Native toIndonesia
RegionNorth Maluku, islands of Tidore, Maitara, Mare, northern half of Moti, and some areas of west coast of Halmahera
Native speakers
(26,000 cited 1981)[1]
20,000 L2 speakers (1981)[1]
West Papuan
Latin script, Arabic script (historically)[2][3]
Language codes
ISO 639-3tvo
Approximate location where Tidore is spoken
Approximate location where Tidore is spoken
Location in Southeast Asia
Coordinates: 0°1′N 127°44′E / 0.017°N 127.733°E / 0.017; 127.733

Tidore is a language of North Maluku, Indonesia, spoken by the Tidore people.[4] The language is centered on the island of Tidore, but it is also spoken in some areas of the neighbouring Halmahera.[4] A North Halmahera language, it is unlike most languages in Indonesia which belong to the Austronesian language family. Tidore and other North Halmahera languages are perhaps related to languages of the Bird's Head Peninsula, West Papua.[1][5]

It is closely related to Ternate,[1] of which it is sometimes considered a dialect.[6] Both Ternate and Tidore have been recorded in writing at least since the late 15th century,[3] being the only Papuan languages with indigenous literary traditions.[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
Lateral l
Tap ɾ
Approximant w j

A flap consonant can be heard as alveolar or post-alveolar [ɾ̠].[7]


Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a


  1. ^ a b c d Tidore at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) closed access
  2. ^ a b Warnk, Holger (2010). "The coming of Islam and Moluccan-Malay culture to New Guinea c.1500–1920". Indonesia and the Malay World. 38 (110): 109–134. doi:10.1080/13639811003665454. S2CID 162188648.
  3. ^ a b Taylor, Paul Michael (1988). "From mantra to mataráa: Opacity and transparency in the language of Tobelo magic and medicine (Halmahera Island, Indonesia)". Social Science & Medicine. 27 (5): 430. doi:10.1016/0277-9536(88)90365-6. PMID 3067356.
  4. ^ a b Voorhoeve, C.L. (1988), "The languages of the North Halmaheran stock", Papers in New Guinea linguistics. No. 26, Pacific Linguistics A-76, Canberra: Department of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University, pp. 181–209, doi:10.15144/PL-A76.181, ISBN 0-85883-370-0, OCLC 220535054
  5. ^ Senft, Gunter; Linguistics, Australian National University Pacific (2008). Serial verb constructions in Austronesian and Papuan languages. Pacific Linguistics, Research School Of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University.
  6. ^ "Bahasa Ternate". Peta Bahasa (in Indonesian). Badan Pengembangan dan Pembinaan Bahasa, Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan.
  7. ^ Pikkert, Joost J. J. and Cheryl M. (1995). A first look at Tidore phonology. Wyn D. Laidig (ed.), Descriptive studies in languages of Maluku, part II. pp. 43–70.