RegionEast Timor
Native speakers
17,000 (2010 census)[1]
  • Idaté
  • Isní
  • Lakalei
  • Lolein
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
idt – Idaté
lka – Lakalei
Distribution of Idaté mother-tongue speakers in East Timor
Distribution of Lakalai

Distribution of Isní

Distribution of Lolein

Distribution of Idalaka

Idalaka (Portuguese: Idalaca) is a Malayo-Polynesian dialect chain spoken in East Timor. The name is a portmanteau of Idaté and Lakalai.

Relation to other languages

The Idalaka dialects are closely related to Tetum and Habun, while they exhibit many similarities with Galoli. Idalaka also resembles the Kemak language in that there are archaic features such as personal prefixes in verbs, which are lost in Mambai and Tokodede.[citation needed]

Geographic distribution

The dialects are spoken in the Ramelau mountains with the exception of endangered Lolein, which is spoken in Dili. The 2015 census recorded 19,913 people in East Timor as native speakers of Idalaka dialects.[2]

Official status

Idalaka is one of 15 recognized national languages of East Timor.[3]


Idaté (Idate) is the vernacular in Laclubar (Manatuto Municipality) and the bordering area in adjacent Manufahi. It has a total of 14,178 native speakers.[2]

Lakalei is spoken in the area of Fahinehan (Manufahi). It has a total of 3,669 native speakers.[2]

Isní is spoken east of Turiscai (Manufahi), with a total of 1,855 native speakers.[2]

Lolein is spoken in Talitu (Aileu Municipality), Becora Leten and Hera (Dili Municipality). Lolein developed from the Isní of 19th century immigrants from Turiscai. In Dili municipality, 568 people speak Lolein, another 533 speakers live in the adjacent Alieu Municipality. A total of 1,155 people are native in the dialect across East Timor.[2]


The basic numbers in the Idalaka dialects[3]
Number Lakalei Isní Lolein Idaté
1 isa is isa isa
2 rua rua rua rua
3 telu tel telu telu
4 aat aat aat aat
5 lima lim lima lima
6 neen neen neen neen
7 hitu hitu hitu hitu
8 ualu ualu ualu ualu
9 sia sia sia sia
10 sakulu sakúl sakulu sanulu


  1. ^ Idaté at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Lakalei at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c d e Lopes, Silvino (2016). "Population Distribution by Administrative Area - Volume 2 (Language)" (XLS). Direcção-Geral de Estatística. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b Hull, Geoffrey (24 August 2004). "The Languages of East Timor: Some Basic facts". Instituto Nacional de Linguística. Archived from the original on 16 July 2006.


  • Alcantara, Maressa Xavier (2014). Descrição fonética e fonológica da língua idaté do Timor Leste [Phonetic description and phonology of the idaté language of East Timor] (Master's thesis) (in Portuguese). University of São Paulo. doi:10.11606/d.8.2014.tde-11052015-171431.