Fataluku language

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RegionEastern East Timor
Native speakers
37,000 (2010 census)[1]
regional usage
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3ddg
Distribution of Fataluku in East Timor

Fataluku (also known as Dagaga, Dagoda', Dagada) is a Papuan language spoken by approximately 37,000 people of Fataluku ethnicity in the eastern areas of East Timor, especially around Lospalos. It is a member of the Timor-Alor-Pantar language family, which includes languages spoken both in East Timor and nearby regions of Indonesia.[2] Fataluku's closest relative is Oirata,[3] spoken on Kisar island, in the Moluccas of Indonesia.[4] Fataluku is given the status of a national language under the constitution. Speakers of Fataluku normally have a command of Tetum and/or Indonesian.[5]

It has a considerable amount of Austronesian loanwords, and it has borrowed elements of Sanskrit and Arabic vocabulary via Malay.[3]



Fataluku vowels
Front Central Back
Close i /i/ u /u/
Mid e /e/ o /o/
Open a /a/


Fataluku consonants
Bilabial Labiodental Coronal Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasals m /m/ n /n/
Plosive p /p/ t /t/ k /k/ ' /ʔ/
Affricates voiceless c /t͡s/² c /t͡ʃ/¹ ²
voiced j /d͡ʒ/
Fricatives voiceless f /f/ s /s/ h /h/
voiced v /β/² v /v/² z /z/
Flap v //² r /ɾ/
Lateral l /l/
Semivowel v /w/² y /j/
  • ¹ Spelled <tj> in Nácher orthography.
  • ² Pronunciation of <v> and <c> varies in dialects.

Words and phrases[edit]

In the examples below, the letter 'c' and the letter combination 'tx' are pronounced as the 'ch' in the English word 'church'.

Rau ana kapare? / e nicha rau rau / maice ana umpe? "how are you?"
Rau "good"
Kapare "not good"
Hó "yes"
Xaparau "thank you"
Tali even xaparau "thank you very much"
nitawane "you're welcome"
Favoruni "please"
itu nae tini "excuse me"
Ó lai'i "hello"
mua toto, ia toto,purupale " take care"
Kois ta niat ali fanuhene "see you later"

Pronoun						                Possessive pronoun 						
I   :		Aniri/Ana					My: Ahani			
You :		Eri (singular), Iri (plural)			Your:  Eheni(sing), Eheniere (plur) 
We  :		Iniri (excl), Afiri (inclusive) 		Our: Inihini (exc), Afihini: (incl) 
They : 		Tawari, Márafuri				Their: Their Tavarhini, Marafurhini
He/She :	Tavai, marí, mármocoi				His/Her: Tavahini, Marmokoihini
It :		Iví						Its: Ivihini, Tavahini

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fataluku at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Heston (2015), p. 3
  3. ^ a b Usher, Timothy. "Fataluku". newguineaworld. Archived from the original on 2020-03-05.
  4. ^ Heston (2015), p. 6
  5. ^ Heston (2015), p. 5


External links[edit]