Teiwa (Pitarau)

Teiwa is a Trans-New Guinea language spoken by about 4,000 (in 2010) people on Pantar Island, to the west of Alor Island in the Alor archipelago in eastern Indonesia. The classification of Teiwa as a Trans-New Guinea language is disputed by some linguists. Some linguists classify it as a member of the Timor-Alor-Pantar language family.

It is spoken mainly in the villages of Lebang, Boweli, Kalib, Nule, Kadir and Madar. In Lebang most people speak Teiwa, however there is a language-shift towards Indonesian and Alor-Maly, particularly amongst the younger generations. As a result, Teiwa is considered endangered.

The name Teiwa comes from the name of the main clan of Teiwa speakers, who refer to their language as Pitarau ("Our language"), especially to differentiate it from Indonesian.

Teiwa alphabet and pronunciation

Teiwa alphabet and pronunciation


C, j, and z are only used in loanwords and foreign names.

Download an alphabet chart for Teiwa (Excel)

Sample text (Cerita mauqubar)

Ga-ta'a tur qa'an nuk pas wur bogan bif g-oqai nuk mauqubar ga-fin-an gula' pin aria' ma toples g-om ma ga-rian.

Translation (Frog story)

Formerly, one night there was a moon sickle, a small child caught a frog, brought it home and kept in a jar.

Details of Teiwa pronunciation and sample text provided by Michael Peter Füstumum


Information about Teiwa

Trans-New Guinea languages

Amele, Awara, Barai, Blagar, Borong, Bunak, Dadibi, Daga, Huli, Kanasi, Ketengban, Makalero, Meriam Mir, Nobonob, Sawila, Tairoa, Teiwa, Wantoat

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 23.04.21


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