Malay, North Moluccan


A language of Indonesia

Alternate Names
Ternate Malay

700,000 (2001 SIL). L2 users: 300,000 (2001 R. Whisler). 100,000 monolinguals.


Maluku Utara Province, Halmahera Selatan regency; southern tip of Halmahera island, Gane bay area, nearby islands south and west: most of Damar and northwest Jaronga islands, large island in Patinti strait.

Language Status

3 (Wider communication). Became LWC through trade, also used in daily life, inter-ethnic contact.


None known. Different meaning of particles from Manado Malay [xmm]. Reportedly more similar to Manado Malay than to Ambonese Malay [abs]. A member of macrolanguage Malay [msa].

Language Use

A few communities use it as L1. Used orally between speakers of different languages. Most also use Indonesian [ind]. Used as L2 by Sawai [szw], Tabaru [tby], Tidore [tvo], Tobelo [tlb].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 1%–5%. Literacy rate in L2: 50%–75%. Bible portions: 2005–2012.

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Muslim, Christian.

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