionary consists of an alphabetized list of all the word forms which GCPR have collected, regardless of whether they are roots, derived stems, or inflected forms. All word forms which contain more than one morpheme (for example, ngafui 'make a fire') include a cross-reference to the root (for example, <afui>). One advantage of this system is that dictionary users do not need to know the root of a word in order to look the word up in the dictionary. Users can simply look up a word form and cross-reference its root in order to find related forms of the same root.

One disadvantage of including all word forms in the dictionary is that it increases the size of the dictionary and results in multiple pages of words beginning with the same prefix. Affixes like ng- are not included in the dictionary, so users are left to ponder the meaning of this and other affixes. By studying the 25 pages of word forms which begin with ng- (2008:282-307), users can conclude that ng- is a grammatical morpheme which marks 'transitive verbs whose subject is an actor'. This is the type of information that users would expect to find in a grammatical sketch and lexical entries for grammatical affixes.

Although grammatical affixes have been excluded, GCPR's dictionary contains several thousand alphabetized words. The diagraphs bp, gk, and ng are listed as consonants in the pronunciation guide. While ng is clearly a velar nasal, it is not clear what phoneme the other two diagraphs are intended to represent. None of the diagraphs are alphabetized in its own section. The glottal stop (symbolized by an apostrophe) is alphabetized between k and l; however, it only occurs word-finally. In addition to words, some lexical entries are phrases, as illustrated by the following two lexemes (p. 11):
   Afui, Batu ... a mythic hill of stone which, together with Batu
   Lawii, controlled the flow of water up and down the Limbang River.

   aga' neh ... let it be, never mind (also saga' neh). Aga' neh
   yeneh. Lafen kuh nafeh mo' yeh. Leave it there. I will get it

This dictionary is a pleasure to browse through. A large number of toponyms like Batu Afui and personal names such as Daring (a male personal name) enrich the cultural value of the dictionary, which is intended to be part of a larger dictionary-cum-cultural-encyclopedia project described in Crain and Pearson-Rounds (2009). The numerous financial institutions listed in the preface (p. ix) should be hailed for their financial support of this project, and the Borneo Research Council should receive credit for publishing this volume.


Crain, Jay B., and Vicki Pearson-Rounds 2009 'The Lundayeh-Lun Bawang dictionary project; Some reflections on lexicography in the postmodern world', in Peter W. Martin and Peter G. Sercombe (eds), Languages in Borneo; Diachronic and synchronic perspectives, pp. 227-41. Phillips, Maine: Borneo Research Council. [Proceedings Series 8.]


Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics, Dallas, Texas
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Author:Boutin, Michael
Publication:Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia and Oceania
Date:Jan 1, 2010
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