The Kelabit Language

Lian Raben explains some of the efforts that the Kelabit community have been engaged in to support the Kelabit language using the Bario dialect of Kelabit. The recording was made in Bario on 9th November 2017.

Video file

00:00:05mo, petabi' lekedtang ngen muyuh ngabi
good morning to you all

00:00:08ngadan uih Lian Raben
my name is Lian Raben

00:00:12anak Raben Bala ngen Sineh Raben Bala
the son of Raben Bala and Sineh Raben Bala

00:00:16tetepuh kudih, ngadan Tepu' Balang Ribuh
my grandparents' names were Balang Ribuh

00:00:22ngen Sineh Pian Ayu'
and Sineh Pian Ayu'

00:00:28idih teh Beken Ayu' ngen Uwan Bala ngilad
and Beken Ayu' and Uwan Bala

00:00:34pipa tetameh kuh
on my father's side

00:00:35tetepuh kudih, Tama Labang ngadan neh ngilad
my grandfather was called Tama Labang

00:00:42ngen awan nedih Mekatu Aren
and his wife, Mekatu Aren


00:00:52uih nih mudeng tungey ngi Bario pulu' teluh laak neh
I have been living in Bario for 13 years

00:01:03let ena' uih ngilad, let sekolah ngi New Zealand
I came from school in New Zealand

00:01:07ngi nangey iwa' laak mudeng nangey, kerja nangey
I lived and worked there for nine years

00:01:14mo, pengeh neh nemuli' let nangey
after that, I came back

00:01:17let New Zealand nangey marih tungey
from New Zealand to here

00:01:19marih peruyung ngen diweh tetepuh kudih tungey
and came to live with my grandparents here

00:01:24marih la' keli' ulun Kelabit
to learn about the life of the Kelabit people

00:01:31la' keli' adet
to learn about our customs

00:01:34neh teh narih la' mala belajar lah
that's how I want to say study

00:01:37belajar lem karuh tauh
to say "study" in Kelabit

00:01:39mo, inan lemulun doo' pian ngen kerja kudih tungey
some people were very happy with my work here

00:01:49nemutuh kuh mey sekolah ngi UK
and asked me to go to study in the UK

00:01:52mey naru' Linguistics ngi nangey
to do Linguistics there

00:01:56pengeh ineh, jadi' ko' edteh lexicographer neh keduih
after that I became a lexicographer

00:02:01edteh lun nurat/nulis kamus lah
someone who writes a dictionary

00:02:05kamus lem karuh tauh tebey'
a Kelabit dictionary

00:02:08kadi' lem tuda'-tuda' laak suk pengeh nih
in the past few years

00:02:15mula' ayu' teh nuk midih perlu tu'en tauh lem karuh tauh
there have been lots of things that we needed to do for our language


00:02:27edteh neh lem spelling
one of them is the spelling

00:02:30lem nulis lem karuh tauh
when we write in Kelabit

00:02:31kapeh dih doo'?
what is the best way?

00:02:33kapeh dih doo' pian ngen kekamih anak-adi' nuk beruh ih?
what will be the best for the younger generations?

00:02:39nuk beruh mulun ih, mo?
and future generations?

00:02:41neh neh tauh netaru'-taru' ngen idih lah
so we have been working on that

00:02:48tuda' laak inih, mo
for several years

00:02:55ineh peh, neh neh lem pasal internet ih
the same goes for the internet

00:03:06lem social media
and on social media

00:03:09inan kamih perlu ngen edteh tulisan lah
we need a spelling system

00:03:14edteh ayu' nuk teretek ih tu'en kamih pekaruh
a proper way of chatting

00:03:20tu'en kamih semulud lem idih
and conversing on it

00:03:24lem karuh tauh, lem internet ih
in Kelabit on the internet

00:03:27pengeh neh saru' neh kamih edteh standard Kelabit lah
atfer that we made a standard Kelabit

00:03:33kuan anak adi' nuk beruh ih
for the future generations

00:03:37lem ineh peh
on that subject

00:03:41uih peh doo' teh pian kuh kekeli' irat karuh tauh lah
I also would like to know where our language comes from

00:03:49iih keduih nih?
who am I?

00:03:51lun tauh, lun Kelabit kedeh keyh?
who are the Kelabit?

00:03:55kapeh ayu' lun Kelabit?
what makes someone Kelabit?

00:03:58enun nuk beken lem erang kamih lah ngen lun beken ih?
what is unique about us compared with other people?

00:04:04ngen bawang-bawang beken ih?
or other places?

00:04:09lem keli' kuh, mula' nuk midih kekeli' narih
in my opinion, there are lots of things I know

00:04:17kadi' lun merar dih, lun merar ideh nuk mala sekunuh
because the elders told stories

00:04:22mala irat deh
and talked about where they came from

00:04:24mala nuk kekeli' deh
talked about what they knew

00:04:27kadi' kineh ih, edteh nuk leng-leng penting lah lem karuh tauh idih ineh
because of that, something that is very important for our language is

00:04:37narih mileh ninger
that we are able to listen

00:04:42kadi' karuh tauh ineh ieneh secara lisan lah ken narih, oral language
because our language is an oral language

00:04:50jadi ineh peh, edteh skill tu'en tauh...
so that is a skill that we should...

00:04:56mesti tauh belajar lah let lun merar tauh
we have to learn from our elders

00:05:02mileh ninger narih keleyh
if we can listen

00:05:04mileh ketaru' nuk midih
we should be able to do things

00:05:06diren peh narih edteh nuk midih
if we want to preseve something

00:05:12maya' ineh neh narih, lun merar dih
we should follow our elders

00:05:16neh teh ayu' ih keli' keduih lah
that's how it seems to me

00:05:19murih-murih teh lun malem mala edteh nuk midih pedingeren narih
often people said things to me

00:05:25kadi' narih ena' teh, taru'-taru' teh narih
because I was trying to work out

00:05:30lem ayu' enun doo' ih lah ngen kedideh, mo
what was good from them

00:05:34kadi' kineh ih, mula' anak-adi' tauh lah nuk beruh ih
so many of the children

00:05:44ideh - kamih harap lah - ideh nih mileh ninger
we hope they will know how to listen

00:05:51paad teh lem zaman kinih nih tauh nulis
just like in this age we are writing

00:06:01inan teh zaman tauh mileh type edteh nuk midih
this is an age where we know how to type

00:06:07tak ineh keyh, enun peh narih nulis keleyh
so whatever we write

00:06:11enun peh narih type keleyh
whatever we type

00:06:13paad teh idih pedingeren ketauh lah
we will hear it in the same way

00:06:16kedideh nuk narih mo berey bala ngen ideh nuk kineh ih
those who we send messages to

00:06:26uih ngelinuh, suk penting idih ieneh
so I think the important thing is

00:06:31adet kapeh tauh mala edteh nuk midih lem tulisan lah
the custom of how we spell things