Native toIndonesia
Native speakers
100 (2007)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3tti

Tobati, or Yotafa, is an Austronesian language spoken in Jayapura Bay in Papua province, Indonesia. It was once thought to be a Papuan language.[1] Notably, Tobati displays a very rare object-subject-verb word order.[2]


Labial Labio-
Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar
Nasal m n ɲ N[a]
Stop voiceless t c k
voiced b d d͡ʒ
Fricative voiceless ɸ f s ʃ h[b]
voiced ɣ~ɰ
Approximant w j
Rhotic r
  1. ^ Before a vowel realized as [ŋg], otherwise nasalizes the preceding vowel.[2]
  2. ^ Displays free variation as [h~ɦ~x~ɣ].

/f/ also shows allophony as [p]. However, it does not behave as a stop (see below).

Tobati has a five-vowel system of /a e i o u/, realized as /a ɛ i ɔ ʊ/ in closed syllables.


Tobati permits 3 consonants in the onset, and at most a single consonant or a nasal-stop cluster in the coda.

Nasal-stop clusters only permit a nasal and a stop of the same PoA. For the /nd/ sequence, /n/ becomes dental []. Neither the bilabial, consisting of /b/ and the /f/ allophone [p], nor palatal nasal-stop clusters distinguish voice (i.e. they are [pm~bm] and [cɲ~d͡ʒɲ] respectively). The /Nk/ sequence voices to [ŋg].[2]


  1. ^ a b Tobati at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c Crowley, Terry; Lynch, John; Ross, Malcolm (2002). The Oceanic Languages. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 186-88