|Region||Northeast East Timor|
|18,467 (2010 censuses)|
Distribution of Waimaha mother-tongue speakers in East Timor
Distribution of Mideki
Distribution of Kairui
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Waimoa or Waimaʼa is a spoken by about 18,467 (2010 census) people in northeast East Timor. Waimoa proper is reported to be mutually intelligible with neighboring Kairui and Midiki, with 5,000 speakers total.
The classification of Waimoa is unclear. Structurally, it is Malayo-Polynesian. However, its vocabulary is largely Papuan, similar to that of Makasae. Although generally classified as Austronesian languages or dialects that have been largely relexified under the influence of a language related to Makasae, it is possible that Waimoa, Kairui, and Midiki are instead Papuan languages related to Makasae which have been influenced by Austronesian.
Similarly to other Austronesian languages of the region, Waimoa has aspirated/voiceless and glottalized/ejective consonants, which are distributed like /hC/ and /ʔC/ consonant clusters (or perhaps /Ch/ and /Cʔ/) but are often pronounced as single segments.
|Voiceless ejective||pʼ ~ pˀ||tʼ ~ tˀ||kʼ ~ kˀ|
Similarly there are voiceless and glottalized /m n l r s w/.
There is also vowel harmony.