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Useful Iban phrases

A collection of useful phrases in Iban, a language closely related to Malay and spoken in Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.

To see these phrases in many other languages click on the English versions.

Key to abbreviations: frm = formal, inf = informal

English Iban
Welcome Selamat datai
Good morning
(Morning greeting)
Selamat pagi
Good afternoon
(Afternoon greeting)
Selamat tengah hari
Good night Selamat lamai
How are you? Nama Berita? (what news?) Bakani gaya kitak? (How's life?)
Manah. Nuan/Dik deh? Dik/nuan, nama berita?
Long time no see Udah lama enda betemu
What's your name? Sapa nama dik?
My name is ... Nama aku ...
Where are you from? Nuan/dik datai 'ari ni?
I'm from ... Aku datai 'ari ...
Pleased to meet you Manah betemu nuan!
Good morning
(Morning greeting)
Selamat pagi
Good afternoon
(Afternoon greeting)
Selamat tengah hari (12-2pm)
Good evening
(Evening greeting)
Selamat lamai (2-7pm)
Good night Selamat malam (after 7pm)
(Parting phrases)
Kami ka' mupuk dulu (we're going back to where we're from)
Betemu baru ila (see you later)
Good luck
Good health! Gerai Nyamai!
Have a nice day Arap meh sari dik/nuan manah amai!
Bon appetit /
Have a nice meal
Nyamai nya' empa/lauk dimakai nuan? (is it good?)
Makai 'agi! (eat more!) Makai am! (let's go eat!)
Bon voyage /
Have a good journey
Jimat jimat bejalai
I don't understand Aku enda mereti
I don't know Aku enda nemu
Please speak more slowly Ulih nuan/ dik jako belubah?
Please say that again Nama nya' agi? (What's that again?)
Ulih nuan nyebut nya' agi? (Could you say that again?)
Please write this/that down Ulih nuan nulih leka jako nya/tu?
Do you speak Iban?
Yes, a little
Nuan/Dik nemu bejako iban?
Ulih/Nemu nuan/dik bejako Iban?
Nemu mimit aja
How do you say ...
in Iban?
Baka ni nyebut ... ba jako iban?
Nama leka jako ... ba Iban?
Leave me alone! Anang ngachau aku!
Excuse me
How much is this? Brapa rega tu?
Sorry Minta ampun
Quick Jampat
It's very cold Celap amat
It's very hot 'Angat amat
Thank you
Terima kasih
Tabik basa
Nadai ngawa'
Where's the toilet? Dini endor jamban? Dini endor Agu?
This gentleman/lady will pay for everything Iya ka' mayar semoa nya'
Would you like to dance with me? Ka nuan betanda enggau aku?
I miss you Aku lelenggau ka nuan/dik
I love you Aku sayau nuan?
Get well soon
Christmas and New Year greetings Selamat Hari Krismas (Christmas)
Selamat Taun Baru (New Year)
Birthday greetings Selamat Hari pengada
One language
is never enough
Enda chukup/Umbas enti nemu bejako aja
Siti Jako aja sigi enda chukup
My hovercraft is full of eels
Why this phrase?
Don't be naughty Anang manchal!
Where can I find ...? Dini ulih ngiga' ...

Iban phrases provided by Christian Maynes, with corrections by Farrel Gara

If you would like to make any corrections or additions to this page, or if you can provide recordings, please contact me.

Information about Iban | Iban phrases | Iban numbers | Tower of Babel in Iban

Other collections of Iban phrases

Phrases in Austronesian languages

Aklan, Banjar, Cebuano, Chamorro (Guam dialect), Chamorro (North Marianas dialect), Cuyonon, Fijian, Hawaiian, Iban, Iloko, Indonesian, Javanese, Kiribati, Malagasy, Malay, Māori, Samoan, Sundanese, Tagalog, Tahitian, Tetum, Tuvaluan

Phrases in other languages