A language of Indonesia

Alternate Names
Boeroe, Buruese

45,000 in Indonesia (Grimes 2010).


Maluku Province, all of 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. All ages. 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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