Salbrina Sharbawi and Zayani Zainal Abidin


This research focuses on the dynamics of language and identity, especially religious identity in Brunei Malay Muslims. It defines Muslim identity as one’s perception and expression of oneself as a Muslim, while religious attitudes and behaviours are grouped under the umbrella term ‘religiosity’. A questionnaire was distributed to a sample of Bruneian youth, including Brunei Malay Muslims UBD Undergraduates, to collect the data for this study, which focuses on the relationships between Malay, English, and Islam. According to the findings of this study, there is a link between one’s linguistic preference or dominant language and one’s religious identity and actions of religiosity. This study reported that Bruneian Malays are more likely to use English than Malay in their everyday spoken contacts and are less likely to identify as Muslims. As a result of the disassociation from Muslim identity, it exhibits less religious inclinations. This study suggested that in today’s globalised world, when English is present at every turn of our life, it may be useful to incorporate English, in addition to Malay, as a vehicle for the promotion and transmission of Islam. 

Keywords: Brunei, Malay, Muslim, Language, Identity, Religiosity



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