Jah Hut language

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Jah Hut
Native to Peninsular Malaysia
Ethnicity 3,760 (2008)[1]
Native speakers
1000-9,999 (2007)[2]
Dialects Kerdau, Krau, Ketiar Krau, Kuala Tembeling, Pulau Guai, Cheres, Ulu Tembeling
Language codes
ISO 639-3 jah
Glottolog jahh1242[3]
Jah Hut Location (2).png
Distribution of Jah Hut

Jah Hut (Jah Het) is an Aslian Austroasiatic language spoken in Peninsular Malaysia. The Jah Hut people are categorised among the Orang Asli indigenous tribal peoples of Malaysia.[4]


Jah hut is considered to be an Austroasiatic Language, existing in the Mon-Khmer branch. This can be seen through the numerous aspects of Malay that are incorporated into the language. It can be differentiated most easily however, by the lack of contrast between short and long vowels that are commonly found in other languages in the Mon-Khmer branch.[5]

Some sources believe Jah Hut to be a sister clade to Northern and Central Aslian languages, and fall into the same phylogenetic level. However, despite this, the smaller details of Jah Hut differ significantly from many of these other languages.[6]

Jah Hut is considered to exist as its own fourth subgroup within Senoic languages.


  • Kerdau
  • Krau
  • Ketiar Krau
  • Kuala Tembeling
  • Pulau Guai
  • Cheres
  • Ulu Tembeling


Jah Hut speakers are located in Central Malaysia, and can be primarily found within the Jah Hut Tribe. The tribe is located alongside Temerloh and Jerantut. Estimates vary from 1,000 to 9,999 speakers throughout the world.


Jah Hut does not contain open major syllables in word-final positions. Conversely, the language contains 15 consonants that can be used to close a syllable. Further, in the context in which a nasalized vowel or consonant occurs earlier in a given word, the final stop is broken down into a nasal and glottal stop.

Does not contain restrictions on non-homorganic stop clusters. Meaning that many words begin with consonants that don’t phonetically match. (i.e. words that begin with ‘tk’ or ‘bk’). This pattern can be found in many other Aslian languages.[8]

  • Tkak- palate
  • Dkan- Bamboo Rat
  • Bkul- gray

Jah Hut varies from other Mon-Khmer languages in that it contains little-to-no phonetic vowel length.[8] It also uses Causative prefixes that are composed by p- or –r-. By using this, the speaker is able to indicate that a specific something or someone causes something or someone to be or do something else.

Similarly, the prefix -m allows the user of the language to assign an act to a person. For example, lyep, in Jah Hut, means to plait palm leaves, while mlayep is translated as, "one who plaits". On the other hand, when an act does not involve a person directly, the agent of the act can be found in a prefixed or infixed -n, depending on the root of the given word. i.e. "bilit", or wrapping, compared to, "bnilit"; meaning the act of wrapping.[8]


In Jah Hut, all complements but the direct object require a preposition and, like many Aslian languages, verb usage in Jah Hut is restricted generally to strings of no more than 2 verbs, with the first verb referencing some form of motion, with the second verb representing the major action. Another form of verb usage is a form which uses the first verb as the major action, with the second verb describing the manner in which the verb is enacted. Also, if a verb is attached to a personal prefix, this must always agree with the agent of the sentence, regardless of where these two components of the sentence are located.[8]


  1. ^ Jah Hut language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ http://www.endangeredlanguages.com/lang/1264
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Jah Hut". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  4. ^ National University of Singapore. Centre for Advanced Studies (January 1999). Singapore Studies II: Critical Surveys of the Humanities and Social Sciences. NUS Press. p. 147. ISBN 978-9971-69-208-7. 
  5. ^ Dunn, M., Burenhult, N., Kruspe, N., Trufvesson, S., & Becker, N. (2011). Aslian Linguistic Prehistory (pp. 291-323). N.p.: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=08246437-05de-4f3a-8fff-a66ce94b874e%40sessionmgr111&vid=1&hid=114
  6. ^ Diffloth, G. 1976, "Jah-Hut, an Austroasiatic Language of Malaysia", in South-east Asian Linguistic Studies Vol. 2, ed. N.D. Liem, vol. 2, pp. 73-118. Pacific Linguistics, the Australian National University.
  7. ^ 1. Jah Hut. (2003). In W. J. Frawley (Ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Linguistics (2nd ed., Vol. 1).
  8. ^ a b c d Matisoff, James (2003). Aslian: Mon-Khmer of the Malay Peninsula. Berkeley: University of California. 

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