The Language Choice and Language Use: Narum Community in Sarawak, East Malaysia

By:
Saadiah Maalip
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The main attraction to Sarawak is its ethnic diversity. There are 27 distinct indigenous ethnic groups that speak 45 different languages and dialects. This paper will discuss about the Narum speech community. The Narum community is ethnically and linguistically known as the Narum people who live in Baram – an area in the Marudi district of Malaysia. They are an indigenous ethnic minority group in Sarawak. Narum language is spoken only among this community. They are considered as a minority with a small population who live mostly in Narum villages. As a minority ethnic group, they are influenced by the dominant majority language. This paper presents the patterns of language choice and language use among the Narum. The findings of this research are based on the substantial periods of fieldwork, using interviews, questionnaires, and participant observation. The study shows that there is a language shift in the Narum language towards the Sarawak Malay language - the lingua franca of the Sarawakians. This phenomenon may be explained by inter-marriage and socio-cultural and economical pressure.


Keywords: Sociolinguistics, Language Maintenance and Language Shift, Language Choice and Language Use Minority Language, Endangered Language
Stream: Anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Studies, Humanities
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Saadiah Maalip

PhD Student, School of Education, University of Leicester
Leicester, Leicestershire, UK

I have always been interested in the field of sociolinguistics ever since my undergraduate years. Since my interest lay heavily towards the sociolinguistics aspect of the field, I am now doing my PhD at university of Leicester, focussing on Language maintenance and language shift. My study focus on the Narum speech community in Sarawak, East Malaysia. The conversant of this particular language has declined in numbers and if it is not being studied and documented thoroughly, the possibility of it, in becoming extinct is great. I am now is waiting for my PhD viva. I am hoping to probe further into the subject of research and be able to come out with some brilliant conclusion or ideas that can be of significant values to the continuity of the minority languages.

Ref: I07P0754