The study begins with a general introduction to Malaysia and its linguistic repertoire, and then focuses on the ethnic group known as Bidayuh living in the Western part of Sarawak (Borneo). The article goes on to outline the methodology employed in our research, based on a survey on language use and attitudes carried out in four different villages in the Bidayuh belt. The results are then analyzed in general terms, showing a high degree of vitality for the Bidayuh language. In contrast, when the answers given by the younger speakers of the language and those provided by the older ones are compared, a pattern of slow but steady ongoing language shift clearly emerges. The article closes with some general considerations, including further comparisons between the results of our research and those of other studies conducted in more urban environments and/or among highly educated Bidayuh. There is some evidence to show a higher degree of endangerment for the Bidayuh language outside the Bidayuh belt.


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pp. 375-395
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