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I recently received an email from a reader who’s coming to teach in Sabah soon. She asked me about how different does the speakers in Sabah speak Malay, as she has heard from her friends that Sabahans speak half-Indonesian. Her mail kinda sparked me an idea to write entries on Sabahan for Semenanjung peeps.

The first lesson shall be about the word ‘Bah’. its so commonly used here across ethnic groups and is seen as a sign of being a Sabahan. Meaning wise, the word ‘Bah’ could be used loosely as ‘Lah’ in Semenanjung Malay.

  • eg: “kau buat macam ini lah!” (smnjg)
  • “macam ini saja kau buat bah!” (sabahan)


Much as “Lah”, The word, if given different intonation, could signify various emotions – albeit with some differences.

  • ‘cepat bah!’ (rising)  indicating impatience, being agitated
  • ‘karja (kerja) ini endak(tidak) senang bah’ (falling) – making statement and seeking assurance from others.


“Bah”, if spoke by itself, could also mean ‘yes’

  • eg:  “Kau bisuk (esok) pigi kedai beli roti 2 buku”
  • “bah”

Do try it out if you could. or you could always go to Youtube and search for Sabahan speech, and listen to it. have fun!

Posted October 25, 2011 by Nigel in Uncategorized

One response to “

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  1. Jangan risau bah!
    Datang saja bah!

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