Kadazan Dusun language

Kadazan Dusun
Boros Dusun
Native to Malaysia, Brunei
Region Sabah, Labuan
Ethnicity Dusun people, Kadazan people
Native speakers
(140,000 Central Dusun cited 1991)[1]
100,000 ethnic population other dialects (1981–2000)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 dtp
Glottolog dusu1277[2]

Kadazan Dusun, AKA Bunduliwan (Dusun: Boros Dusun), is one of the more widespread languages spoken by the Dusun and Kadazan peoples of Sabah, Malaysia.

Official dialect

Under the efforts of the Kadazandusun Cultural Association Sabah, the standardized Kadazan-Dusun language is of the central Bundu-Liwan dialect spoken in Bundu and Liwan (now parts of the present-day districts of Ranau, Tambunan and Keningau). Dusun Bundu-liwan's selection was based on it being the most mutually intelligible, when conversing with other Dusun or Kadazan dialects.[3]


The Dusun-Kadazan language is written using the Latin alphabet and it has 22 characters (the letters C, F, Q, and X are not used except in loanwords):


These characters together are called Pimato


The vowels are divided into:

Simple vowels: a e i o u

Diphthongs: aa ai(sometimes pronounced /ee/) ii oi uu

Some combinations of vowels do not form diphthongs and each vowel retains its separate sound: ao ia iu ui ue. In some words aa is not a dipthtong. This is indicated by an apostrophe between the two vowels: a’a.


The Dusun phrase structure follow a different pattern since the normal English SUBJECT – VERB – OBJECT structure is non-existent in the Dusun construction. A typical Dusun sentence follows the VERB – SUBJECT – OBJECT structure.

of languages
SOV "She him loves." 45% 45
Japanese, Latin, Turkish
SVO "She loves him." 42% 42
English, Mandarin, Russian
VSO "Loves she him." 9% 9
Biblical Hebrew, Irish, Zapotec
VOS "Loves him she." 3% 3
Malagasy, Baure
OVS "Him loves she." 1% 1
Apalaí?, Hixkaryana?
OSV "Him she loves." 0% Warao, Yoda

Frequency distribution of word order in languages
surveyed by Russell S. Tomlin in 1980s.[4][5]


Dusun sentence: Monginum isio do waig.

Direct English translation: Drink him water.

English interpretation: He is drinking water.

Dusun sentence: Nunu maan nu do suab?

Direct English translation: What do you tomorrow?

English interpretation: "What are you doing tomorrow?" or to a lesser extent, "Are you doing anything tomorrow?"


Genesis 1:1-3

Ontok di timpuun ih, tuminimpuun o Kinorohingan do minomonsoi do libabou om pomogunan. Orolot iti pomogunan om inggaa suang, om pointuong nokulumutan di rahat topuhod. Mintulud sunduan do Kinorohingan do hiri id soibau di waig. Om pomoros nodi o Kinorohingan do, "Nawau no" ka. Om haro nodi o tanawau. Om asanangan tomod o Kinorohingan do nokokitoh diri. Pitongkiado no do Kinoingan ih tanawau do mantad hiri id totuong. Om pungaranai nodi do Kinorohingan do "dangadau" it anawau, om iri otuong nopo nga pinungaranan dau do "dongotuong". Haro di sosodopon, sinusuhut minsusuab – iri no o tadau kumoiso.


In the beginning God created heaven and earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep water. The spirit of God was hovering over the water. Then God said, "Let there be light!" So there was light. God saw the light was good. So God separated the light from the darkness. God named the light "day", and the darkness he named "night". There was evening, then morning, the first day.

The following table is a comparison of lexical terms in English, Dusun (Kadazan) and the Malaysian language.

English Dusun Malaysian
zero aiso kosong/sifar
one iso satu
two duo dua
three tolu tiga
four apat empat
five limo lima
six onom enam
seven turu tujuh
eight walu lapan
nine siam (sizam) sembilan
ten hopod sepuluh
eleven hopod om iso sebelas
twenty duo no hopod dua puluh
three thousand two hundred and eighty nine (3289) tolu noribu duo nahatus walu nohopod om siam tiga ribu dua ratus lapan puluh sembilan

Months and days

English Dusun
January Milatok
February Mansak
March Gomot
April Ngiop
May Mikat
June Mahas
July Madas
August Magus
September Manom
October Gumas
November Milau
December Momuhau
English Dusun
Monday Tontolu
Tuesday Madsa
Wednesday Tadtaru
Thursday Kurudu
Friday Mirod
Saturday Kukuak
Sunday Tiwang

Five Ws and one H

English Dusun Malaysian
What Onu/Nu/Nunu Apa
Who Isai Siapa
Where Hinonggo/Honggo Di mana
When Soira Bila
Why Nokuro Kenapa
How Poingkuro Bagaimana


  1. 1 2 Kadazan Dusun at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Dusunic". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Kadazandusun Cultural Association. "Official dialect". 11 April 1995.
  4. Introducing English Linguistics International Student Edition by Charles F. Meyer
  5. Russell Tomlin, "Basic Word Order: Functional Principles", Croom Helm, London, 1986, page 22

External links

Kadazan Dusun language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator
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