Learn Kadazan Phrases, One Phrase at a Time

The Kadazan phrases you find on this page are for you to ponder and get a feel of the Kadazan Language. You may know or have some idea about the meaning of such Kadazan phrases.

Try to say these phrases aloud and listen to the sound you make. It will do you good if you can find a "Kadazan di otuutuo" (a Kadazan elder) who knows the language well. Younger Kadazans who knows the Kadzan language well are now very few in number. Ask around at open market (tomu). That is, if you are interested in learning the Kadazan language first hand.

You may prefer to go to a public library to look for a copy of a Kadazan Dictionary. You can inquire about the newly-published Kadazan-English-Malay Dictionary. Libraries may even have a copy of Antonissen's Kadazan-English Dictionary.

Some Kadazan Phrases and Words as Starters
Boos Kadazan (Words in Kadazan) are stated first. The English word are considered the nearest in meaning. (Disclaimer: The writer does NOT claim to be an expert in the Kadazan Language.)

You may want to start learning these phrases now.

  • "Iisai ngaan nu?", What is your name? Iisai, What; Ngaan, Name; Nu, Your. or "Iisai ko?" Who are you? Ko. You.
  • "John zou." I am John.
  • "Naamot nopo", Only for a while. Naamot, For a while. Nopo, Only. "Naamot nopo do doiti zou." I am here for only a while.
  • "Aahom toobong diti", This well is deep. Aahom, Deep. Toobong, Well. Diti, This. The "too" in toobong is not pronounced like the English "too" but more like "talk".
  • "Indadon ku iziau.", I will wait for you. Indadon, Wait. Ku, I. Iziau, You.
  • "Mugad zou nogi.", I will also go. Mugad, Go. Zou, I. Nogi, Also.
  • "Asapou asam.", Heavy rain; Downpour. Asapou, Heavy. Asam, Rain.
  • The antonym of "Asapou" is "Odigas", Little. Asapou also means "abundant" as in "abundant fruits" (Asapou tuvah). A synonym for Asapou is Ogumuh". You may not say Ogumu asam but you can say, "Ogumuh tuvah." Odigas, Few; not many. You can say both "Odigas asam" and "Odigas tuvah."

  • "Mogunsamang o booson dau.", He (she) is talking nonsense. Mogunsamang, Nonsense. Booson, Something that a person is talking about. Dau, He or she.
  • "Nopongo no.", Has been completed. Is completed. Has ended. It's done. Nopongo, Completed; ended. No, Already. The "no" is not pronounced as the English "no" or "know" but more like the"no" in "nothing."
  • "Ogumu haid o tuhun Kadazan do moobuubuvat." Formerly, there were many Kadazan people who were farmers. Ogumu, Many. Haid, Formerly. Tuhun, People. Mobuubuvat, Farmers. You can also say, "There were many Kadazans who were farmers."
  • "Au nodii miho pamaladu o kalabau." Buffaloes cannot be used for ploughing anymore." Au, Cannot. Nodii, Anymore. Miho, Know but it can also be "USED" in this context. Pamaladu, Ploughing. Kalabau, Water Buffalo.
  • "Kotunud (Koiho) ko lahan kumaa Penampang?" Do you know the way to Penampang? Kotunud, Know. Ko, You. Lahan, Way. Kumaa, To. Penampang, A district on the west coast of Sabah, not far from the Capital, Kota Kinabalu.
  • Muhi zou no dii. I am going home. muhi, going home. zou,I
  • Mamadaah ko dogo. You are torturing me. mamadaah,torture. ko,you. dogo,me

Learn a Kadazan Phrase a day. Take your time.

However, if you are a Kadazan or has Kadazan blood and are concerned about preserving the Kadazan language you need to persevere.

If you can understand the Kadazan Language and can talk in Kadazan, and converse with members of your family in Kadazan, your family's Kadazan identity is assured for the next fifty years (at the most).

Check out from time to time for new Kadazan phrases or words.

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