Timoric languages

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East Timor
Linguistic classification Austronesian

The Timoric languages are a group of Austronesian languages (belonging to the Central–Eastern subgroup) spoken on the islands of Timor, neighboring Wetar, and (depending on the classification) Southwest Maluku to the east.


Within the group, the languages with the most speakers are Uab Meto of West Timor, Indonesia and Tetum of East Timor, each with about half a million speakers, though in addition Tetum is an official language and a lingua franca among non-Tetum East Timorese.


Hull (1998) & van Engelenhoven (2009)

Geoffrey Hull (1998) proposes a Timoric group as follows:

Van Engelenhoven (2009) accepts Hull's classification, but further includes Makuva and the Luangic–Kisaric languages (Kisar, Romang, Luang, Wetan, Leti) in the Eastern branch of Timoric A. [1]

Taber (1993)

Languages of Timor Island Timor Sprache.jpg
Languages of Timor Island

In a lexicostatistical classification of the languages of Southwest Maluku, Taber (1993:396) posits a "Southwest Maluku" branch of the Timoric languages, that comprises all languages of the area, except for West Damar and the Babar languages.

Edwards (2018, 2019)

Timor languages according to Edwards (2020) Timor languages according to Edwards (2020).pdf
Timor languages according to Edwards (2020)
Map of the Meto language cluster Metos cluster according to Edwards (2020).pdf
Map of the Meto language cluster

Edwards (2018, 2019) divides the languages of Timor and Southwest Maluku into three branches: [3] [4]

The latter subgroup includes all other languages grouped by Hull as Timoric, as well all languages of Southwest Maluku (including the Babar languages). Within "Timor-Wetar-Babar", Edwards proposes a Rote-Meto branch, with languages spoken on Rote Island and in West Timor.


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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Helong language</span> Timoric language spoken in West Timor

Helong is a Central Malayo-Polynesian language of West Timor. Speakers are interspersed with those of Amarasi. This language has become endangered as a result of its native speakers marrying those who do not speak Helong, and as a result of coming in contact with the outside community. Helong speakers are found in four villages on the South-Western coast of West Timor, as well as on Semau Island, a small island just off the coast of West Timor. The mostly Christian, slightly patriarchal society of Semau do their best to send their children away to Bali to earn money to send home.

Aone van Engelenhoven is a Dutch linguist and anthropologist who teaches at Leiden University. He conducts research in the field of linguistics and anthropology, with a focus on smaller languages from Indonesia. He has carried out extensive research about languages and traditions of Maluku and East Timor.


  1. van Engelenhoven, Aone (2009). "The position of Makuva among the Austronesian languages in East Timor and Southwest Maluku". In Adelaar, K. Alexander; Pawley, Andrew (eds.). Austronesian historical linguistics and culture history: a festschrift for Robert Blust. Canberra: Australian National University. pp. 425–442.
  2. 1 2 Edwards O (2020). Metathesis and unmetathesis in Amarasi (pdf). Berlin: Language Science Press. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.3700413 . ISBN   978-3-96110-223-5.
  3. Edwards, Owen (2018). Top-down Historical Phonology of Rote-Meto. JSEALS11.1 (2018).
  4. Edwards, Owen (2019). Reintroducing Welaun. Oceanic Linguistics, Volume 58, Number 1, June 2019, pp. 31-58. https://doi.org/10.1353/ol.2019.0002