Bunak
Native toIndonesia, East Timor
Regioncentral Timor
EthnicityBunak
Native speakers
76,000 (2010)[1]
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3bfn
Glottologbuna1278
ELPBunak
Bunak.png
Distribution of Bunak in East Timor (West Timor not shown)

The Bunak language (also known as Bunaq, Buna', Bunake, pronounced [bunaʔ]) is the language of the Bunak people of the mountainous region of central Timor, split between the political boundary between West Timor, Indonesia, particularly in Lamaknen District and East Timor. It is one of the few on Timor which is not an Austronesian language, but rather a Papuan language of the Timor-Alor-Pantar language family. The language is surrounded by Malayo-Polynesian languages, like Uab Meto and Tetum.

Bunak distinguishes between animate and inanimate noun classes.[3]

Phonology

Consonant sounds
Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive/
Affricate
voiceless p t k ʔ
voiced b d ɡ
Fricative voiceless s h
voiced z
Nasal m n
Trill r
Lateral l
Approximant w
Vowel sounds
Front Central Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a

Pronouns

Pronouns seem to tie Bunak more closely to the Alor–Pantar languages, in a group Ross (2005) calls "West Timor", than with the Papuan East Timor languages. The independent pronouns and object prefixes, which appear to retain the proto-Trans–New Guinea dual suffix *-li, are as follows:

singular dual plural
1st person exclusive ne-to
n-
ne-li
n-
ne-i
n-
inclusive i-li
∅-
i
∅-
2nd person e-to
∅-
e-li
∅-
e-i
∅-
3rd person animate himo
g-
hala'i
g-
inanimate homo

Notes

  1. ^ Bunak at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ New Guinea World, West Bomberai
  3. ^ Holton, Gary; Klamer, Marian (2018). "The Papuan languages of East Nusantara and the Bird's Head". In Palmer, Bill (ed.). The Languages and Linguistics of the New Guinea Area: A Comprehensive Guide. The World of Linguistics. Vol. 4. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 569–640. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  4. ^ Schapper (2009).

References