Brunei English pp 107-116 | Cite as


  • David Deterding
  • Salbrina Sharbawi
Part of the Multilingual Education book series (MULT, volume 4)


This chapter discusses the regular switching between English and Malay in informal language in Brunei. In an on-line English discussion forum, mixing of Malay terms occurred in 40 % of postings, another 20 % were entirely in Malay, and only 40 % were in English with no mixing. Some reasons for mixing involve: inability to think of a word, explaining something, use of religious terminology, reference to food and other cultural items, and direct quotations; but in reality, in many cases people mix two languages simply because they can, even though mixing is sometimes condemned by the authorities. It seems to be the norm in Brunei conversations to switch freely between English and Malay, and staying in one language when you know that your interlocutor can speak both English and Malay is regarded as rather strange behaviour, maybe even rude.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Deterding
    • 1
  • Salbrina Sharbawi
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Arts and Social SciencesUniversity of Brunei DarussalamGadongBrunei Darussalam

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