Gayo language

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Basa Gayo
Native to Indonesia
Region Sumatra
Native speakers
100,000 (2000 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-2 gay
ISO 639-3 gay
Glottolog gayo1244[2]

Gayo is an Austronesian language spoken by some 100,000 people (2000) in the mountainous region of Aceh around Central Aceh, Bener Meriah and Gayo Lues regencies. It is classified as belonging to the Western Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian languages, but is not closely related to other languages. Ethnologue lists Deret, Lues, Lut, and Serbejadi-Lukup as dialects.

The word gayo comes from an ancient Aceh language adopted from Sanskrit which means 'mountain'.[citation needed] In general, people living in the mountains are called gayo people or mountain people. It is eventually used to address Gayonese that we know today. Gayo people or mountain people are Karo people migrants from northern Sumatra who settled in Aceh and formed a large community. Gayo is distinguished from other languages in Aceh. The art and culture of Gayo people and also significantly different compared with other Acehnese people.

In 1907, G.A.J. Hazeu wrote a first Gayo–Dutch dictionary for the colonial authorities of the Dutch East Indies.[3]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Gayo at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Gayo". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Gajosch-Nederlandsch Woordenboek, by G.A.J. Hazeu, Landsdrukkerij Batavia 1907. It is available online as a Google scan.