Bekais, Wekais
Native toIndonesia, East Timor
Native speakers
2,000-5,575 (ca. 2006/2019)[1][2]
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3wlh
Distribution of Welaun (Bekais) in East Timor (West Timor not shown)

Welaun (also known as Bekais or Wekais) is an Austronesian language spoken on the border of East Timor and West Timor (a part of Indonesia). It is closely related to Tetun.[3]

Previous studies

Welaun was documented by Hull (2003)[4] and Edwards (2019). Edwards (2019) estimates a speaker population of 5,575.[2] A dictionary of Welaun has been written by da Silva (2012).[5]


13 consonants[2]
Labial Alveolar Velar Glottal
Nasal m n
Plosive voiceless t k ʔ
voiced b d
Fricative f s h
Approximant l w
Trill r

It has five vowels: /i e a o u/


  1. ^ Cunningham, Ingram, & Sumbuk, 2006. Language Diversity in the Pacific: Endangerment And Survival, p. 122
  2. ^ a b c Edwards, Owen (2019). Reintroducing Welaun. Oceanic Linguistics, Volume 58, Number 1, June 2019, pp. 31-58. doi:10.1353/ol.2019.0002 hdl:1887/79038
  3. ^ Hull, Geoffrey. 1998. "The basic lexical affinities of Timor's Austronesian languages: a preliminary investigation." Studies in Languages and Cultures of East Timor 1:97-202.
  4. ^ Hull, Geoffrey. 2003. Lia-Bekais nia Fatin iha Dalen-Lubun Tim´or. Studies in Languages and Cultures of East Timor 5:55–78. (In Tetun Dili.)
  5. ^ da Silva, Eng. Guilherme ‘Puru-Berliku’. 2012. Disionáriu Wekais-Tetun. Dili: Secretaria de Estado da Cultura.