Tetun Dili


A language of East Timor

Alternate Names
Dili Tetum, Tetum, Tetum Dili, Tetum Praça, Tetum Prasa, Tetun

385,000 (2009).


L1 in Dili district: East Timor north coast; L2 scattered in western part of East Timor.

Language Maps
Language Status

1 (National). Statutory national language (2002, Constitution, Article 13).


None known. Heavy Portuguese [por] and Mambae [mgm] influence; some Indonesian [ind] or Malay influence.


Compared to Tetun [tet]: many more Portuguese [por] loanwords; does not inflect V-initial verb roots for person or number; uses more periphrastic constructions than morphological constructions (e.g., causatives); differences in possessive constructions and negatives.

Language Use

Increasing in use in urban areas. All domains. All ages. Also use Tetun [tet].

Language Development
Dictionary. Grammar. NT.

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Cultural rituals and themes in Tetun [tet] are not as deeply rooted in Tetun Dili. Christian.