A language of Indonesia

Alternate Names
Boeroe, Buruese

45,000 (Grimes 2010).


Maluku province: Buru island except northeast corner, 70 villages; some on Ambon island in Jakarta.

Language Status

6a (Vigorous).


Masarete (South Buru), Wae Sama (Waesama), Central Buru (Rana, Wae Geren, Wae Kabo), Fogi (Li Emteban, Tomahu). Li Garan is a special taboo dialect spoken by the Rana people (3,000 to 5,000 users). Ethnic population Fogi dialect: 500, but no remaining speakers. Lexical similarity: 90% between Masarete and Wae Sama dialects, 88% between Masarete and Rana, 80% between Wae Sama and Rana, 68% between Lisela [lcl] and Masarete, 48% between Leliali dialect of Kayeli [kzl] and Masarete, 45% between Kayeli [kzl] and Masarete, 44% between Ambelau [amv] and Masarete, 27%–33% between Buru dialects and Sula [szn].


SVO; prepositions; genitives before nouns; predominantly head marking; CV, CVC, V, VC; nontonal.

Language Use

Vigorous in most areas. Fogi dialect speakers apparently shifted to Ambonese Malay [abs]. All domains. Used by all. Also use Ambonese Malay [abs], Indonesian [ind].

Language Development

Grammar. Bible portions: 1904–1998.


Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

There are word taboos and complex intermarriage patterns on the island. Exogamous. 10 clans. Christian, Muslim, traditional religion.

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