An Overview of the Language, Literature and Culture of Brunei Darussalam



Brunei Darussalam (henceforth Brunei) is a small country about 5 degrees north of the equator on the northern coast of Borneo, an island it shares with the East Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah and the Indonesian territory of Kalimantan.


  1. Aammton, Alias. (2016). The last bastion of Ingei. Los Gatos, CA: Smashwords.Google Scholar
  2. Aammton, Alias. (2019). Killing dreams: The Bunian Conspiracy. Los Gatos, CA: Smashwords.Google Scholar
  3. Abdul, Azim Kassim. (2015, March 12). Proposal to amend Brunei’s citizenship law turned down. Asiaone. Retrieved from
  4. Amir, F. (2013). The forlorn adventure. Singapore: Trafford Publishing.Google Scholar
  5. Asmah Haji Omar. (1983). The Malay peoples of Malaysia and their languages. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.Google Scholar
  6. Bauman, Z. (2000). Liquid modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  7. BruDirect. (2016, October 5). Relentless Entertainment launched ‘Centre Stage’ teens performing arts programme., August 15. Retrieved from
  8. BruDirect. (2019). Local drama ‘The Bungsu Story’ nominated in Asia Contents Awards in Busan, South Korea. BruDirect. Retrieved from
  9. Brunei Times. (2014, May 28). Bruneian awarded weirdest film at Cannes. Brunei Times. Retrieved from
  10. Chin, G. V. S. (Ed.). (2012). In the spotlight: An anthology of Bruneian plays in English. Brunei Darussalam: Creative Industries Research Cluster, Universiti Brunei Darussalam.Google Scholar
  11. Chin, G. V. S. (2016). Bruneian women’s writing as an emergent minor literature in English. World Englishes, 35(2), 587–601.Google Scholar
  12. Clynes, A. (2014). Brunei Malay: An overview. In P. Sercombe, M. Boutin, & A. Clynes (Eds.), Advances in research on linguistic and cultural practices in Borneo (pp. 153–200). Phillips, ME: Borneo Research Council.Google Scholar
  13. Clynes, A., & Deterding, D. (2011). Standard Malay (Brunei). Journal of the International Phonetics Association, 41(2), 259–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Coluzzi, P. (2011). Endangered languages in Borneo: A survey among the Iban and Murut (Lun Bawang) in Temburong, Brunei. Oceanic Linguistics, 49(1), 119–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dawson, M. (2010). Bauman, Beck, Giddens and our understanding of politics in late modernity. Journal of Power, 3(2), 189–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. DBPB. (2011). Daftar leksikal 7 dialek Brunei Darussalam [Lexical list of the 7 dialects of Brunei Darussalam]. Bandar Seri Begawan: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Brunei.Google Scholar
  17. DBPB. (2019). List of books sold at Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Brunei. Bandar Seri Begawan: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Brunei.Google Scholar
  18. de Vienne, M.-S. (2012). Brunei: De la thalassocratie à la rente. Paris: CNRS.Google Scholar
  19. de Vienne, M.-S. (2019, November 8). Women in Brunei Darussalam: From a few mentions in Brunei Silsilah to modern education and jobs. Paper presented at Alliance Francoise Office, Brunei Darussalam.Google Scholar
  20. Department of Economic Planning and Statistics. (2019). Population. Ministry of Finance and Economy. Retrieved from
  21. Deterding, D. (2014). The evolution of Brunei English: How it is contributing to the development of English in the world. In S. Buschfeld, T. Hoffmann, M. Huber, & A. Kautzsch (Eds.), The evolution of Englishes: The dynamic model and beyond (pp. 420–433). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  22. Deterding, D., & Salbrina, S. (2013). Brunei English: A new variety in a multilingual society. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dirlik, A. (2002). Modernity as history: Post-revolutionary China, globalization and the question of modernity. Social History, 27(1), 16–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dirks, N. B. (1990). History as a sign of the modern. Public Culture, 2(2), 25–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Dunseath, K. (1996). Aspects of language maintenance and language shift among the Chinese community in Brunei. In P. W. Martin, C. Ożóg, & G. Poedjosoedarmo (Eds.), Language use & language change in Brunei Darussalam (pp. 280–301). Athens, OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies.Google Scholar
  26. Economist. (2016). World in figures: Living standards. Retrieved from
  27. Faahirah, S., & Deterding, D. (2019). The pronunciation of Kedayan. Southeast Asia: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 19, 78–85.Google Scholar
  28. Faisal, M. (2010). Crosswise the boulevard: An extraordinary love saga. Bandar Seri Begawan: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.Google Scholar
  29. Gane, N. (2001). Zygmunt Bauman: Liquid modernity and beyond. Acta Sociologica, 44(3), 267–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gardiner, I. A., Deterding, D., & Alas, Yabit. (2019). The pronunciation of Dusun. South East Asia: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 19, 14–21.Google Scholar
  31. Hakim Yassin, Abdullah Hussaian, Lufti Abas, Awang Ahmad, Alimin Hamid, & Shaharah Wahab (Eds.). (1998). Modern Poetry of Brunei Darussalam. Anthology of ASEAN Literatures (Vol. 3A). Bandar Seri Begawan: Asia Printers.Google Scholar
  32. Ho, H. M. Y. (2019). Women doing Malayness in Brunei Darussalam. Southeast Asian Review of English, 56(2), 147–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ho, H. M. Y. (2020). The violence of othering and (non-)Indigenous revival: Aammton Alias’ The Last Bastion of Ingei: Imminent as postoclonolonial speculative fiction of Brunei Darussaalam. Southeast Asian Review of English, 57(1), 56–75.Google Scholar
  34. Ho, H. M. Y., & Dhont, F. (2016). Bombs as a potent reminder of war: A historical and literary study. Southeast Asia: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 16, 139–150.Google Scholar
  35. Hussainmiya, B. A. (1995). Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin III and Britain: The making of Brunei Darussalam. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Hussainmiya, B. A. (2001). The Brunei constitution of 1959: An inside history (2nd ed.). Bandar Seri Begawan: Brunei Press.Google Scholar
  37. Hussainmiya, B. A. (2006). Brunei revival of 1906: A popular history. Bandar Seri Begawan: Brunei Press.Google Scholar
  38. Hussainmiya, B. A., & Tarling, N. (2011). Brunei: Traditions of monarchic culture and historyR. H. Hickling’s memorandum upon the Brunei constitutional history and practice. Bandar Seri Begawan: Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah.Google Scholar
  39. Ishamina, A. (2016). The role of fast speech in misunderstandings in Brunei English. In H.-O. Noor Azam, J. McLellan, & D. Deterding (Eds.), The use and status of language in Brunei Darussalam: A kingdom of unexpected linguistic diversity (pp. 41–56). Singapore: Springer.Google Scholar
  40. Jones, G. (2003). Mono, bi or trilingual education? A question facing many education planners. Southeast Asia: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 4, 63–72.Google Scholar
  41. Jones, G., Martin, P., & Ozog, A. C. K. (1993). Multilingualism and bilingual education in Brunei Darussalam. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 14(1), 39–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kathrina, Mohd Daud. (2017). Articulating female citizenship in Norsiah Gapar’s Pengabdian. In G. V. S. Chin & Kathrina Mohd Daud (Eds.), The Southeast Asian woman writes back: Gender, identity, and nation in the literatures of Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines (pp. 41–54). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  43. Kathrina, Mohd Daud. (2017). The Halfling King. Bandar Seri Begawan: Heartwrite Co.Google Scholar
  44. Kathrina, Mohd Daud. (2018, October 20). BruHaHa: Stand-up comedy the Bruneian way. The Scoop. Retrieved from
  45. Kathrina, Mohd Daud, Chin, G. V. S., & Maslin Jukim. (2016). The state of indigenous languages in Brunei. In Noor Azam, Haji Othman, J. McLellan & D. Deterding (Eds.), The use and status of language in Brunei Darussalam: A kingdom of unexpected linguistic diversity (pp. 241–252). Singapore: Springer.Google Scholar
  46. KHEU. (2020). Sejarah. Kementerian Hal Ehwal Ugama. Retrieved from
  47. Kon, J. (2019). Local filmmaker brings a touch of Brunei to Cannes film festival. Asia News Network. Retrieved from http://annx.asianews.netowrkd/content/local-filmmaker-brings-touch-brunei-cannes-film-festival-97543.
  48. Lim, K. H. (2014). Written in black. Singapore: Monsoon Books.Google Scholar
  49. Lopes, R. O., & Aliudin, R. (2019). The cultural and creative industries as a new road to economic diversification in Brunei Darussalam. Southeast Asia: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 19, 64–77.Google Scholar
  50. Lopes, R. O., & Nuriskandar, M. H. (2020). The expression of cultural identity in mosque architecture in Brunei Darussalam.Google Scholar
  51. Low, P. K. C. (2018). Leading successfully in Asia. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Martin, P. W. (1996). A comparative ethnolinguistic survey of the Murut (Lun Bawang) with special reference to Brunei. In P. W. Martin, C. Ożóg, & G. Poedjosoedarmo (Eds.), Language use & language change in Brunei Darussalam (pp. 268–279). Athens, OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies.Google Scholar
  53. Martin, P. W., & Poedjosoedarmo, G. (1996). Introduction: An overview of the language situation in Brunei Darussalam. In P. W. Martin, C. Ożóg, & G. Poedjosoedarmo (Eds.), Language use & language change in Brunei Darussalam (pp. 1–23). Athens, OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies.Google Scholar
  54. Milner, A. (1981). Islam and Malay kingship. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 113(1), 46–70.Google Scholar
  55. Milner, A. (1982). Kerajaan: Malay political culture on the eve of colonial rule. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.Google Scholar
  56. Milner, A. (2009). The Malays. Bridgewater, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  57. Mohamad Rozaiman Abd Rahman. (2018, October 9). Implications of Syariah Laws in Brunei Darussalam. Asia Law Portal. Retrieved from
  58. Morsidi Haji Muhamad. (2002). Chong Ah Fok: Penglibatan dan sumbangannya dalam perkembangan kesusasteraan Melayu Brunei. Pangsura, 15(8), 3–14.Google Scholar
  59. Noor Azam Haji-Othman. (2012). Is it always English? ‘Duelling aunties’ in Brunei Darussalam. In V. Rapatahana & P. Bunce (Eds.), English language as hydra: Its impact on non-English language cultures (pp. 175–190). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Noor Azam Haji-Othman & Siti Ajeerah Najib (2016). The state of indigenous languages in Brunei. In Noor Azam, H-O, J. McLellan & D. Deterding (Eds.), The use and status of language in Brunei Darussalam: A kingdom of unexpected linguistic diversity (pp. 17–28). Singapore: Springer.Google Scholar
  61. Nothofer, B. (1991). The languages of Brunei Darussalam. In H. Steinhauer (Ed.), Papers in Austronesian Linguistics (pp. 151–176). Pacific Linguistics A-81. Canberra: Australian National University.Google Scholar
  62. Nur Raihan, M. (2017). Rhoticity in Brunei English: A diachronic approach. Southeast Asia: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 17, 1–7.Google Scholar
  63. Odihi, J. J. (2012). A Tribute to Brunei and Other Poems. Singapore: Trafford Publishers.Google Scholar
  64. Ong Kim Kee. (2004). Ong Kim Kee: In loving memory. Selangor: Perniagaan Yakin.Google Scholar
  65. Orr, Tamra. (2009). Brunei. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish.Google Scholar
  66. PMO. (2019, March 30). Press statement. Prime Minister’s Office. Retrieved from
  67. Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar. (2019, March 19). MoRA allocates 76% of proposed budget to religious education. The Scoop. Retrieved from
  68. Sariani, Haji Ishak. (2002). Mengakrabi novel-novel Brunei Darussalam dari Bendahara Menjadi Sultan (1951) ke Titik-Titik Peluh (2002). Pangsura, 15, 73–92.Google Scholar
  69. Saunders, G. (1994). A history of Brunei. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  70. Selamat Munap. (2009). The wild men of the east. India: Raider Publishing.Google Scholar
  71. Sim, J. S. (2000). Hua Ho—Taking root in Brunei: The Lau Gim Kok story (Katharine Yip, Trans.). Kuala Lumpur: Mentor Publishing Sdn Bhd.Google Scholar
  72. Siti Norkhalbi Haji Wahsalfelah. (2010). Transformation in mode of clothing in Brunei Darussalam and its impact on identities. Borneo Research Journal, 4, 193–208.Google Scholar
  73. Starrs, D. B. (2016). Self-censorship in Bruneian literature and news reporting. Pennsylvania Literary Review, 8(3), 55–67.Google Scholar
  74. Sun, C. T. Y. (2011). Four kings. CreateSpace Independent Publishing.Google Scholar
  75. Tavu, F. (2015). Moments of nil. Singapore: Partridge.Google Scholar
  76. Wong, A. (2018). Creative Space to compile catalogue of new Bruneian artists. Retrieved from
  77. World Bank Group. (2019). Forest area (% of land area). Retrieved from

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Arts and Social SciencesUniversiti Brunei DarussalamGadongBrunei Darussalam

Personalised recommendations