A language of Indonesia

Alternate Names
Doibel, Kobro’or, Kobroor, Sersifar Tannin

5,680 (2011 SIL), increasing.


Maluku province: Kepulauan Aru regency, Aru islands; Kobror island central and east coast, 18 villages; southeast Wokam island, 1 village; 4 villages in east Barakai strait on Kobror and Koba islands; 2 villages south of Beding Warlai town; many in Dobo; some in Ambon.

Language Status

5 (Developing).


Northern Dobel (Doibel), Straits Dobel (Dobel), Southeast Dobel (Dobel). At least 3 dialects. Lexical similarity: 78%–86% with Koba [kpd].


SVO; prepositions; no adjectives; noun head initial; active verbs and stative verbs; complex reduplication system; 14 consonant phonemes and 5 vowel phonemes; CVC, CV, with CiCiVC, CiCiV patterns occurring only as stressed syllable of a phonological word, when that word is reduplicated; not tonal.

Language Use

Vigorous. Some Chinese merchants who speak Dobo Malay dialect of Ambonese Malay [abs] and older Hokkien [nan] learn Dobel. All domains. Used by all. Positive attitudes. Also use Indonesian [ind], Manombai [woo]. Also use Ambonese Malay [abs], specifically the Dobo Malay dialect. Nearly all school-age speakers of Dobel are bilingual in this variety. Used as L2 by Lorang [lrn], Manombai [woo].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L1: 60%. Literature. Bible portions: 1991–2009.


Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Christian, Muslim.

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