Name meaning

Based on the meaning of the name, it can be determined that Mompracem and Keraman are the same island. A linguistic analysis is carried out for this purpose: The word syllable "keram" (spoken: kram) is synonymous with the syllable "peram" (spoken: pram), see dictionary Kamus Dewan 1993: 596 and Kamus Indonesia Inggris 1990: 421. The verb formed from this means in Malay "to brood" and the noun ("pemperaman") means "breeding ground". Both names contain the root word that has something to do with the breeding of birds. So both names are based on the same root word, which is printed in bold below:

Verb prefix "Mom" + - "p[e]ra(ce?)m" (Name formation based on the verb)

"Keram" + Noun suffix "an". (Name formation based on the noun)

The “c” in Mompracem does not appear in all name variants in the map material, sometimes the second syllable is “pratem” or it is missing entirely, for example in Mon-piaum. The island name with the "c" could also go back to the verb "memperamkam", whereby the "c" would then have to be pronounced as "k". With Mompracem, the basic syllable is a little more difficult to recognize, but you can already see from the many name variants of the Portuguese that they had difficulties with the name. On their maps they either gave names from their own language area, mostly religiously oriented, for example "I (lha) de San Maria", which then always remained the same; or they tried to reproduce the native names, which - as with Mompracem - often appeared in variants because they were more difficult to master by the Europeans than the names from their own language.

With Keraman, the root of the word is easier to recognize because the Malay suffix “-an” forms a noun from a word. Keraman means nesting place. In this context, it is interesting to mention Guillemard (1886: 264), who was there: „The bird (Megapodius lowi) seems to be chiefly confined to the Kuraman Islands, at the south-west end of Labuan, although its nests are occasionally found on the main island.“

The "Kuraman Islands" here mean the three islands of Keraman, Small and Large Rusukan. The bird that Guillemard discovered there is the "Mindanao big foot fowl", which has unusual nesting behavior: It builds mounds several meters high and places its eggs in the middle. The eggs are hatched in the gigantic mound, see picture below. This very noticeable behavior may have inspired the island's name to the locals, for whom bird watching was very important. Perhaps that is why a neighboring island to the east of Keraman and south of Labuan is also called “Burong”, which translates as “bird”. The Portuguese wrote down the name of the island after hearsay, and it was only with the British cartography that the location of Mompracem returned to where it always was on the map after many errors and omissions: southwest of Labuan - as Keraman.

Nesting mounds of the Mindanao big foot fowl (Megapodius cumingii = Megapodius lowi):

Hügel des Großfußhuhns

Mindanao-big foot fowl (Megapodius cumingii)