Batuley language

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Native toIndonesia
RegionAru Islands
Native speakers
3,600 (2011)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3bay

Batuley (Gwatle lir) is a language spoken on the Aru Islands of eastern Indonesia. It is close to Mariri; Hughes (1987) estimates that around 80% of lexical items are shared. The language's name comes from the Gwatle island (Batuley in Indonesian), which the Batuley consider their homeland (Daigle (2015)).

Geographical distribution[edit]

Batuley is spoken in eastern Indonesia across seven villages that Daigle (2015) lists in his thesis. Some of them are Kabalsiang on Aduar Island, Kumul in the identically-named island, and Gwaria (Waria) in the Island of Gwari.



Batuley has a simple five-vowel system with no vowel length distinction (Daigle 2015).

  • i
  • e
  • u
  • o
  • a

[ɪ] is an allophone of /i/ and /e/ (in different environments). [e] is an allophone of /a/ when it does not receive the primary stress. Furthermore, /e/ and /i/ may both be reduced to a schwa in fast speech in certain conditions.


Daigle (2015)

Labial Alveolar
Palatal Velar
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive voiceless t k
voiced b d ʤ ɡ
Fricative ɸ s
Rhotic r
Lateral l
Semivowel j w


Daigle (2015)

  • gwayor: water, fresh water
  • gwari: island
  • keiran: sister; branch
  • lef: big house
  • kai: wood, tree
  • ban: chest, breast
  • fol gwayer: breast milk (fol: breast, gwayer: its water)
  • kaom: scorpion
  • gwarfagfag: small fresh-water turtle
  • kudomsai: cloud
  • ror: dance (n)
  • fulan: month
  • sapato, safato: shoe (borrowing)
  • solar: diesel fuel (borrowing)
  • nol: zero (borrowing)
  • fikir: think (borrowing)
  • fuis: cat (borrowing)
  • guru: teacher (borrowing)
  • kartas: paper (borrowing)
  • kasar: crack, split (borrowing)
  • kofi: hat (borrowing)
  • tata: older sibling (borrowing)
  • tempo: year (borrowing)
  • buku: book (borrowing)


  1. ^ Batuley at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)

Further reading[edit]

  • Daigle, Benjamin T. (2015). A grammar sketch of Batuley: An Austronesian language of Aru, eastern Indonesia (PDF) (M.A. thesis). LOT (Leiden University). hdl:1887/43444. Retrieved 11 May 2019.