A language of Indonesia

Alternate Names
Kai, Keiese, Saumlaki, Veveu Evav

85,000 (2000 E. Travis). 4,500 monolinguals.


Maluku province: about 207 villages on 10 islands southeast; Besar, Kecil, and surrounding islands, Kei island group, and Kur islands northwest of Kei group.

Language Status

6a (Vigorous).


Kei Kecil, Kei Besar, Tayando, Tanimbar Kei (Atnebar), Ta’am. Kei Kecil is the prestigious urban dialect. Kei Besar speakers usually also know Kei Kecil, but not vice versa. Kei Besar is reportedly more similar to Fordata [frd] than other Kei dialects. Tanimbar Kei is spoken in only one village. Lexical similarity: 60% with Fordata [frd].

Language Use

Fairly vigorous. All domains. Used by all. Positive attitudes. Also use Banda [bnd], Indonesian [ind]. Used as L2 by Banda [bnd], Kur [kuv].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L1: 100 can read, 10 can write. Literacy rate in L2: 50%–75%. 100 can read, 10 can write. Used informally in school for explanations. Dictionary. Grammar.


Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Muslim, Christian, traditional religion.

Page Views Left: