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Cocos Malay

  • Craig D. Soderberg (a1)
Abstract

Cocos Malay, hereafter called Cocos, is referred to in the Ethnologue with the ISO code of ‘coa’. The Ethnologue considers Cocos to be a Malay-based Creole along with several other Malay-based creoles (Lewis 2009). Cocos is spoken in Australia and in Malaysia. In Australia, it is spoken on the islands of Cocos and Christmas with a total combined population of about 700 speakers on those two islands. In Malaysia, Cocos speakers are found primarily in the eastern and southeastern coastal districts of Sabah (Kunak, Semporna, Lahad Datu and Tawau). In early 2013, the Ethnologue listed the population of Cocos speakers in Malaysia as 4,000 and decreasing. The Ethnologue also stated that the total number of Cocos speakers in all places around the world is 5,000. However, both of these statements in the Ethnologue are not correct. The Cocos population in Malaysia is increasing, not decreasing, and the total worldwide population of Cocos speakers is much larger than the Ethnologue estimate. The 1970 population estimate for Cocos speakers in Malaysia was 2,731 (Moody 1984: 93, 100). But the 2012 population estimate for Cocos speakers worldwide is 22,400, with most Cocos speakers living in Sabah, Malaysia. Our study focused exclusively on Cocos speakers in Malaysia. Some Cocos speakers interviewed in our study claimed that their ancestors originated from the island of Cocos (also known as Keeling), southwest of Sumatra in the Indian Ocean. Others claimed that their ancestors originally inhabited the Indonesian islands of the Malay Archipelaɡo and subsequently migrated to Cocos Island and then to Sabah. Two historical accounts of the Cocos can be found in Nanis (2011) and Subiah, Rabika & Kabul (1981).

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References
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ClynesAdrian & Deterding David. 2011. Standard Malay (Brunei). Journal of the International Phonetic Association 41, 259268.
KingJulie K. & King John Wayne (eds.). 1984. Languages of Sabah: A survey report (Pacific Linguistics, Series C, No. 78). Canberra: The Australian National University.
LewisM. Paul (ed.). 2009. Ethnologue: Languages of the world, 16th edn. Dallas, TX: SIL International. Online version: http://www.ethnologue.com/.
MoodyDavid C. 1984. The Malayic language family. In King & King (eds.), 91–100.
NanisDatuk Haji Light. 2011. Masyarakat Cocos. Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia: Datuk Hj Light Manis.
SmithKenneth D. 1984. The languages of Sabah: A tentative lexicostatistical classification. In King & King (eds.), 1–49.
SoderbergCraig D. & Olson Kenneth S.. 2008. Indonesian. Journal of the International Phonetic Association 38, 209213.
SubiahLaten, Rabika Kelazen & Kabul Mohd N.. 1981. Sejarah dan kebudayaan suku Cocos. In KhooKay Kim (ed.), Sabah: History and society, 107120. Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Historical Society.
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Journal of the International Phonetic Association
  • ISSN: 0025-1003
  • EISSN: 1475-3502
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-international-phonetic-association
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Soderberg sound files
Sound files zip. These audio files are licensed to the IPA by their authors and accompany the phonetic descriptions published in the Journal of the International Phonetic Association. The audio files may be downloaded for personal use but may not be incorporated in another product without the permission of Cambridge University Press

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