Sawai

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A language of Indonesia

Alternate Names
Weda, Weda-Sawai, Were
Population

12,000 (2000 SIL), increasing. Few monolinguals.

Location

Maluku Utara Province, Halmahera Tengah and Halmahera Selatan regencies, Gane Timur and Weda districts;13 villages. Halmahera island, southeast peninsula, Weda bay, both coasts: 13 villages.

Language Status

6b (Threatened).

Dialects

Weda, Sawai, Kobe, Faya-Mafa, Messa-Dote. Lexical similarity: 64% with North Nuaulu [nni].

Language Use

Some domains, local commerce. Youth are taught Indonesian [ind] first; then learn to understand Sawai. Positive attitudes. Also use Buli [bzq], Gane [gzn], Indonesian [ind], Maba [mqa], North Moluccan Malay [max], Patani [ptn], Ternate [tft], Tidore [tvo], Tobelo [tlb].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 25%–50%. 5,000 can read it, 1,000 can write it. Bible portions: 1994–2005.
Writing

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Different from Saleman [sau]. Muslim, Christian.

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