Sinabu is one of the dialects of the Upper Kinabatangan language of the Sabah region of Malaysia. With a population of 15,000 (2015 L. Rose), Upper Kinabatangan is also refered to as Orang Sungai or Sungai Milian. The dialects are Sinabu' (Sinobu'), Kalabuan (Kolobuan), Makiang, Sinarupa, and Juamut. These groups live in south central Sabah in the Lahad Datu and Tongod districts, primarily the upper reaches of the Kinabatangan river. The ISO code for the groups is dmg. The linguistic classification of Sinabu is Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, North Borneo, Sabahan, Paitanic, Upper Kinabatangan.
The dialects have approximately 87% mutual intelligibility. Lexical similarity is over 90% among all dialects, 80% between Makiang and Sinabu’ dialects.
The dialects are highly valued and used in the home, with friends, in religion, and work, especially among adults and elderly persons. Besides using their own dialect, the Sinabu also use Sabah Malay. Most Sinabu also use Standard Malay; a few also use English.
The Orang Sungai Cultural Association (Sabah Association of Bangsa Sungai) has promoted the development of the languages in the area.
There is still much work to do, but we, the compilers, have decided to publish this work-in-progress, in order to document the work we have done so far. Your comments are welcome in order to refine this dictionary. Please leave your suggestions on the Contact Us page.