A language of Indonesia

Alternate Names
Baubau, Buton, Butonese, Butung

65,000 in Indonesia (2004 D. Andersen). Population does not include those in other provinces.


Southeast Sulawesi province: Buton regency, Kota Bau-Bau city on Buton island southwest coast.

Language Maps
Language Status

6b (Threatened).


Lexical similarity: 61% with Cia-Cia [cia]; 60% with Masiri dialect of Cia-Cia and Lantoi dialect of Kaimbulawa [zka].


29 consonants and 5 vowels.

Language Use

Former court language of Baubau Sultanate, and surrounding communities; formerly used by nobility in the region. Wolio is declining in the urban center, but being maintained at the rural periphery. Some young people, all adults. Children in villages use Wolio, but city children primarily use Indonesian. Also use Indonesian [ind]. Used as L2 by Busoa [bup], Cia-Cia [cia], Liabuku [lix], Pancana [pnp], Tukang Besi South [bhq].

Language Development

Dictionary. Texts.


Arabic script, Naskh variant [Arab].

Other Comments

‘Buton’ usually used generically inside Southeast Sulawesi to refer to Wolio; outside Southeast Sulawesi it refers to people from Southeast Sulawesi, or is sometimes confused with Bajau people as sailors. Muslim.

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