A language of East Timor

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

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 municipality: 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. Used by all. Also use Indonesian [ind], but for many only with difficulty. Also use Portuguese [por], but less than 1% can perform job-related functions in it. Also use Tetun Dili [tdt], but only those who have acquired it for study or work.

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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