Keep a Language, Save a Culture



Waqiuddin Rajak

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Friday, October 31, 2014 - PRESERVING the native language, together with its various dialects, is important in ensuring the continuity of race and culture in the country.

This was said by Hj Mohd Rozan Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos, Permanent Secretary of Media and Cabinet at the Prime Minister’s Office during a prize presentation ceremony for competitions held by the Language Literature Bureau at Balai Sarmayuda yesterday.

He said losing a language could lead to the loss of culture of a community, especially among the ethnic groups in Brunei whose unique dialects reflect their varying cultures.

Among the primary reasons for the decline of using native languages is the current patterns of life where the younger generations are more exposed to other languages including English in striving for academic success and excellence, said Hj Mohd Rozan.

“Exposure to other languages besides the native language is limiting the youth to practice and understand their own language and dialects and language that such had become less relevant to them,” headded.

“Less focus was also given towards the (shaping of) identity and personality development (and) such had been a concern amongst the elders who hoped that their language could be passed down to the younger generations,” he stressed.

Referring to a research conducted by the National Geographic Society, Hj Mohd Rozan said that if no immediate actions were taken to address the matter, the world would lose one language in every 14 days.

“And about 3,500 languages around the world will be extinct by the year 2100 if they are not spoken,” he said.

“Most importantly, we do not want an ethnic group that remained registered in the Brunei Nationality Act and is also something that is often talked about, to lose its language and dialects,” he added.

The Permanent Secretary of Media and Cabinet at the PMO also expressed his hope that the DBP will continue its effort to document ethnic languages available in the country.

“Such effort would be able to (cultivate) the capability to understand and conserve the language and its dialect amongst the younger generations (in the country), teaching them to appreciate such,” he said.

“I believe that such efforts would be able to help preserve and save the native language – and its dialects – in the country,” he added.

Meanwhile, winners from the “Pertandingan Batuturan Dialek Kitani” (roughly translated as speaking in our own dialect competition) were awarded by the Permanent Secretary of Media and Cabinet during the event.

The competition was divided to the seven ethnic dialects of Brunei, namely the Melayu Brunei, Belait, Bisaya, Dusun, Murut, Kedayan and Tutong; under each were two sub-categories A and B.

The first place in category A of Melayu Brunei, Belait, Dusun and Tutong received cash prize of $400, the second place received $350 and the third received $300 whereas the winners in category B in the same dialect categories received $500, $450 and $400 respectively.

No winners in the categories for Kedayan, Murut and Bisaya however, nine participants were presented with prizes as incentives.

In the Pre-University category, , the first place received $800, the second place $650 and the third place received $600 while three participants received consolation prizes of $200 each. In the University category, first place received $900 while the second place received $750 and third received $600; three other participants received consolation prizes of $250 each.

The Brunei Times

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