Semelai language

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Native to Malaysia
Region Malaya
Ethnicity 6,300 (2008)[1]
Native speakers
4,100 (2009)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 sza
Glottolog seme1247[2]

The Semelai language is a language spoken by the Semelai people, one of nineteen groups called Orang Asli or "original people" by the Malaysian government. The Semelai reside in the region between Segamat (Johor) and the Pahang River in Pahang. The Semelais are classified as Proto-Malays, one of three categories into which the Orang Asli are officially divided, although the Semelai language is an Austroasiatic language, while the other groups classified as "Proto-Malay" speak Austronesian languages closely related to Malay.


Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasals m n ɲ ɲ̰ ŋ̊ ŋ
Plosives p b t d c ɟ k ɡ ʔ
Fricatives s h
Rhotics r
Approximants l j w

Further reading[edit]

  • Gianno, Rosemary. 2004. Women are not brave enough: Semelai male midwives in the context of Southeast Asian cultures. Bijdragen Tot De Taal-, Land- En Volkenkunde. 160, no. 1: 31.
  • Hoe, Ban Seng, Adela S. Baer, and Rosemary Gianno. Semelai Communities at Tasek Bera: A Study of the Structure of an Orang Asli Society. Subang Jaya, Malaysia: Centre for Orang Asli Concerns, 2001. ISBN 983-40042-3-0
  • Hood, M. S. Semelai Rituals of Curing. University of Oxford, 1978.
  • Kruspe, Nicole. A Grammar of Semelai. Cambridge grammatical descriptions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-521-81497-9
  • Santharamohana, Mohala. Knowledge, Culture and Beliefs of the Semelai People in Tasek Bera. Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia: Wetlands International, Malaysia Office, 2002. ISBN 983-40960-4-6


  1. ^ a b Semelai at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Semelai". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Kruspe, Nicole (April 2004). A Grammar of Semelai. Cambridge UP. p. 33. 

External links[edit]