Tetun Dili


A language of East Timor

Alternate Names
Dili Tetum, Lia-Tetun, Tetum, Tetum Dili, Tetum Prasa, Tetum Praça, Tetun, Tetun Prasa
Tetun Dili

385,000 (2009).


L1 in Dili district: East Timor north coast; L2 scattered in western part of East Timor.

Language Maps
Language Status

1 (National). Statutory national language (2002, Constitution, Article 13).


None known. Heavy Portuguese [por] and Mambae [mgm] influence; some Indonesian [ind] or Malay influence.


Compared to Tetun [tet]: many more Portuguese [por] loanwords; does not inflect V-initial verb roots for person or number; uses more periphrastic constructions than morphological constructions (e.g., causatives); differences in possessive constructions and negatives.

Language Use

Increasing in use in urban areas. All domains. All ages. Also use Tetun [tet], some bilingually, but many others have significant difficulty understanding it in many domains.

Language Development
Dictionary. Grammar. Texts. Bible portions: 1996–2002.

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Cultural rituals and themes in Tetun [tet] are not as deeply rooted in Tetun Dili. Christian.

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