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Languages of East Timor

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Democratic Republic of East Timor, Timor Timus, Timor L'este, Timor Lorosae. 1,019,252. National or official languages: Tetun, Portuguese. Literacy rate: below 30%. Information mainly from C. Grimes, T. Therik, B. D. Grimes, and M. Jacob 1997. The number of languages listed for East Timor is 20. Of those, 19 are living languages and 1 is extinct.

Living languages

Adabe

[adb] 1,000 (1981 Wurm and Hattori). Ethnic population: 1,000. Atauro Island, north of Dili on Timor Island. Alternate names: Ataura, Atauru, Atauro, Raklu-Un, Raklu Un.  Dialects: Munaseli Pandai. Reported to be different from Galoli dialects on Atauro. No relationship to Kolana.  Classification: Trans-New Guinea, South Bird's Head-Timor-Alor-Pantar, Timor-Alor-Pantar 
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Baikeno

[bkx] 20,000 (2003 UKAW). Many are monolingual. Population includes several thousand refugees in west Timor. Ethnic population: 20,000. Oekusi enclave separated from the rest of East Timor. Traditional kingship of Ambeno on north coast of west Timor. The Kais Metan dialect is spoken in the Pantai Makasar and Oesilu districts. Tai Boko is spoken in the Nitib District. The two dialects together take up most of the northern part of Ambeno. Uis Tasae is spoken in the Pasab District, taking up the southern third. Kais Metan has two subdialects: Kais Metan in the north, and Bob Meto in the south. Alternate names: Baikenu, Vaikenu, Vaikino, Biqueno, Ambeno, Ambenu, Uab Meto, Uab Pah Meto, Oecussi, Oe Cusi, Oekusi.  Dialects: Kais Metan (East Baikeno, Bob Meto), Tai Boko (West Baikeno), Uis Tasae (South Baikeno). Baikeno is linguistically a dialect of Uab Meto, but for political reasons has to be treated as a separate language for vernacular literature. It is intelligible with the Uab Meto dialects of Amfo'an, northern Mollo, and Insana. Significant differences with Amarasi block intelligibility. They see themselves as part of the wider Atoni cultural, linguistic, political, and historical network, in contrast to being Tetun, Helong, or Rote. They refer to themselves as 'atoni' (person), speaking 'uab meto' (the language of the dry). The Kais Metan dialect is the most populous and most influential, being around the town of Oekusi, the seat of the former king, and the commercial and government center.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Central Malayo-Polynesian, Timor, Nuclear Timor, West 
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Bunak

[bfn] 50,000 in East Timor (1977 Voegelin and Voegelin). Population total all countries: 100,000. Ethnic population: 50,000. Central interior Timor Island, south coast. Also spoken in Indonesia (Nusa Tenggara). Alternate names: Buna', Bunake, Bunaq.  Dialects: Not closely related to other languages.  Classification: Trans-New Guinea, South Bird's Head-Timor-Alor-Pantar, Timor-Alor-Pantar, Bunak 
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Fataluku

[ddg] 30,000 (1989). Ethnic population: 30,000. Eastern tip of Timor Island around Los Palos. Alternate names: Dagaga, Dagoda', Dagada.  Dialects: May be related to Oirata on nearby Kisar Island. Significant dialect variation. May turn out to be several languages.  Classification: Trans-New Guinea, South Bird's Head-Timor-Alor-Pantar, Timor-Alor-Pantar, Fataluku 
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Galoli

[gal] 50,000 (1981 Wurm and Hattori). Ethnic population: 50,000. North coast between Mambae and Makasae, regions of Laklo, Manatutu, Laleia, and We-Masin, Wetar Island. Alternate names: Galole.  Dialects: Na Nahek, Edi, Dadua, Galoli, Baba, Hahak. Talur on Wetar Island in Maluku may be inherently intelligible.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Central Malayo-Polynesian, Timor, Nuclear Timor, East 
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Habu

[hbu] 1,260 (2000 WCD). Northeast of Laclubar and the Idate language. Dialects: Many loanwords from Trans-New Guinea languages similar to Makasae, but with Austronesian structure. Related to Waima'a and Kairui. Classification needs further investigation.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Central Malayo-Polynesian, Timor, Nuclear Timor, Waima'a 
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Idaté

[idt] 5,000 (1981 Wurm and Hattori). Ethnic population: 5,000. Central East Timor, mountains of part of the Laclubar area, surrounded by the Mambae, Galoli, Kairui, and Tetun. Dialects: Closest to Lakalei and Galoli.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Central Malayo-Polynesian, Timor, Nuclear Timor, East 
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Kairui-Midiki

[krd] 2,000 (2001). Ethnic population: 2,000. Central small mountainous area surrounded by Makasai, Waima'a, Tetun, Galoli. Alternate names: Cairui, Midiki.  Dialects: Kairui, Midiki (Midik). Vocabulary is predominantly Trans-New Guinea, structure is Austronesian. Related to Waima'a and Habu. Classification needs further investigation. May be a co-dialect with Waima'a.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Central Malayo-Polynesian, Timor, Nuclear Timor, Waima'a 
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Kemak

[kem] 50,000 in East Timor (1981 Wurm and Hattori). Population total all countries: 100,000. Ethnic population: 50,000. North central Timor Island, border area between East Timor and West Timor, mostly on eastern side. Also spoken in Indonesia (Nusa Tenggara). Alternate names: Ema.  Dialects: Nogo (Nogo-Nogo), Kemak. Close to Tetun. Most closely related to Mambae and Tukudede. Also related to Uab Meto. Morris 1992 counts Nogo as a separate language from Kemak.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Central Malayo-Polynesian, Timor, Nuclear Timor, East 
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Lakalei

[lka] 5,000 (1981 Wurm and Hattori). Ethnic population: 5,000. Central Timor Island, north of Same, northeast of Ainaro. Dialects: Close to Idate, Tetun, Galoli.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Central Malayo-Polynesian, Timor, Nuclear Timor, East 
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Makasae

[mkz] 70,000 (1989). Ethnic population: 70,000. Timor Island, eastern end around Baucau and inland, west of Fataluku, from northern to southern coast in a dialect chain. Alternate names: Makassai, Macassai, Ma'asae, Makasai.  Dialects: Maklere, Makasai. Not closely related to other languages. Non-Austronesian.  Classification: Trans-New Guinea, South Bird's Head-Timor-Alor-Pantar, Timor-Alor-Pantar, Makasai-Alor-Pantar, Makasai 
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Maku'a

[lva] 50 (1981 Wurm and Hattori). Ethnic population: 50. Northeast tip of Timor Island, around Tutuala. Alternate names: Lovaea, Lovaia.  Classification: Trans-New Guinea, South Bird's Head-Timor-Alor-Pantar, Timor-Alor-Pantar, Maku'a 
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Mambae

[mgm] 80,000 in East Timor (1981 Wurm and Hattori). Ethnic population: 80,000. Mountains of central Timor, around Ermera, Aileu, and Ainaro. One of the dominant groups among Timorese communities in Australia. Also spoken in Australia. Alternate names: Mambai, Manbae.  Dialects: Damata, Lolei, Manua, Mambai.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Central Malayo-Polynesian, Timor, Nuclear Timor, East 
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Nauete

[nxa] 1,000 (1981 Wurm and Hattori). Ethnic population: 1,000. South coast, eastern tip of Timor Island, west of Tiomar. The main town is Uato Lari. Alternate names: Nauhete, Naueti, Naóti, Nauote, Nauoti.  Dialects: Naumik, Oso Moko. Not closely related to any other language. Many loanwords from Trans-New Guinea languages like Makasae.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Central Malayo-Polynesian, Timor, Nuclear Timor 
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Portuguese

[por]   Alternate names: Português.  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Ibero-Romance, West Iberian, Portuguese-Galician 
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Tetun

[tet] 50,000 in East Timor (2004). Western East Timor on the south coast from Suai to Viqueque. East of Atoni, west of Bunak (in Batagude) around Batibo, and in from the south coast around Viqueque and Soibada. Alternate names: Tetum, Tettum, Teto, Tetu, Tetung, Belu, Belo, Fehan, Tetun Belu.  Dialects: Eastern Tetun (Soibada, Natarbora, Lakluta, Tetun Loos, Tetun Los), Southern Tetun (Lia Fehan, Plain Tetun, Tasi Mane, Belu Selatan, South Belu, South Tetun), Northern Tetun (Lia Foho, Hill Tetun, Tasi Feto, Belu Utara, North Belu, Tetun Terik, Tetun Therik).  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Central Malayo-Polynesian, Timor, Nuclear Timor, East 
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Tetun Dili

[tdt] 50,000 (1995). First-language speakers concentrated in and around Dili on the north coast of East Timor. Second-language speakers scattered widely throughout the western part of East Timor. Alternate names: Tetun, Tetum, Tetum Prasa, Tetum Praça, Dili Tetum, Tetum Dili.  Dialects: There are important differences with Tetun in parts of the grammar, morphology, functors, and much of the lexicon. There is heavy influence of Portuguese and some Indonesian or Malay loans in Tetun Dili.  Classification: Creole, Tetun based 
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Tukudede

[tkd] 63,170 (2000 WCD). Timor Island, north coast, regions of Maubara and Liquisa from the banks of the Lois River to Dili. Alternate names: Tukude, Tokodede, Tokodé, Tocod.  Dialects: Keha (Keia), Tukudede.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Central Malayo-Polynesian, Timor, Nuclear Timor, East 
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Waima'a

[wmh] 3,000 (2001). Ethnic population: 3,000 or more. Northeast coast Timor Island, enclave within Makasae-speaking area. Alternate names: Uai Ma'a, Waimaha, Waimoa, Uaimo'a.  Dialects: Many Trans-New Guinea loanwords similar to Makasae. Related to Habu and Kairui. Classification needs further investigation. May be a co-dialect with Kairui-Midiki.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Central Malayo-Polynesian, Timor, Nuclear Timor, Waima'a 
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Extinct languages

Pidgin, Timor

[tvy] Extinct. Timor Island, around Bidau, Dili, and Lifan. Alternate names: Timor Creole Portuguese.  Dialects: Português de Bidau, Macaísta.  Classification: Creole, Portuguese based 
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