A language of Malaysia

Alternate Names
Seng’oi, Sengoi, Senoi, “Central Sakai” (pej.)

10,000 (Bradley 2007b). Ethnic population: 42,400 (2008 JHEOA).


Pahang state: northwest; Perak state: south; Selangor state: north.

Language Maps
Language Status

3 (Wider communication). The lingua franca of the Malaysian Aslian military armed forces unit (Bradley 2007a).


Jelai, Perak I, Perak II, Cameron (Cameron Highlands), Telom, Bidor, Betau, Lipis, Bil, Ulu Kampar (Kampar), Gopeng, Tanjung Malim, Parit, Tapah (Jalan Pahang). Some dialects not mutually intelligible (2006 T. Phillips).

Language Use

Vigorous. Cameron Highlands dialect is used on radio and is a school language (Bradley 2007a). Home, church, village. Used by all. Positive attitudes. All also use Malay [zlm] (Bradley 2007a). Some also use Temiar [tea] (Bradley 2007a).

Language Development

Literacy rate in L1: 5%. Literacy rate in L2: 60%. Literacy in Semai growing. Taught in primary schools. Literature. Dictionary. Bible portions: 1951–2011.


Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

‘Sakai’, slave. ‘Sengoi’, people, in Semai. West Semai more acculturated to Malay society than east Semai.

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