Bahasa Ngaʼda
Native toIndonesia
Native speakers
(ca. 65,000 cited 1994–1995)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
nxg – Ngadʼa [sic]
nea – Eastern Ngadʼa [sic]

Ngadha (IPA: [ŋaᶑa], previously spelled Ngaʼda) is an Austronesian language, one of six languages spoken in the central stretch of the Indonesian island of Flores.[2] From west to east these languages are Ngadha, Nage, Keo, Ende, Lio, and Palu'e. These languages form the proposed Central Flores group of the Sumba–Flores languages, according to Blust (2009).[3]

Ngadha is one of the few languages with a retroflex implosive /ᶑ /.


The sound system of Ngadha is as follows.[4]


Ngadha vowels
Front Central Back
High i u
Mid e ə̆ o
Low a

The short vowel /ə̆/ is written ⟨e⟩ followed by a double consonant, since phonetically a consonant becomes geminate after /ə̆/. It is never stressed and does not form sequences with other vowels except where glottal stop has dropped (e.g. limaessa 'six', from lima 'five' and 'essa 'one').

Within vowel sequences, epenthetic [j] may appear after an unrounded vowel (e.g. in /eu/, /eo/) and [w] after a rounded vowel (e.g. in /oe/, /oi/). Double vowels are sequences. Vowels tend to be voiceless between voiceless consonants and pre-pausa after voiceless consonants.

Stress is on the penultimate syllable, unless that contains the vowel /ə̆/, in which case stress is on the final syllable.


Ngadha consonants
Labial Dental Alveolar Palato-
Retroflex Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
unaspirated b ɡ ʔ
implosive ɓ
Fricative voiced v z ɣ
voiceless f s x
Liquid lateral l
trill r

The implosives have been spelled ⟨ʼb ʼd⟩ and ⟨bh dh⟩. The velar fricatives are spelled ⟨h, gh⟩.

Intervocalically the implosives are preceded by a glottal stop. Initial /ɓ/ may be voiceless when the following consonant is also an implosive.

The trill is short, and may have only one or two contacts.

Glottal stop contrasts with zero in initial position, as in inu 'drink' vs 'inu 'tiny'. In rapid speech it tends to drop intervocalically.

Phonetically [#C̩CV] words are analyzed as having an initial schwa. In initial position the consonant is always voiced (otherwise the schwa remains). Examples are emma [mma] 'father', emmu [mmu] 'mosquito', enna [nna] 'sand', Ennga [ŋŋa] (name), ebba [bba] 'swadling sling', ebbu [bbu] 'grandparents', Ebbo [bbo] (name), erro [rro] 'sun'. Also in medial position with voiceless consonants, as in limaessa [limassa] 'six'.


  1. ^ Ngadʼa [sic] at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Eastern Ngadʼa [sic] at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ "Introduction". Rongga Documentation Project. Archived from the original on 2006-08-24. Retrieved 2006-12-19.
  3. ^ Blust, Robert (2008). "Is There a Bima-Sumba Subgroup?". Oceanic Linguistics. 47 (1): 45–113. doi:10.1353/ol.0.0006. JSTOR 20172340. S2CID 144311741.
  4. ^ Djawanai, Stephanus (1983). Ngadha Text Tradition: The Collective Mind of the Ngadha People, Flores. Pacific Linguistics Series D – No. 55. Canberra: Australian National University. hdl:1885/145062.