Native toIndonesia
Native speakers
(15,000 cited 1991)[1]
West Papuan
Language codes
ISO 639-3tby

Tabaru is a North Halmahera language of Indonesia.



Tabaru has a simple five vowel system: a, e, i, o, u.[2]


Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Plosive voiceless p t c k
voiced b d ɟ ɡ
Fricative f s h
Semivowel j w
Lateral l
Trill r

Syllable structure and stress

On the surface level, Tabaru only allows syllables of the type (C)V. Words with an underlying final consonant add an echo vowel: ngówaka (/ngowak/) ′child′, ókere (/oker/) ′drink′, sárimi (/sarim/) ′paddle′, ódomo (/odom/) ′eat′, pálusu (/palus/) ′answer′. The echo vowel is dropped when a suffix is added: woísene (/woisen/) ′hear′, but woisenoka (/woisen/ + /oka/) ′heard′. Stress regularly falls on the penultimate syllable, but shifts to the antepenultimate when the word takes an echo vowel.[3]: 163 


  1. ^ Tabaru at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Fortgens, J. (1928). "Grammatikale Aanteekeningen van het Tabaroesch; Tabaroesche Volksverhalen en Raadsels" [Grammatical Notes of Tabaru; Tabaru Folktales and Riddles]. Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde van Nederlandsch-Indië (in Dutch). 84 (2/3): 300–544. JSTOR 20770253. doi:10.1163/22134379-90001497 doi:10.1163/22134379-90001498
  3. ^ Kotynski, Edward A. (1988). "Tabaru phonology and morphology". Work Papers of the Summer Institute of Linguistics, University of North Dakota. 32: 143–216. doi:10.31356/silwp.vol32.06.