A language of Indonesia

Alternate Names

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


Buton island, Sulawesi Tenggara Province, Kota Bau-Bau city; southwest coast towards Buntung strait; adjacent areas in Buton regency, northeast and east.

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].

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. 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

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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