Kenyah languages

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Linguistic classification Austronesian
Glottolog kaya1332  (partial match)[1]

The Kenyah languages are a group of half a dozen or so closely related languages spoken by the Kenyah peoples of Borneo. They are:

Kenyah proper (a dialect cluster, incl. Madang), Sebob, Bakung, Tutoh (Long Wat), Wahau Kenyah, Uma’ Lung / Uma’ Lasan.

Ethnologue says that the Punan–Nibong languages are related to Uma’ Lasan, Glottolog that they are outside the Kenyah languages.


Soriente (2008) proposes a Kayan-Kenyah grouping.[2]

  • Proto–Kayan-Kenyah
    • Kenyah
      • Upper Pujungan
      • Usun Apau
    • Penan
    • Kayanic
      • Lebu’ Kulit
      • Mboh
      • Ngorek
      • Kayan

However, Smith (2015) rejects Soriente's grouping, and argues that Kenyah and Kayan are separate groups. Smith (2015) proposes the following classification.[3]

  • Proto-Kenyah
    • Highland
      • Highland A dialects: Lepo’ Gah, Lepo’ Sawa, Lepo’ Laang, Lepo’, Ma’ut, Lepo’ Ké, Bakung, Lepo’ Ndang
      • Highland B dialects: Lepo’ Tau, Badeng, Uma’ Lasan, Uma’ Alim, Òma Lóngh
    • Lowland
      • Western Lowland dialects: Lebo’ Vo’
      • Eastern Lowland dialects: Uma’ Pawe, Uma’ Kulit, Uma’ Ujok, Lepo’ Timai
    • Penan-Sebop


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Kayan–Kenyah". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  2. ^ Soriente, Antonia. 1997. The classification of Kenyah languages: A preliminary assessment. In SEALS XIV(2): Papers from the 14th meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society (2004), ed. by Wilaiwan Khanittana and Paul Sidwell, 49–62. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  3. ^ Smith, Alexander D. "On the Classification of Kenyah and Kayanic Languages." In Oceanic Linguistics, Volume 54, Number 2, December 2015, pp. 333-357.