Native toIndonesia
RegionMisool, Raja Ampat islands
Native speakers
1,000–1,500 (2001)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3xmt
Approximate location where Matbat is spoken
Approximate location where Matbat is spoken
Coordinates: 1°53′S 130°04′E / 1.88°S 130.07°E / -1.88; 130.07

Matbat is a heavily Papuan-influenced Austronesian language spoken in West Papua, Indonesia, on the island of Misool, Raja Ampat islands.[1] Its dialects are Magey and Tomolol.[2]: 17  Similar to the neighboring Ma'ya language, Matbat is one of a handful of Austronesian languages with true lexical tone rather than a pitch-accent system or complete lack of phonemic tonal contrasts as with most other Austronesian languages.[3]


Matbat is spoken in the following locations within Raja Ampat Regency:[4]


The phonology of the Matbat language is summarized below:[5]

Consonant sounds
Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive p b t d k g
Fricative f s h
Nasal m n ŋ
Lateral l
Glide j w

/j/ can be heard freely as [ʝ] or [ɟ] in word-initial position.[1]

Vowel sounds
Front Back
Close i u
Mid e o
ɛ ɔ
Open a


Matbat has five lexical tones: high falling ˥˩ 41, high ˦ 3, low rising ˩˨ 12, low level ˩ 1, and low falling ˨˩ 21, which in open syllables has a peaking allophone, ˩˨˩ 121. Most Matbat words are monosyllabic; additional syllables in polysyllabic words are often weak and toneless, though a few words do have two tonic syllables. Examples of some of the longer monomorphemic words are /kamow˩˨/ 'star', /wuj˦te/ 'sea shore', /sapu˥˩luj˩˨/ 'round', /bim˦bom˩˨˩pu/ 'butterfly'.


Tonogenesis in Matbat remains unclear. Some Matbat reflexes of Proto-Malayo-Polynesian (PMP) proto-forms are listed below.[3]: 658–659 


  1. ^ a b c Remijsen, A. C. L. (2002). Word-Prosodic Systems of Raja Ampat Languages. Leiden: Leiden University.
  2. ^ Kamholz, David (2014). Austronesians in Papua: Diversification and Change in South Halmahera–West New Guinea (Ph.D. thesis). University of California, Berkeley.
  3. ^ a b Blust, Robert (2013). The Austronesian Languages (Revised ed.). Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. hdl:1885/10191. ISBN 978-1-922185-07-5.
  4. ^ Ronsumbre, Adolof (2020). Ensiklopedia Suku Bangsa di Provinsi Papua Barat. Yogyakarta: Penerbit Kepel Press. ISBN 978-602-356-318-0.
  5. ^ Remijsen, Bert (2010). Nouns and Verbs in Magey Matbat. Michael C. Ewing and Marian Klamer (eds.), East Nusantara: typological and areal analyses: Australian National University. pp. 281–311.

Further reading