Bajau, Indonesian


A language of Indonesia

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

150,000 (Mead et al 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 et al 2007), and several thousand in Nusa Tenggara (Wurm and Hattori 1981, Verheijen 1986).


Sulawesi island: widespread throughout north central area; North Maluku province: on Bacan, Kayoa, Obi, and Sula islands.

Language Maps
Language Status

6b* (Threatened).


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

Language Use

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

Language Development



Unwritten [Qaax].

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.

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