Vocabulary Ceq Wong

by Nicole Kruspe  

The vocabulary contains 947 meaning-word pairs ("entries") corresponding to core LWT meanings from the recipient language Ceq Wong. The corresponding text chapter was published in the book Loanwords in the World's Languages. The language page Ceq Wong contains a list of all loanwords arranged by donor languoid.

Word form LWT code Meaning Core list Borrowed status Source words

Field descriptions


All Ceq Wong data was collected by me on several field trips from 2002-2003 and 2005-2006, unless indicated otherwise. All data on South Aslian (Semelai, Mah Meri and Semoq Beri) and Jah Hut were from my own research.


Loans from Malay were easily identified for the most part. The major difficulty was in trying to stratify what potentially amounts to over 1,000 years of influence. The Malay migration to the peninsula from Borneo commenced around 2,000 – 1,500 years ago, with maritime traders arriving in the peninsula. The Orang Asli were engaged in the extraction and trade of forest products with these traders, and Malay became the lingua franca of the region. This may well have been the source of early loans, assuming the Ceq Wong had direct contact with the traders. Alternatively, they may have acquired Malay loans from an intermediary Aslian group, e.g. the neighbouring Jah-Hut, or from an indigenous Austronesian group like the Temuan. It is not possible to determine the age of any but the most recent Malay loans which relate to ‘new world discoveries or innovations’. Introduced foodstuffs which originated in the new world, e.g., ‘maize’ and ‘chili’ are dated as ‘Post 15th century’. Malay loans which are themselves borrowed from English are dated as late 19th century until the middle of the 20th century, and some modern innovations are dated as Post World War II, e.g., ‘ice’, electricity’, motor vehicles’. Overall there are no clear indicators that enable the earlier period to be stratified in any meaningful way, and as a result the age of the majority of Malay loans is given as ‘no information’.

Numerical dates for Aslian/MonKhmer are based on currently accepted dates. The oldest date given is Proto-Mon-Khmer (c. -5,000); cognates determined largely with the assistance Shorto (2006). Although there are obviously cognates in Proto-Austroasiatic, this was avoided as the etymological data was scant and the result would have presented an inaccurate picture.


Loans from Austronesian were easily determined for the most part. The difficulty in determining whether they were from Malay or another western Austronesian language was sometimes encountered. Notes are recorded for individual entries where this became an issue.
Given the low level of documentation of Aslian, work on intra-Aslian contact remains in its infancy, and there is currently no published reconstruction of Proto-Aslian available. It was therfore virtually impossible to differentiate inherited forms from potential intra-Aslian loans. Some potential loans were determined on the basis of identical or near-identical form and meaning in both languages, e.g. Ceq Wong and Jah-Hut pigoʔ ‘chili’, and an absence of this same combination in other Aslian languages, where data was available. I relied on my own small database of Jah Hut in this particular case. Such occurrences were rated as ‘probably borrowed’ or ‘clearly borrowed’. Some doubtful cases were rated with less certainty.


Benjamin, Geoffrey. 1976a. Austroasiatic Subgroupings and Prehistory in the Malay Peninsula. In Jenner et al. (eds.) Austroasiatic Studies, Oceanic Linguistics Special Pulications No. 13. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, pp37-128.

Burenhult, Niclas. 2005. A grammar of Jahai. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
Dunn, Michael, Niclas Burenhult and Nicole Kruspe. forthcoming. “Evolutionary approaches to the prehistory of Aslian languages.”

Ogilvie, C.S. 1949. “Che Wông Word List and Notes.”
In: Collings, H. D. (ed.) Bulletin of the Raffles Museum Series B, 4: 11-39.

Shorto, Harry L. 2006. A Mon-Khmer comparative dictionary. Sidwell Paul, Doug Cooper and Christian Bauer (eds.). Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University.


Adelaar, K. Alexander. (1995). 'Borneo as a cross-roads for Comparative Austronesian Linguistics.' in Bellwood, Peter, James J. Fox, and Darrell Tryon (eds.). The Austronesians: Historical and Comparative Perspectives. Canberra: RSPAS, ANU.

Wilkinson, R. J. (undated reprint) Malay-English dictionary (Romanised). Tokyo: Daitoa Syuppan Kabusiki Kaisya.

Personal communication with Uri Tadmor.