Teaching to learn

Teaching to learn

Surprisingly, I learned a lot of Kelabit words on my first day. I must admit that it was difficult to learn those words. I was thinking that if it was difficult for me to learn Kelabit words, it would also be difficult for the Bario women to learn English. Hence, I thought that I would need to be more patient and find strategies to teach English to the Bario women. Most of the content in this post will consist of the Kelabit words that I had learned in Bario.
Below are a few words that I have learned in Kelabit on my first day:
Jonathan Ngadan Uih – My name is Jonathan.
Kuman – Eat
Mirup – Drink
Petabi De Dhtum – Good night
Petabi Rhedum – Good night 
Petabi Le ke thang – Good morning 
Numbers from 0-10 – Na’am, edtah, dua’, teluh, epat, lima’, enam, tuduh, waluh, iwah, puluh.
Uih – I 
Iko – You
Kayu – Tree

Some jungle vegetables and fruit vocabulary that I picked up over time:
Midin. Slightly smaller and finer compared to paku-pakis.
Buah kabar
Daun sup

Daun Isip. Widely used to wrap Nuba’ Laya’ (soft rice)
I was assigned to Christina. Christina is a mother of four and is 28 years old. She looks really young. At first, she was shy to learn English so I built a strong relationship with her and eventually it was easier to teach her English. Hence, I realised the importance of relationship building before teaching an older person.
I must admit that I learned more Kelabit words from her as she already has quite a wide English vocabulary but just lacks the confidence to communicate in English. I learned Bahasa Kelabit from her and she learned the English from me. Both of us used Bahasa Malaysia as a medium of communication.
As we grew closer, she had to leave to Miri for some reasons. I thought Christina would forget about me when she left to Miri but I was so happy when she texted me! After she left, I was paired up with Violacea to teach Tepuq Ribet English. I rested for a few days before joining forces with Vio as I was ill. I came to a conclusion that unexpected things will happen when you are teaching and we must always be prepared to face these changes. 
Christina and her one year old daughter, Cherisha. I truly miss them a lot despite meeting them for only 3 days.
Below are the few words that Christina and I learned using the translation method:
Thank you – Terima kasih
You are welcome – Pa’ad
Sorry – Mutuhdoo
It is okay – Doo enah
Yes – Mo
No – Na’am
Water – Pa’
Food – Nukenen
Rice – Nuba’
Wind – Bario
Mountain – Pu’un
Up – Dita
Down – Benah
Right – Seno’ah
Left – Ka’bing
Cat – U’sing
Dog – Oko
Chicken – La’al
Fish – Luang
Wild boar – Baka
We – Tauh
They – Ideh
He/she – Ieh
Only after learning and practicing the Kelabit language hard, I found this…
I should have found this book earlier though…
I will wrap up this post with some Bahasa Kelabit fun facts:

  • Did you know that the apostrophe sign is pronounced as ‘k’ if is it written at the end of a Kelabit word?
  • Bahasa Kelabit does borrow some words from Bahasa Malaysia.
  • There is no ‘he’ or ‘she’ in Bahasa Kelabit and both are referred to as ‘ieh’.

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