Sikka language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from ISO 639:ski)
Native toIndonesia
Native speakers
(180,000 cited 1995)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3ski

The Sikka language or Sikkanese, also known as Sika,[2] is spoken by around 180,000 people of the Sika ethnic group on Flores island in East Nusa Tenggara province, Indonesia. It is a member of the Central Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian language family.

Sikka is notable for being one of the few languages which contain a non-allophonic labiodental flap. Like many other languages in eastern Indonesia, it shows evidence of having a Papuan (non-Austronesian) substratum, but in the case of Sika, this includes extreme morphological simplification and about 20% lexical replacement in basic vocabulary. It has been hypothesized that the Austronesian languages in that area could be descendants of a creole language, resulting from the intrusion of Austronesian languages into eastern Indonesia.[3]

Sika has at least three recognized dialects:

  • Sikka Natar, which is generally perceived in the region to be the most refined and most prestigious of the Sika speech varieties.
  • Sara Krowe, spoken in the central hills of Sika-speaking people.
  • Ata Tana 'Ai or Sara Tana 'Ai, used by both outsiders and insiders to refer to the people and language of the region; it is also used as a ritual language.[2]



Sika has the following consonant phonemes:[2]

Bilabial Dental Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive Voiceless p t k ʔ
Voiced b d g
Fricative Voiceless s h
Voiced β
Affricate d͡ʒ
Nasal m n ŋ
Lateral l
Trill r


Sika has the following vowel phonemes:[2]

Front Central Back
High i u
Mid e ə o
Low a


  1. ^ Sikka at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c d Lewis, Ε. D.; Grimes, Charles E. (1995). "Sika". In Tryon, Darrell T. (ed.). Comparative Austronesian Dictionary: An Introduction to Austronesian Studies. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 3-1108-8401-1.
  3. ^ Gil, David (2015). "The Mekong-Mamberamo linguistic area". In N. J. Enfield; Bernard Comrie (eds.). Languages of Mainland Southeast Asia: The State of the Art. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. p. 334. ISBN 978-1-5015-0168-5.