Bajau, Indonesian


A language of Indonesia

Alternate Names
Badjaw, Badjo, Bajao, Bajo, Bayo, Gaj, Indonesian Bajaw, Orang Laut, Sama, Taurije’ne’

150,000 (Mead, Lee, and Neveux 2007). 5,000 or more in North Maluku (Grimes 1982), 8,000 to 10,000 in South Sulawesi (Grimes and Grimes 1987), 7,000 in North Sulawesi and Gorontalo, 36,000 in Central Sulawesi, 40,000 in Southeast Sulawesi (Mead, Lee, and Neveux 2007), and several thousand in Nusa Tenggara (Wurm and Hattori 1981; Verheijen 1986).


Widespread throughout Indonesia. Central and South East Sulawesi provinces, islands of the East Sunda Sea. North Maluku Province on Bacan, Obi, Kayoa, and Sula islands. South Sulawesi Province, Selayar, Bone, and Sinjai regencies. Gorontalo Province, Popayato and Tilamuta subdistricts. North Sulawesi Province, Wori, Tumpaan, and Belang subdistricts.

Language Maps
Language Status

6b (Threatened).


Jampea, Jaya Bakti, Kajoa, Matalaang, Poso, Roti, Same’, Sulamu, Togian 1, Togian 2, Wallace.

Language Use

Vigorous in north Maluku and Southeast Sulawesi. Also use Indonesian [ind].

Other Comments

Known as Bayo and Taurije’ne’ in the Makasar [mak] language. Known as Bajo in Buginese [bug]. Schools in some villages. They live in houses on stilts over water. Other Bajau languages are in Sabah, Malaysia, and the southern Philippines. Muslim, traditional religion.