East Timor
Linguistic classificationAustronesian

The Timoric languages are a group of Austronesian languages (belonging to the Central–Eastern subgroup) spoken on the islands of Timor, neighboring Wetar, and (depending on the classification) Southwest Maluku to the east.

Within the group, the languages with the most speakers are Uab Meto of West Timor, Indonesia and Tetum of East Timor, each with about half a million speakers, though in addition Tetum is an official language and a lingua franca among non-Tetum East Timorese.


See also: Babar languages

Hull (1998) & van Engelenhoven (2009)

Geoffrey Hull (1998) proposes a Timoric group as follows:

Van Engelenhoven (2009) accepts Hull's classification, but further includes Makuva and the Luangic–Kisaric languages (Kisar, Romang, Luang, Wetan, Leti) in the Eastern branch of Timoric A.[1]

Taber (1993)

Languages of Timor Island

In a lexicostatistical classification of the languages of Southwest Maluku, Taber (1993:396) posits a "Southwest Maluku" branch of the Timoric languages, that comprises all languages of the area, except for West Damar and the Babar languages.

Edwards (2018, 2019)

Timor languages according to Edwards (2020)[2]
Map of the Meto language cluster[2]

Edwards (2018, 2019) divides the languages of Timor and Southwest Maluku into three branches:[3][4]

The latter subgroup includes all other languages grouped by Hull as Timoric, as well all languages of Southwest Maluku (including the Babar languages). Within "Timor-Wetar-Babar", Edwards proposes a Rote-Meto branch, with languages spoken on Rote Island and in West Timor.


  1. ^ van Engelenhoven, Aone (2009). "The position of Makuva among the Austronesian languages in East Timor and Southwest Maluku". In Adelaar, K. Alexander; Pawley, Andrew (eds.). Austronesian historical linguistics and culture history: a festschrift for Robert Blust. Canberra: Australian National University. pp. 425–442.
  2. ^ a b Edwards O (2020). Metathesis and unmetathesis in Amarasi (pdf). Berlin: Language Science Press. doi:10.5281/zenodo.3700413. ISBN 978-3-96110-223-5.
  3. ^ Edwards, Owen (2018). Top-down Historical Phonology of Rote-Meto. JSEALS 11.1 (2018).
  4. ^ Edwards, Owen (2019). Reintroducing Welaun. Oceanic Linguistics, Volume 58, Number 1, June 2019, pp. 31-58. https://doi.org/10.1353/ol.2019.0002