Bidayuh Bau

Bidayuh Bau is a major dialect spoken by over 50,000 people concentrated around Bau near Kuching in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, North-Western Borneo.

The language has three main sub-dialects with significant differences between them which are Jagoi, Serombu and Singgai, each corresponding roughly to the area surrounding an ancestral mountain. It is common to refer to the language with reference to these dialects, for example as Bidayuh Jagoi (BiJagoi or Bau-Jagoi), Biro'ih (Serombu) or Bidayuh Singgai (BiSinggai). The Jagoi variety can also be further classified as Jagoi, Bratak and Krokong.

Below are lists of mostly Bidayuh Bau-Jagoi words. To ensure accuracy in pronunciation, the orthography employed here will vary from other dictionaries available today. Any words spelled with a double vowel, e.g. baat (heavy), is actually a long vowel sound /ba:t/. Most Bidayuh dictionaries do not account for this distinctive feature.

If there is an apostrophe in the middle of the word, e.g. ba'at (a border) or at the end of a word, e.g. bau' (Bau town), that is actually a glottal plosive. The glottal plosive is an important sound of the language which many writers tend to ignore or erroneously replace with either a 'k' or an 'h' when applied to the words above, will change them into other words such as baat, bakat and bahat or bau, bauk and bauh. The word Dayak ends with a glottal plosive as in daya' and there is actually no Bidayuh word pronounced as dayak.

For some words ending with the nasals m, n, ng, they are often pronounced with an unreleased voiceless articulation and shown in the list as p, t and k respectively to differentiate from the usual nasal sounds. Some examples are, giyamp (a rapid), isint (flesh), and asink (urine). Omitting the final unreleased sounds usually means that the speaker is a non-native user of the language.

Go through the lists and see if you can pronounce some Bidayuh words.

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Word Lists

Common Phrases and Questions

Flora and Fauna

Food and Drinks

Kupuo' Bidayuh Bau (Kampung/Villages)

Mountains and Rivers

Parts of Speech






Personal Pronouns