The population of Bengkulu Province comes from three large ethnic groups consisting of the Rejang, Serawai, Lembak and Malay tribes. There are four regional languages ​​used by the people of Bengkulu, namely, Malay, Rejang, Pekal and Lembak.

Bengkulu Malays are an ethnic group in Bengkulu province and are the fourth most populous ethnic group in the province. In general, Bengkulu Malays live in the provincial capital of Bengkulu, the city of Bengkulu.

Malay language

Bengkulu Malay has several pronunciations in common with other Malays, such as Minang Malay, Palembang Malay, Jambi Malay, and Riau Malay, especially those with an “o” accent. The Malay language spoken in Bengkulu is almost similar to the Malay dialect of Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia.

The original Bengkulu people really pay attention to speech or greetings or calls to someone. Especially for people who are older, it is taboo to just call their name like calling their peers. Because in Bengkulu Province there are various languages, the following is a call or greeting to someone according to the language of Bengkulu City:

• Male parents are addressed: Father, Bak, or Abah
• Female parents are addressed: Mak, Mother
• The eldest brother is addressed: Dang
• Middle brother is addressed: Donga
• Little brother is called: Docik
• Oldest sister addressed: Inga
• Middle sister is addressed: Ciknga
• Little sister is called: Dodo, Ms Anjong, Ms Endek
• The youngest brother or sister is addressed: Youngest
• Uncle addressed: Wan • Aunt (father’s or mother’s brother) addressed: Cucik, Bucik
• Parents of father or mother who are male are addressed: Datuk
• Parents of the female father or mother are addressed: Grandmother
• Datuk’s or Grandmother’s parents are addressed: Poyang
• Men who are the same age as Wan are addressed: Pak Uncu
• Women who are the same age as Cucik, Bucik is called: Uncu
• Father’s or Mother’s older brothers are addressed: Pakdang
• The female father or mother is called: Ibudang
• Boys who are the same age as older brothers are addressed: Udo
• Women who are the same age as older sisters are addressed: Cuk Udo, Uning
• Uncle or Aunt’s children are addressed: Donga (for boys) or Ciknga (for girls)
• Wan’s child or Cucik’s child is addressed: Nakan
• Children of grandchildren are called: Piyut
• Piyut’s children are called: Great-grandson

There is an old petitih petata (original Bengkulu) written in an ancient Arabic script, Bengkulu language in 1553 AD, the name of the author is not mentioned or not found or damaged, lost. Because when this manuscript was found, it was shabby, weathered and some of it had been damaged by age. Only the year of writing is still visible. This manuscript was found in Banten Province in 1994, reads in the translation approximately as follows:

Endak Möran pa-ï Lopak,
To sleep,
Dihulu tempek musty (father),
Dimuar tempek parent,
That’s where the intention is.

(This ancient text appears to be a collection of sea children’s songs).

The words contained in it have a high philosophical meaning: If you want to find a better life, go to the city. If you want to rest, relax and calm your mind, come back together in your homeland, and donate some of the wealth you have earned in someone else’s country, in Bengkulu’s beloved mother country.

There are four Bengkulu words that we get from this petitih petata, namely the words Möran, pa-ï, Lopak, and tidü while other words such as the words biduk, upstream, muarë (o) are taken from the Malay language. Perhaps there are more Bengkulu words, which are not yet known.

Rejang language

Rejang Language Alphabet (

Rejang language, is the language spoken by the Rejang tribe in the areas of Lebong, Kepahiang, Curup and up to the edge of the Ulu Musi river on the border with South Sumatra. The Rejang tribe occupies Rejang Lebong district, Kepahiang district, and Lebong district. The dialect of the language spoken by Rejang speakers is much different from Malay and other regional languages ​​in Sumatra. The Rejang tribe is one of the 18 largest ethnic circles in Indonesia.

Rejang language has differences in speaking dialects of the language. The Rejang Kepahiang dialect is different from the Rejang Curup dialect in Rejang Lebong district, the North Bengkulu Rejang dialect (identical to the Rejang Curup dialect), and the Rejang Lebong dialect in Lebong district.

Dialect in Rejang language:

  1. Rejang Kepahiang dialect
  2. Rejang Curup Dialect
  3. Rejang Lebong dialect

Of the three Rejang dialect groupings, currently Rejang is divided into Rejang Kepahiang, Rejang Curup, and Rejang Lebong. However, even though the dialects of the three Rejang languages ​​are relatively different, every native speaker of the Rejang language can understand each other even though there are differences in vocabulary during communication.


  • Do = one
  • Duey = two
  • Telew = three
  • Pat = four
  • Lemo = five
  • Enum = six
  • Tojok = seven
  • Lapen = eight
  • Smilan = nine
  • Sepoloak = ten
  • Dueipoloak = twenty
  • Mopoloak = fifty
  • Sotos = one hundred
  • Serebay = a thousand

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Sensitive Language

The Pekal tribe lives in Ketahun District, North Bengkulu Regency and Muko-muko Regency which are spread over several sub-districts. The majority of the population are farmers and planters. Pekal people use their own language, namely pekal language.

The language of the Pekal tribe clearly shows a mixture of languages ​​between the Minangkabau language and the Rejang language. At the present time, the language mix is ​​not only limited to Minangkabau and Rejang, but also takes other languages ​​such as Batak, Javanese and Bugis. The difference in language variants is another characteristic of the mixed language of the Pekal ethnic group. The variance is related to the intensity of relations with the Minangkabau and Rejang ethnic groups. If the area is closer to the Rejang Culture area, the language variant that is seen from the dialect will lead to the Rejang language, if it is closer to the Minangkabau cultural area it will lead to the Minangkabau language.

The following is an example of Pekal’s vocabulary showing similarities and differences with several Para-Malay languages:

Mukomuko (Bengkulu)
Lembak language

The Lembak tribe is an ethnic group whose settlements are spread across the city of Bengkulu, North Bengkulu, Central Bengkulu district, Rejang Lebong district, and Kepahiang district. The Lembak tribe in Rejang Lebong district lives in the districts of Padang Ulak Tanding, Sindang Kelingi, and the city of Padang. In Kepahiang district, the Lembak tribe inhabits the village of Suro Lembak. The Lembak tribe also inhabits the Lubuklinggau City area and the Musi Rawas district in the province of South Sumatra.

The Lembak tribe is not much different from the Malay community in general, but in some respects there are differences. When viewed in terms of language, the Lembak tribe with Bengkulu (coastal) Malay there are differences in terms of the pronunciation of the words, Bengkulu Malay words end with the letter ‘o’ a lot while the Lembak tribe uses the letter ‘e’ a lot, besides that there is a vocabulary that different.

Examples of causal words from Kamusiana are as follows:

To know more about Lembak Language, click here.