Basa de Dunya draws from eight primary source languages, although words may be drawn from other languages as needed. These eight languages were chosen for their large number of speakers, geographic diversity, and lingua franca status:
- Arabic arabi
- English inglish
- Hindi–Urdu hindi i urdu
- Malay melayu
- Mandarin Chinese gwanhwa
- Russian ruski
- Spanish espanyól
- Swahili swahili
Words can either be borrowed from source languages or derived from existing Basa de Dunya roots.
When borrowing words (with the exception of geographic and ethnic terms, discussed in the next section), the stress shifts onto the penultimate syllable. For example, the Russian word ещё eshho is pronounced [jɪˈɕːɵ], with its stress on the final syllable. It was borrowed into Basa de Dunya as yesho, pronounced as /ˈjeʃo/, with the stress on the penultimate syllable.
Geographic and ethnic words
Words for geographic areas and ethnic groups keep the stress from their original language, marked with an acute accent on the stressed syllable. For example, the Spanish español /espaˈɲol/ was borrowed as espanyól /espʰanˈjol/, keeping the stress on the final syllable.
Geographic and ethnic words are also not required to conform to Basa de Dunya syllable structure as described in the section on phonotactics. For example, the English Wales /weɪ̯lz/ was borrowed as Weils /ʋejls/, even though this conflicts with the language’s phonotactics.
The word for a country and the word for its people are derived separately: Weils “Wales” and kimréig “Welsh” are separate roots. The base form of a geographic word is always a noun, and the base form of the term for an ethnic group is always an adjective.
The word for a country and the word for its people always refer to those two meanings. It would be improper to refer to the government of Wales as *kimréig gwan; gwan de Weils or Weilsi gwan would be more accurate.