Native speakers
65,000 (2004)[1]
Buri Wolio (Arabic script)
Language codes
ISO 639-3wlo
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Wolio is an Austronesian language spoken in and around Baubau on Buton Island, Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. It belongs to the Wotu–Wolio branch of the Celebic subgroup.[2][3] Also known as Buton, it is a trade language and the former court language of the Sultan at Baubau. Today it is an official regional language; street signs are written in the Buri Wolio alphabet, based on the Arabic script.


The five vowels are /i e a o u/. The consonant system is characterized by the presence of prenasalized stops, which are treated as a single sound in Wolio.[4]

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Plosive voiceless plain p t c k ʔ
prenasalized ᵐp ⁿt ᶮc ᵑk
voiced plain b d ɟ g
prenasalized ᵐb ⁿd ᶮɟ ᵑg
implosive ɓ ɗ
Fricative voiceless f s h
voiced v
Trill r
Lateral l

/b, d, f/ are found in loans, mostly from Arabic.[5]

Stress is on the penultimate syllable, and only open syllables are allowed.[6]


Wolio personal pronouns have one independent form, and three bound forms.[7]

Personal pronouns
independent actor object possessive
1.sg. iaku ku- -aku -ngku
1.pl. incl. ingkita ta- -kita -ta
1.pl. excl. ingkami ta- -kami -mami
2.sg. ingkoo u- -ko -mu
2.pl. ingkomiu u- -komiu -miu
3. incia a- -a/-ia -na

Number is not distinguished in third person. Optionally, plural number can be expressed by means of the plural-marker manga: manga incia 'they'.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Wolio at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Donohue (2004), p. 33.
  3. ^ Mead (2003), p. 135.
  4. ^ Anceaux (1988), pp. 4–5.
  5. ^ Anceaux (1988), p. 6.
  6. ^ Anceaux (1988), p. 9.
  7. ^ Anceaux (1988), pp. 25, 27, 34, 36, 42.
  8. ^ Anceaux (1988), p. 36.


Further reading