Wednesday, November 25, 2009

On Fataluku Language

Fataluku language is spoken in Eastern district of East Timor, called Lautem. It has aproximetly 30.000 speakers and is a non-Austronesian language, probably the ancient people that spoken the proto-language had migrated from Papua New Guine, exactly from the Bomberaic peninsula region (Hull, 2004). Fataluku is one of the well studied languages of East Timor, the others are Tetun, Makasae and Waima'a dialect.

The first important paper on Fataluku was writen by Campagnolo (1973) and it is his PhD Thesis that describes the language. Another worthy mention work is a PhD Thesis also, but on Fataluku culture that was written by Gomes (1972), this one is available online at

Alfonso Nacher's manuscript were published divided in two parts in Estudos de Línguas e Culturas de Timor-Leste (2002;2004). These manuscripts consist in a multilingual dictionary, but mainly are Fataluku and Portuguese dictionary.

Recently, there are two websites with a lot of linguistic data and papers, one is Fataluku Community mainly with a lot of English-Fataluku and Fataluku-English wordlists, the another one is
Fataluku Language Project with a Fataluku Online Dictionary, some linguistic papers and usefull links

Stoel (2007) has an important paper analizying Fataluku tone which is available at
and there are others papers by Stoel about question intonation, prosody, and others, available at Fataluku Language Project.

Engelenhoven has important papers too analizying several grammatical aspects of Fataluku language also at Fataluku Language Project, one of them is about verb serialization. There is one important paper on Fataluku nominalizations (Engelenhoven, 2009) available at Noteworthy, it is the fact that  Prof. Engelenhoven continues his studies on Fataluku language.

The good thing is Fataluku language is relatively stable in its speech community (the bad thing is the number of speaker 30.000 put this language together of several others endangered languages of the world), and there are importants linguistics papers which analyzed and registred this language preventing the lost of it. Thus, we have garantee for a future for this language.

Campagnolo, Henri (1973). La Langue des Fataluku de Lórehe (Timor Portugais), PhD Thesis, Université René Descartes, Paris.

Engelenhoven, Aone van (2009). On Derivationl processes in Fataluku, a non-Austronesian language in East-Timor, in: Wetzels, L. (org.). The Linguistics of Endangered Languages: Contributions to Morphology and Morpho-Syntax. LOT Occasional Series, 13.

Fataluku Community. Fataluku and English wordlists, retrievable at

Fataluku Language Project. Fataluku Online Dictionary, retrievable at

Gomes, Francisco de Azevedo (1972). Os Fataluku, PhD Thesis at Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Política Ultramarina.

Hull, Geoffrey (2004). The Papuan Languages of Timor. Estudos de Línguas e Culturas de Timor-Leste 6: 23-99.

Nacher, Alfonso Maria, (2002). Léxico Fataluco-Português (primeira parte). Estudos de Línguas e Culturas de Timor-Leste 5: 135-196.
Nacher, Alfonso Maria, (2004). Léxico Fataluco-Português (segunda parte). Estudos de Línguas e Culturas de Timor-Leste 6: 119-177.

Stoel, Ruben (2007). The prosody of Fataluku. Paper presented at theWorkshop on the Languages of Papua, August 8-10 Universitas Negeri Papua, Manokwari.

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