Adabe language

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Region East Timor
Native speakers
180 "Adabe" + unknown number "Atauru" (2010 census)[1]
Trans–New Guinea (TNG)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 adb
Glottolog adab1235  (spurious)[2]
Distribution of Adabe speakers in East Timor according to the 2010 census
Distribution of Atauru

Adabe is a Papuan language spoken by a couple hundred people in the interior of East Timor.

In the 2010 census, 181 reported their mother tongue as being "Adabe". Most lived in Manatuto District and Liquiçá District, with at most a few dozen in any one district.[3]

Confusion with Wetarese[edit]

The language, or perhaps a dialect of it, is known as Atauru. This has caused confusion with a dialect of the Wetarese language spoken on the island of Atauro north of Dili, which is Austronesian, not Papuan.[4] Geoffrey Hull, director of research for the Instituto Nacional de Linguística in East Timor, mentions only Wetarese being spoken on Ataúro Island, and describes the three dialects of Adabe listed in Ethnologue as being dialects of Wetarese.[5]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "spurious". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Direcção Nacional de Estatística: Ergebnisse der Volkszählung von 2010 der einzelnen Sucos (Tetum)
  4. ^ Ethnologue (2013), for example, shows Adabe being spoken on central Atauro Island, but not on mainland East Timor.
  5. ^ Geoffrey Hull: The Languages of East Timor. Some Basic Facts, Instituto Nacional de Linguística, Universidade Nacional de Timor Lorosa'e (PDF-Datei; 203 kB)