A language of Indonesia


42,000 (Wurm and Hattori 1981). L2 users: 20,000.


Maluku Utara Province, Kota Ternate regency, Hiri and Ternate islands; Halmahera Selatan regency, Kayoa islands on north end of Lapan bay, islands between Bacan and Kasiruta islands; southernmost point, Halmahera island southeast of Gana bay, Damar and Yoronge islands off of cape Lihobo; some communities on western north coast.

Language Status

6b (Threatened).


None known. Reportedly similar to Tidore [tvo].

Language Use

Former trade language, now shifting to North Moluccan Malay [max]; weaker in core area, stronger in periphery (2012 J. Bowden). Also use Indonesian [ind]. Used as L2 by Sawai [szw].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 1%–5%. Literacy rate in L2: 25%–50%.
Other Comments


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