Penan - Orientation

The Penan consist of one large ethnic group of nomadic forest people living in Borneo's interior; they may be distinguished from other "Punan" (a general term for Bornean forest dwellers) by language and other cultural features. Most live in Sarawak, though some live in Kalimantan and Brunei. Their range is approximately 2°45′ to 4°15′ N and 113°25′ to 115°50′ E. The Penan recognize two main groups among them, and these may be called the East Penan and the West Penan; the groups are culturally distinct and are geographically separated by the Baram River. The Penan hold no exclusive territory, but rather live alongside other groups. There are approximately seventy small Penan groups, and total population likely falls under 3,000 people. Overall migratory inclination has been in the direction of the China Sea. The Penan habitat consists of climax forest with streams and rivers. The Penan language belongs to the Kenyah Group, and includes two dialects (Eastern and Western, spoken by the two main groups respectively), dialects that are sometimes mutually intelligible. Much linguistic borrowing has taken place from settled populations nearby.

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