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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.

Click on any of the phrases that are links (blue) to hear them spoken. If you can provide recordings, corrections or additional translations, please contact me.

To see these phrases in many other languages click on the English versions. If you'd like to see these phrases in any combination of two languages, try the Phrase Finder.

Key to abbreviations: frm = formal, inf = informal

English Iban
Welcome Selamat datai
Hello (General greeting)  
How are you? Nama Berita? (What news?)
Bakani gaya kitak? (How's life?)
Reply to 'How are you?' Manah. Nuan deh?
Manah. Dik deh?
Dik, nama berita?
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 datai 'ari ni?
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!  
Cheers! Good Health!
(Toasts used when drinking)
Gerai Nyamai!
Have a nice day Arap meh sari dik manah amai!
Arap meh sari 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 jako belubah?
Ulih 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 it down Ulih nuan nulih leka jako nya?
Ulih nuan nulih leka jako tu?
Do you speak Iban? Nuannemu bejako Iban?
Dik nemu bejako Iban?
Ulih nuan bejako Iban?
Nemu dik bejako Iban?
Yes, a little
(reply to 'Do you speak ...?')
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
Thank you Terima kasih
Tabik basa
Reply to thank you Sama-sama
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
Aku lelenggau ka 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 nemu bejako aja
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' ...
Quick Jampat
It's very cold Celap amat
It's very hot 'Angat amat

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

Banjar, Central Dusun, Chamorro (Guam dialect), Chamorro (North Marianas dialect), Coastal Kadazan, Fijian, Iban, Indonesian, Javanese, Malagasy, Malay, Māori, Palauan, Tetum

Phrases in other languages

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