A grammar of West Coast Bajau by by Mark T. Miller.

By by Mark T. Miller.

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Di:ŋ] ‘fish’ in Kota Belud WC Bajau is pronouned [daiŋ] in Tuaran), though I do not (yet) have evidence of systematic sound changes that distinguish these two speech communities. Some of the Tuaran WC Bajau lexical items are obviously of a different source. For example, in Kota Belud the WC Bajau word for ‘plate’ is saan whereas in Tuaran it is kudut. 12 The WC Bajau in Kota Belud refer to the WC Bajau in other communities (such as Tuaran) as Sama dopo’ (lit. ‘half Sama’) to indicate their minority status in those places.

Without an established orthography, however, attempts at spelling the language were inconsistent at best. An orthography for WC Bajau was developed by Edith Mirafuentes in the 1990s and used on a trial basis with some literacy materials she had developed as part of her doctoral program. Meanwhile, I did some orthography testing in Kota Belud in 1998 which incorporated Edith’s spellings and presented some alternative ones as well. On the basis of such testing, I came up with a modified proposal for a WC Bajau orthography.

These are but a few examples of the central role of religion in the shaping of WC Bajau society. 3 Language use and language vitality Most WC Bajau people are bilingual to some degree with the national language, Malay. Banker (1984) reports in her study of national language intelligibility among the WC Bajau that the average intelligibility was 89% (inclusive of both educated and non-educated WC Bajau speakers). Malay is the language used in education (as the medium of instruction, together with English in higher grades), in government, and in much of the business sector.

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