Waimoa language

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Region Northeast East Timor
Native speakers
33,000  (2010 & 2012 censuses)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Either:
wmh – Waimoa
krd – Kairui-Midiki
Distribution of Waimaha mother-tongue speakers in East Timor
Distribution of Mideki

Distribution of Kairui
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Waimoa or Waima'a is a spoken by about 3,000 people in northeast East Timor. Waimoa proper is reported to be mutually intelligible with neighboring Kairui and Midiki, with 5,000 speakers total.

The classification of Waimoa is unclear. Structurally, it is Malayo-Polynesian. However, its vocabulary is largely Papuan, similar to that of Makasae. Although generally classified as Austronesian languages or dialects that have been largely relexified under the influence of a language related to Makasae, it is possible that Waimoa, Kairui, and Midiki are instead Papuan languages related to Makasae which have been influenced by Austronesian.


Waimoa has aspirated consonants, ash is one of only two (possibly) Austronesian languages reported to have a set of ejective stops, the other being Yapese:

Bilabial Coronal Velar Glottal
Voiceless unaspirated p t k ʔ
Voiceless aspirated
Voiceless ejective
Voiced plain b d ɡ

However, these sounds have also been described as post-glottalized.

There is also vowel harmony.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Waimoa at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Kairui-Midiki at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  • Hajek, John; Bowden, John (June 2002). "A Phonological Oddity in the Austronesian Area: Ejectives in Waimoa". Oceanic Linguistics 41 (1): 222–224. doi:10.1353/ol.2002.0021.