Bima language

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Nggahi Mbojo
Aksara Mbojo in Bima (Mbojo) script
Native toIndonesia
Native speakers
(500,000 cited 1989)[1]
  • Kolo
  • Sangar (Sanggar)
  • Toloweri
  • Bima
  • Mbojo
Latin, Lontara script (Mbojo variant)
Language codes
ISO 639-3bhp

The Bima language, or Bimanese (Bima: Nggahi Mbojo, Indonesian: Bahasa Bima), is an Austronesian language spoken on the eastern half of Sumbawa Island, Indonesia, which it shares with speakers of the Sumbawa language. Bima territory includes the Sanggar Peninsula, where the extinct Papuan language Tambora was once spoken. Bima is an exonym; the autochthonous name for the territory is Mbojo and the language is referred to as Nggahi Mbojo. There are over half a million Bima speakers. Neither the Bima nor the Sumbawa people have alphabets of their own for they use the alphabets of the Bugis and the Malay language indifferently.[2]


Long thought to be closely related to the languages of Sumba Island to the southeast, this assumption has been refuted by Blust (2008), which makes Bima a primary branch within the Central–Eastern Malayo-Polynesian subgroup.[3]


Bima is primarily spoken on the eastern half of Sumbawa Island in Indonesia. It also spoken in the Banta, Sangeang, and Komodo islands.[4]


According to Ethnologue, dialects of the language include Kolo, Sangar (Sanggar), Toloweri, Bima, and Mbojo.

Donggo, spoken in mountainous regions to the west of Bima Bay, such as in Doro Ntika of the Doro Oromboha area, is closely related to the main dialect of Bima. It is spoken by about 25,000 people who were formerly primarily Christians and animists; many have converted to Islam, mostly as a result of intermarriages.[5]



Consonant phonemes
Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
voiceless p t k ʔ
voiced b d ɡ
implosive ɓ ɗ
Fricative f s h
Lateral l
Trill r
Approximant w j


Vowel phonemes
Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a

Vowels /i e o u/ can have shortened allophones as ɛ ɔ ʊ].[6]


  1. ^ Bima at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Prichard, J. C. (1874). Researches into the Physical History of Mankind. Vol. 5: Containing Researches Into the History of the Oceanic and of the American Nations. London: Sherwood, Gilbert, and Piper. ASIN B0041T3N9G.
  3. ^ Blust, R. (2008). "Is There a Bima-Sumba Subgroup?". Oceanic Linguistics. 47 (1): 45–113. doi:10.1353/ol.0.0006. JSTOR 20172340. S2CID 144311741.
  4. ^ Ethnologue
  5. ^ Just, P. (2001). Dou Donggo Justice: Conflict and Morality in an Indonesian Society. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield.
  6. ^ Tama, I Wayan; Sukayana, I Nengah; Partami, Ni Luh; Z.M., Hamidsyukrie (1996). Fonologi Bahasa Bima. Pusat Pembinaan dan Pengembangan Bahasa, Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan, Jakarta.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)

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