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)[2]
West Papuan
Language codes
ISO 639-3tvo
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 North Halmahera language of Indonesia. The language is centered on the island of Tidore, but it is also spoken in some areas of the neighbouring Halmahera. 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.[3][4]

It is closely related to Ternate, of which it is sometimes considered a dialect.[5] Both Ternate and Tidore are notable for being the only Papuan languages to have established literary traditions prior to first European contact.[6][7]



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

A flap consonant can be heard as alveolar or post-alveolar [ɾ̠].[8]


Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a


  1. ^ Tidore at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Tidore at Ethnologue (14th ed., 2000).
  3. ^ Lewis, M. Paul (2009). "Tidore - A language of Indonesia (Maluku)". Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition. SIL International.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "Ternate - Peta Bahasa" (in Indonesian).
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ 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.