The Use and Status of Language in Brunei Darussalam

A Kingdom of Unexpected Linguistic Diversity

  • Noor Azam Haji-Othman
  • James McLellan
  • David Deterding

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Noor Azam Haji-Othman, James McLellan, David Deterding
    Pages 1-6
  3. Language Status

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 7-7
    2. James McLellan, Noor Azam Haji-Othman, David Deterding
      Pages 9-16
    3. Noor Azam Haji-Othman, Siti Ajeerah Najib
      Pages 17-28
  4. Pronunciation and Grammar

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 39-39
    2. Aznah Suhaimi, Noor Azam Haji-Othman
      Pages 75-94
  5. Language Choice

  6. Discourse

  7. Literature and Language in Education

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 239-239
    2. Kathrina Mohd Daud, Grace V. S. Chin, Maslin Jukim
      Pages 241-251
  8. Noor Azam Haji-Othman, James McLellan, David Deterding
    Pages E1-E1
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 279-285

About this book


This book provides an overview of the linguistic situation in Brunei, including a historical overview and a synopsis of the current education system. It investigates pronunciation, particularly the intelligibility of Brunei English and the vowels of Brunei Mandarin, and it also describes the acquisition of Malay grammar, Malay politeness strategies, the use of language online, language in the courts, a comparison of Malay and English newspapers, the language of shop signs, the status of Dusun, and lastly, English literature in Brunei.

“This kaleidoscopic collection of reports of language use in Brunei demonstrates that Brunei is ‘A Kingdom of Unexpected Linguistic Diversity’, a diversity represented by varieties of Malay, Chinese dialects, English and indigenous languages including  Kedayan, Dusun, Tutong, Murut and Iban. The chapters show how these languages operate in social interactions, education, the courtroom, the media, on the web, and in literature. Brunei’s linguistic diversity and the relationships between its indigenous languages and Malay, Chinese and English exemplify the complex interplay of local and global discourses. Readers of this book – and these should be all those interested in linguistic diversity as well as language policy makers and planners – will come to recognise how linguistic diversity supplies the vital cultural energy that enables human communities to thrive and how this cultural energy is under threat of being extinguished as indigenous language struggle to maintain their status and roles in society.”

Professor Andy Kirkpatrick, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia


Brunei English Brunei Language Policy Brunei Malay Chinese in Brunei English literature in Brunei Ethnic Languages in Brunei Language of Shop Signs Literature in Brunei Malay in Brunei

Editors and affiliations

  • Noor Azam Haji-Othman
    • 1
  • James McLellan
    • 2
  • David Deterding
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Brunei DarussalamGadongBrunei Darussalam
  2. 2.University of Brunei DarussalamGadongBrunei Darussalam
  3. 3.University of Brunei DarussalamGadongBrunei Darussalam

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016
  • Publisher Name Springer, Singapore
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences
  • Print ISBN 978-981-10-0851-1
  • Online ISBN 978-981-10-0853-5
  • Buy this book on publisher's site