A language of East Timor

Alternate Names
Ambeno, Ambenu, Atoni, Baikenu, Biqueno, “Dawan” (pej.), Laes Baikeno, Lais Meto, Molok Meto, Oe Cusi, Oecusse, Oecussi, Oekusi, Uab Meto, Uab Pah Meto, Vaikenu, Vaikino

72,000 (2011 Baikeno Language Council). Several thousand speakers in Dili and Indonesian west Timor. 15 clans of Nu’af (mountains); 3 clans of Amnesat (plains). 15 clans of Nu’af (mountains); 3 clans of Amnesat (plains). Many monolinguals.


Oecusse district: enclave separated from the rest of East Timor.

Language Maps
Language Status

6a (Vigorous).


Nu’af, Amnesat. Part of Uab Meto chain of closely related languages and dialects. Partial intelligibility of the Uab Meto [aoz] of Amfo’an, northern Mollo, and Insana. Significant differences with Amarasi [aaz] block intelligibility.

Language Use

Vigorous. All domains. All ages. Also use Indonesian [ind], Portuguese [por], Tetun Dili [tdt].

Language Development
Bible portions: 2004.

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Speakers see themselves as part of the wider Atoni cultural, linguistic, and historical network, in contrast to Tetun, Helong, or Rote. Traditional religion, Christian.

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