A Traveller's Dictionary in Tetun-English and English-Tetun from the Land of the Sleeping Crocodile East Timor

A Traveller's Dictionary in Tetun-English and English-Tetun from the Land of the Sleeping Crocodile East Timor

by Cliff Morris


The Author
Languages of East Timor
People of East Timor

Dictionary Tetun-English
Dictionary English-Tetun

First published in 1992 by Baba Dook Books 3 Hoadley Ave Frankston, Australia 3199
First Internet version distributed in November 2003. (http://au.geocities.com/lev_lafayette/morris.html)

ISBN 959 1922 2 0

Printed by Photo Offset Productions, Fitzroy 3065


All text following this introduction is a near-exact transcription of Cliff Morris' 1992 Traveller's Dictionary in Tetun-English and English-Tetun. There have been some very minor editing changes to some obvious errors which is inevitable when an individual is author, editor and responsible for publication. For example, in the original page 67 of the booklet, the word 'window' is denoted as being from Portuguese origin, when it is clear that what was meant was the word 'DINELA'. Less obviously to those unfamiliar with Tetun was the accidental dropping of the final 'k' in 'HAKARAK' on the first phrase on page 73.

As Mr. Morris will state, this is a book that primarily deals with what he calls the Tetun-Los dialect, which he differentiates from Tetun-Prasa, Tetun-Terik and Tetun-Belu. Contemporary linguists knowledgeable in the field of the languages of Timor are mainly of the opinion that Tetun-Terik and Tetun-Los are actually one and the same, whereas Tetun-Belu refers to the western dialect, split by the former Portuguese - Dutch (and now Timor Leste - Indonesia) border. As would be expected the Tetun-Belu dialect includes a larger number of Bahasa Indonesian loanwords, whereas Tetun-Prasa has a large number of words with Portuguese origin. Whilst visitors to East Timor with a European heritage will find the Tetun-Prasa version easier, especially if they have familiarity with any of the Romance languages, use of the alternative Tetun-Terik words is met with pleased recognition.

Language is the foundation of cultural identity, the mutual recognition of symbolic values and, often overlooked, the metaphorical connections between different symbolic values creating a narrative of meaning. It is not too much to suggest that when a language dies, a culture dies and often all that remains is a lingering memory often encapsulated in a handful of words and phrases and some behavioural mores. In this perspective, the newly re-established Democratic Republic of Timor Leste has seen fit to establish Tetun as a national language, although standardised spelling and grammar are still a matter of some debate. A visitor to East Timor will notice significant variation, of which what is provided in Mr. Morris' book is but one example.

It is very unfortunate that Cliff Morris', who died on October 5, 1998, never saw the re-establishment of an independent East Timor. Mr. Morris' interest in East Timor dates back to the second world war in 1942 when Australia placed commandos there (under protest from neutral Portugal) to establish links with potential local resistance and to distract Imperial Japan's moves towards Australia. In a sense the plan worked as the Japanese soon followed the Australian invasion, resulting in a massive loss of life to the Timorese as fighting broke out. Mr. Morris was part of the 2nd/4th Independent Company of Commandoes from September 1942 to January 1943. Following the Indonesian invasion in 1975, Mr. Morris recalled his debt and agitated for basic medical supplies and self-determination for the Timorese people for the rest of his life. In addition to this phrasebook, he also published a more complete dictionary and a book of Timorese mythic tales in Tetun and English.

This transcription has been undertaken for free distribution under the GNU Public License over computer mediated communications. As the world's newest nation is re-established it also comes at a time when the world is adopting a new means of communication, a technology which may prove to be as powerful as the invention of movable type print. It is important under such circumstances that others in the world are provided the opportunity to learn about the East Timorese cultures and to learn the language of this extraordinarily stoic, resiliant and caring people.

This work was conducted in September and October of 2003, the last weeks of working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Democratic Republic of East Timor, and the first weeks of my return to Australia. The text-editing packages GEdit and KWrite were used under the Red Hat and Mandrake distributions of the Linux operating system. At the time of publication it is the largest online Tetun dictionary.

I give my most sincere thanks to Celastina and Nona of Kuintaal Kiik, Santa Cruz for helping me understand the Tetun language with patience and humour and to Erica Hoehn for proofreading and other assistance in transcription. Thanks is also given to Liza Dezfouli for giving me a copy of the dictionary in the first instance. In addition to the transcription, I also provided the xhtml coding.

Lev Lafayette
Melbourne, Australia, October 2003


Cliff Morris went to East Timor as a twenty year old soldier during 1942 where he learned about the complexities of the Animist religion and to admire the Timorese people for their common human concern for all people. On visiting the island in 1973 accompanied by his son Peter, he learned how the friendship so freely given in 1942 had cost the people very dearly in the revenge carried out by the Japanese, after the departure of the Australian troops.

He resolved to commit his life to do something of everlastng good for the people. For ten years he struggled to completing a 10,000 word Tetun-English dictionary from his own fading memory, then with the help of Paulo Quintao da Costa who authenticated the word list, it was finally published by the Australian National University in 1984 as a memorial to all those who lost their lives in Timor in the war against the Japanese. In 1983 he travelled Australia
looking for people who were well versed in the story telling of the Animist religion and from this work produced a small book containing some of the village stories and poems to save them from being lost as they are probably no longer told in their country of origin.


Tetun is spoken over the whole of Timor in varying degrees of expertise and a number of regional dialects, but this dictionary is based on TETUN-LOS, because this is the dialect I learnt as a soldier in East Timor during the Second World War. This dictionary has been produced to assist travellers to East Timor, as a means of better communication with the localpopulation. While Indonesian is the language now officially spoken and taught within the areas, Tetun has remained as the language for communication among the local populace.

All grammar and syntax refers only to Tetun-Los which is spoken along the south coast between Betano in the west, Luka in the east, and Soibada in the north.

The word list contains approximately 1100 words as the least number necessary for conversation. I hope those visiting East Timor will find the contents useful in helping to make their visit more enjoyable among a people to whom I owe an unpayable debt for their completely unselfish devotion to my welfare in a most difficult time during the operations against the Japanese that eventually cost so many Timorese their lives after my return to Australia in 1943. Anyone wishing to obtain a more extensive word list can purchase a copy of my Tetun-English dictionary from Pacific Linguistics at the Australian National University, GPO Box 4, Canberra 2601, Australia. (Catalogue, Series C, No 83.)

Examples of written Tetun can obtained from the author in the stories - "Land of the Sleeping Crocodile" at 3 Hoadley Av, Frankston, Vic 3199.


Students of Timorese languages will soon learn that Timor is a land of many different languages and dialects with relatively few speakers of each. Consequently, the total area in which each language or dialect is spoken is very restricted, except Tetun-Dili, which has speakers over all of Timor. This dialect of Tetun is a simplified version introduced by the Portuguese to give a common commercial tongue among all the people. Therefore there is a wide variety
of expertise among these speakers, who will invariable have another language as their mother tongue or first language.

The number of distinct languages within East Timor will vary according to the way a language is designated. Listed are the main languages and dialects, with the town merely being the nearest to the area in which the language is spoken (A. Cappell, 1934):

Language Town
Bunak Bobonaro
Dagada Lautem
Galole Manututu
Galole Laclo
Galole Laleia

Idate Laklubar
Kemak Bobonaro
Makasae Laga
Makasae Ossu
Mambae Aileu
Mambae Ainaro
Midiki Baguia
Na'uete Uato Karabau
Nogo-Nogo Kailaku

Nogo-Nogo Atabae
Tukudede Likisa
Tukudede Maubara
Uaimo'a Baukau

Tetun all dialects


Bubu Susu
Fatu Berliu
Fatu Lulik

Fatu Mea
Foho Ren

Ue Keke

While Tetun is understood in all areas of Timor, there is a wide variation in the pronounciation and vocabulary, as the above languages have influenced Tetun in the areas of use. Similarly many words have been adopted from other languages. Even in areas where Tetun is regarded as the mother tongue there are a number of distinct dialects to add to
the student's confusion.

Over many millenia the Timorese have developed a strong skill in the art of story telling, which is demonstrated in poetry by the Na'i Lia's eloquent and expansive oratory.


This dictionary has endeavoured to follow the general usage wherever possible therefore TETUN rather than TETUM is regarded as being the correct name for the language because the Portuguese spell many words with 'M" where the phonetic sound is 'N', and this is what they have done with the word TETUM. Some people have erroneously adopted the 'M' spelling as the phonetic sound.

The wise old men (KATUAS) tell us that the people who lived on the plains (TETU, adjective), therefore the people who spoke the language were of the plains (TETUN, noun). There can be no argument as to the name of the language or its spelling as adjectives are changed to nouns by adding N. In any case no other Tetun word ends in M.

The biggest concentration of natural Tetun speakers occurs in the central south coast of East Timor, from Luka in the east to Alas in the west. While there are small regional differences within this area they are not sufficient to consider any of them a separate dialect. The dialect of this area has been called TETUN-LOS, and has been regarded as standard Tetun in this dictionary.

Broadly, Tetun can be divided into four main dialects:

TETUN-LOS centered around the town of Soidada and the Kingdom of Samoro and along the coast between Alas and Luka. No attempt has been made to include the more complex ritual language of poetry, which is used throughout all areas which Tetun is spoken.

TETUN-TERIK, spoken in the north-west of East Timor and the north-east of West Timor. This dialect is closely related to Tetun-Belu.

TETUN-BELU, spoken in the south-west of East Timor and the south-east of West Timor. Both this dialect and Tetun-Terok are often regarded as distinct languages from Tetun-Los because of different definitions for individual words, but the grammar and syntax are still synonymous.

TETUN-DILI (also known as TETUN-PRASA), the dialect taught to the Portuguese and other people needing a common language for commerce. This language is simpler in grammer than the other dialects and was regarded as the lingua franca in Portuguese times, but is now being challenged by Bahasa.


The island of Timor is very mountainous in relation to its size. The majestic mountains seem to rise without pattern that would be expected for ranges in other places. The river valleys cut into the mountains in most unlikely angles. They are always steep with fast running streams, especially when it rains. The total area of Timor is nearly 3,000 kilometres. It is one of the most easterly island in the Lesser Sunda archipelago, most of which belongs to Indonesia.
East Timor has an area of about 19,000 square kilometres. For almost 450 years the area has been known as Portuguese Timor, but in 1976 was annexed by Indonesia as Timor Timur (East Timor), it's 27th province. In 1974, the last official Portuguese census, the population was 680,000. In 1980 the population was 555,350 according to the census conducted by
the Indonesian authorities.

In Dili, the capital, it is always hot and there are only two seasons wet and dry.

The morals and social behaviour are not governed by our European standards, but it would be a mistake to regard the culture is in any way primitive. There is no doubt that much of its past culture has depredated because of events that have occurred since 1975, nevertheless there will be enough of the old culture left to open the eyes of all who see it. It is important to look below the surface and gain the most from your visit to the island. The KUTUAS (wise old
men) say, "Only those with their eyes open can see."

Much of my own Timorese cultural knowledge may be historic, and not appliciable to present day East Timor, though the fundamental beliefs of the Animists in Mother Earth must still exist in the minds of everyone in what is a very complicated culture. It is always hard to discover the deep intrinsic beliefs and mores of any society. I hope when you leave East Timor you will come away with some of the understanding and admiration I have for these very caring and brave people.

Timorese are of three different racial groups. But because of a long history of intertribal marriage there are no distinct physical features among people except in language. There are 16 languages and between 34 and 36 dialects. The people living along the south coast are Polynesian in language and custom, while those living on the north coast are Melanesian. In the mountains ther are people who can be described by their language as Aboriginals.

Timor has had sophisticated contact with the world for many centuries. The Belu (Tetun) empire extended its power over much of the island but after the Europeans arrived much of the old empire contracted to its present area of indigenous Tetun speakers. The Chinese were regular visitors long before the Portuguese arrived in Timor. The indigenous lunar calendar is similar to the Chinese, the Timor pony has Asian origins and existed in Timor before the Portuguese. The musical instruments are Asian in design and sound. It has been recorded in Chinese history that the Liurai at Besa Kama (the old Belu capital) paid a yearly tribute to China before the Portuguese Dominicans were on the scene in 1566. The attraction to Timor was because of its sandalwood, supposedly the best in the world. It was the sale of sandalwood that gave the Liurais their power and was the cause of their long past internecine wars. The liurais wanted land - land that grew sandalwood, and with the land came people to harvest it. Sandalwood gave them the power to expand their empires. This greed of the liurais caused their subjects to be involved in the danger of war. In the 16th and 17th centuries the Timorese had a reputation for being very warlike. The people of East Timor have a long long history of rebellion against their Portuguese colonial masters.

Timorese are by nature most polite with a great deal of outward humilty and seem willing to agree to anything rather than upset strangers in their land. Thus it is easy to receive a wrong answer to questions, especially leading questions, merely because most people will only be trying to show good manners. Timorese respect others for their social position and education, as well as wealth, but they do not discriminate on the ground of race. This simple fact
will put most Australians on an equal footing in their initial contact.

Timorese relatives cover a much wider circle than in Australia. Close kinship is regarded to exist among the uncles, aunts, and cousins of their in-laws' in-laws and a strong loyalty is given to all relatives. In past times the whole society revolved around incurring debts to ones relatives to build a bank of indebtedness for future help in all of the various tasks of living that could be accomplished more efficiently with a number of people, such as growing food,
harvesting, house building, feasts, and the Animist religious ceremonies of death, birth and marriage.

Timorse culture was oral, therefore it is only natural that the people had developed strong skills in story telling and in poetry which could be told by anyone. But the ultimate in the art were the LIA NA'IN (also NA'I LIA, literally meaning lord of words), who could without hesitation relate verse on any subject at great length straight out of their heads. There were a number of traditional patterns, but the most common was DADOLIN, where each verse was in two lines and each line was in two phrases. The first phrase of the second line repeated the meaning of the last phrase of the first verse but with different words. It was not uncommon for a skilled Lia Na'in to recite for hourse, all of it verse that had never been heard until then. The actual words of the poetry rarely spoke on any subject with direct meanings. The true meanings were intended for people versed in the culture; e.g. reference to a blossum not yet in full bloom = a virgin; nectar tasted by many = a girl of easy virtue; fruit eaten before it was ripe = drought; things that move in the night = spirits; dreaming of riches = greed; to cry alone = loneliness, or deserted, and so on it went. The real art was to repeat the important points as often as necessary to drive into the mind the message that the poet thought was needed. It is also important to keep in mind the Timorese philosophy that everything has a balancing opposite, such as hot and cold, wet and dry, good and bad, up and down, sky and earth, etc. which were also included in the poetry to complicate the telling.

In every village, the Katuas would tell stories to the children to instruct them in the lore and the code of behaviour of the clan so that on adulthood each person would know how to behave socially and know and accept their position in life. The society was very class conscious. Before the Portuguese the lowest class was LUTUN (the cattle keepers) then ATAN (slaves), EMA RAI (common people), DATO (nobility and royalty). Interspersed were MATAN DOOK (doctor), BUAN (sorcerer) MALULIK (keeper of sacred relics) and LIURAI (king). These were inherited upper class positions. From the Dato came ASU'UAIN (warriors). Marriage offered the only means of rising above the class into which one had been born.

A most important facet of Timorese life for Christians and non-Christians alike, was living with the KLAMAR (the souls of the dead) who had not gone heaven or were unable to leave this earth for any reason. It was a Timorese belief that a wandering soul was always on the lookout to invade (or return to) the body of living persons where it would cause untold havoc and eventual death unless the klamar was persuaded to leave its new home. These spirits would enter the body through a number of body orifices. Their favourite entry sites were the nose or eyes, never through the mouth or genital orifices. Not all spirits were evil. Some in fact were guardians to keep the evil ones away and in times of danger would appear to warn their ward so that a degree of stability continued to exist. Living in the Animist world was a continual struggle to keep life flowing with as much stability as possible. The MATAN DOOK (doctor) could invoke all sorts of potions (herbal medicine) and fetishes to nullify a HOROK (spell) from a klamar or one placed by the BUAN (sorcerer), who had very wide powers to create havoc among everyone. His power was much stronger than the Matan Dook. The position of Matan Dook was handed on from father to son after many years of training. It was usually inherited among the Dato therefore it was a social status within the clan. The position of Buan could be inherited by any likely candidate with the proper aptitude after a long period of training and be either male or female, but usually male. A Buan had a religious standing in the community, which would give him a fearful respect. Even an important Liurai would treat a Buan with humble respect and fear. Within the orbit of the Animist religion all living things have souls, both plant and animal. Evil spirits came from creatures, especially those who spent the first half of their lives in water, and also came from the souls of people who lived a bad life.

Another being with supernatural power was the witch, in some areas known as KUKULASAK. In natural form she was an old woman, but had the power to transform herself into any other living thing. She could appear as a beautiful young woman to entice innocent people into sorts of danger with her beguiling ways. Every village had stories about witches appearing before some relative and by all sorts of trickery taking them away, never to be seen again. Some parents even told their children that witches like to eat people, especially plump, naughty children.

In the Animist religion it is believed that we are on this earth for a short period and after death on this earth we would return to the womb of the earth through the many vaginas that exist in the FATU KUAK (caves) in Timor. Therefore we must live a good life to return to our origins at the completion of the ephemeral stay on earth. All tribal debts have been repaid by our surviving relatives in order to free the soul and enable a feast to be held to celebrate the spirit's passage to heaven. Every community has a legend about the first men appearing out of the earth to form their clan. In previous times Timor was a cashless society and the wealth of an individual was assessed by the amount of livestock that they owned, such as horses, buffaloes, goats, pigs as well as gold and silver. These animals were not used in everyday life as food. There was a much more important use for them; in life they showed how successful a person had been and in death many of these animals were slaughtered for the feast which sent the soul to heaven. Animals were NEVER sacrificed as a tribute to any religious ceremony, but as food for the invited guests. Feasts were held to celebrate births where the correct proportion of direct and in-law relatives were invited. As marriages were often arranged as political alliances rather than for any other reason, the guests at a birth feast could easily be from another kingdom far away. These feasts or gatherings served to reinforce obligations that each alliance placed on each clan and helped keep peace within the whole community.

At planting time special ceremonies were conducted to placate the Klamar and ensured that the guardian Klamar knew the seeds were being planted in the womb of Mother Earth. The guardian Klamar could then ensure the seeds were fruitful. If the planting was carried out at the first rain but no following rain occurred then it was said that an evil spirit had killed the soul of the plant and not that the farmer had made a mistake by planting too early. At harvest time it was always a race to reap the crops before the rats consumes the year's crop. Rats, of course, were the work of an evil spirit. The same was said if the plants became diseased, or failed for any other reason, like too much rain.

The UMA (house) in Timor was much more than a place for the family to live. In the Animist religion there was no church, and the family home served this purpose much better. The traditional house had two poles as its base foundation. These two poles represeneted the male and female (all things in Timor came in pairs), and divided the house into two areas, where the woman of the house ruled supreme. Because the house had this religious significance. The woman of the house acted as the religious head of the family. On the female pole hung the woven bags containing the dried placentas of the occupants of the house. These articles should follow each person throughout their life, otherwise they had no protection against any Klamar. Also each person would not be able to return to Mother Earth as whole person on their death.

Disasters were accepted with stoic fatalism as the work of an evil spirit. Even accidents were ascribed to fetishes or invasions of spirits. Therefore the Timorese were able to accept the most horrific ill-fortune and still be able to carry on as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Because of the importance of combating the effects of the Klamar, some people would change their name after a serious misfortune so that the Klamar would not know them any more, and nothing would persuade them to admit to being previously known by their prior name, which was very disconcerting for the Portuguese conducting the bi-annual census. During the Second World War the Australian soldiers in East Timor employed many adolescent boys to help them with their baggage. One day while being chased by the Japanese, we had to cross a flooded stream. The usual method was to enter the stream with the upstream leg bent and down stream leg stiff and by a forward hopping action progress across to the other bank. During the course of crossing two of the Timorese boys were hit by rocks along along the bed of the stream and were swept down stream and drowned. The Australian soldiers were most upset with such a tragic personal loss but the Timorese said, "We are here to protect the Australians. All the Australians are safe, and that is all that is important." It would have been very bad manners to have shown grief to us. There are many other instances that could be related about the care for other people the Timorese showed us during our war in Timor.

Marriage and the arrangement of marriage consumed a great deal of time and ceremony. The usual and preferred method was by HAFOLI (lit:to fix the value) where a go-between (a katuas close to the family) would spend up to a year and even longer fixing the terms of the alliance. The proper gifts were passed to each side as the terms were gradually sorted out. At each stage the Lia Na'in would recite long lengths of poetry DADOLIN (two line verse) emphasising the merits of the alliance to the opposite side. A Lia Na'in from the other side would do the same, as the guests ate food supplied by the groom's relatives. When the terms had been agreed upon, and the initial gifts exchanged, (buffalo, and horses from the groom's family as well as gold and silver, and from the bride's family goats, pigs and cloth) the two young people often lived together on a nightly basis in the house of the girl's parents. Consummation was the only recognized rite of marriage. Now that so many Timorese are Christian, the priests could be insisting on a marriage ceremony similar to that conducted in our churches.

In times past marriage was not entered upon lightly. Firstly the prospective groom would approach his parents for permission to marry. Then the elders would decide if the young man was a suitable candidate to become a full member of the clan, as only married men and women were allowed to enter fully into all the religious rites and secrets. If for any reason the elders decided that the young man was not suitable to become a full clan member (as a practising priest of Mother Earth), then no arrangement could be made for his marriage. Of course this does not happen any more. Since 1975 many young men take the woman of their choice as their wife without any ceremony. This is called HAFE. Unlike in our Western culture, marriage between first cousins is not frowned upon, provided the nupital couple were the children of a brother or sister. Two children of sisters or brothers was strictly forbidden.

Slavery was an accepted way of life even in 1975. It was a very benign practice, but it still existed, even though it had been outlawed by the Portuguese. It was not uncommon for young boys and some girls to be sold into slavery. I personally know some young Timorese refugees who were slaves in Timor. Another way of describing the practice would be to say the ATAN (slave) was an upaid servant, also called KREADO (nurse for a baby), who was not free to leave the family. Their masters were responsible for their welfare and usually the slave was treated humanely. It was not unusual for a slave to become part of the family to such a degree that on adulthood he married a daughter of the family.

The Timorese have a special reverence for death. It was the time when the virtues of the deceased were told to the world at great length by the mourners. The demise of an important clan member meant much displacement of power, with new positions to be filled. Sometimes it was found that the only solution was to offer the position to someone in a neighbouring clan. In extreme situations the clan was split into two. It has been said to me by a KATUAS (wise old man) that by nature man is a spiller of blood, and is incapable of controlling his actions which are against the needs of Mother Earth, where harmony will ensure a fruitful life for humans. Therefore it is better for him to satisfy his instinct outside his family, so that he can live in harmony at home with his wife and children. After about a year, all the relatives and those who had a debt owing to them, or those who had an alliance with the deceased were invited to a KORE METAN (celebration of departure) back to where the soul of the deceased had emerged form the womb of Mother Earth. Many final debts were repaid in the work involved in the preparation of the feast. The guests gorged themselves with meat and TUAKA (palm wine) for anything up to a week of dancing and telling stories of the virtues of the departed.

I do not purport that what has been written is anything but a thumbnail sketch of the psyche of East Timorese culture, because it is difficult to obtain more than a glimpse into the religious life of the Timorese Animist world. I am happy if it helps the traveller have a greater understanding and appreciation of life in East Timor.


Tetun is a soft language, because of the lack of harsh gutteral sounds. The stress is usually on the penultimate syllable with a few exceptions.

Capital letters denote stress:

HA-re, to see
ha-FI-la, to return
ha-LU-ha, to forget
ba-BU-rit, a syringe
hak-FI-lak, to alter

nak-FU-nan, to become mouldy
a-RU-ma, some (mostly said as RU-ma)
KU-ak, hole
IS-in, body
BA-dain, tradesman
KA-rau, buffalo
RAI, earth

Sometimes the letter U may act as a consonant similar to English W. In some areas this sound is changed to B as more natural sound for that district:

la-UA-rik, youth (la-BA-rik)
UA-ni, honeybee (BA-ni)
UE, water (BE)

A small number of Tetun words are stressed irregularly on the last syllable.

ha-RE, rice

ta-FE, to spite
ha-HU, to begin
ko-A, to crow

Tetun also has double vowels, which are an extension of a single sound, e.g.

BOOT, big
AAT, bad, evil

ba-DAAK, rice powder

The glottoral stop is common and important practice of speech in Tetun between vowels, as a break or hiatus, and is indicated by '. It can be described as a click at the back of the throat:

KO-'-a, to cut
NA-'-uk, to steal
BE-'-u, to thresh grain

Hyphenated words are pronounced as two words, but the stress is on the last penultimate syllable:

aman-IKun, uncle
bere-LOik, spider
bai-RUa, day after tomorrow

Consonants are sometimes prefixed to root words, mostly as expletives, to become part of the first syllable, but to be pronounced in such a way to be barely distinguishable:

KBA-but, troublemaker
KBE-lak, disc
KDO-ran, water vessel

Some words are pronounced differently in two or more districts:

BUU, KBUU, sack

A number of words from other languages are included because they are in such common usage they can be regarded as part of the alphabet. The are spelt phonetically:

AMIGU, friend (from Portuguese AMIGO)
BARLAKE, marriage (from Indonesian BERLAKI)

Diphthongs (double vowel sounds):

AI like i in ice, AIN, foot

EI like e in below, TEIK, to stamp the feet
OI like oy in boy, HAKOI, to bury
UI like we, TAFUI, to spit
AU like ou in pound, BAUR, rainbow
EU like ew in sew, KAKEU, a tree
OU like ow in bow, BOU to heap

Some letters of the English language are not natural to the Tetun language, but may appear in loan words (i.e. introduced words.) Some words are changed to a more natural sound and some letters are interchangebale from district to district, especially where Tetun is spoken as a second language.

letter, changed to, examples

foreign letters


C or Cceil;, S, AC¸U ASU

Some English combinations like "CH", "TH" are unpronounceable by Timorese, "thing" being siad as "ting".

The approximate sounds of the alphabet are:

A, like "a" in father

B, as in English

D, as in English
E, like "e" in set or "a" in fake

F, like "f" in father
H, like "h" in harm
I, like "ea" in tea
K, like "k" in kite
L, like "l" in like
M, as in English
N, as in English
O, like "o" in hot or not.
P, as in English

R, like scottish rr with a roll of the tongue
S, like "s" in some
T, as in English
U, like "w" in wake as first letter other letters like "oo" in boot

Note: The letters C, G, J, Q, V, W, X, Y, Z are not normally used in Tetum (see above notes on loan words). However loan words still retain their original form, so it is possible to find all letters of the English alphabet.

Vowels and consonants at the end of words.

E & O are at the end of words are pronounced slightly open.

HARE, to see
SELE, to destroy
KOKO, to try
LEBO, to carry

Final AE, OE, EO are pronounced slightly open and are articulated as two syllables.

HAE, grass
MALAE, foreigner
SASOE, palm leaf cape
LALEO, hut
KULEO, seasickness
KAKAE, cockatoo

In final -EK, -ET, -OK, -OT the consonant is weakly pronounced.


This section is a summary of the morphology and syntax of well-spoken Tetun-Los, though it should be noted that the
number of of Tetun dialects, and the intrusion of the neighbouring languages, has not made the task of what constitutes
good Tetun an easy one.


Nouns are both singular and plural, but can be made either by the insertion of "IDA" for singular, "SIRA" for plural
after the noun.

KUDA IDA, a horse; UMA IDA; a house, EMA IDA, a person; ASU SIRA, the dogs; EMA SIRA, the person, or the people.

Some words express emphatic degees of the meaning by partial repition, i.e. by omitting the last consonant in the
first part: TEBES, true; TETEBES, very true; MANAS, hot; MANAMANAS extremely hot.

Note: this applies to all parts of speech.

Words which require emphasis repeat the first syllable of the word as a prefix: MOURIS, MOUMOUSIS, alive. Also refer to
HAE and MAKA in dictionary text.

Gender of Nouns

Nouns have no formal gender, but masculinity and feminity may be expressed by adding the following words to the noun:

Tetun Dili other dialects
male female male female
human mane feto mane feto
animal aman inan aman inan
animal amak inak
plant mane feto manen feton

OAN MANE, boy; KUDA INAN, mare; AI DILA MANEN, male pawpaw (one that does not bear fruit).

Expression of Possession

Possession is shown in nouns by placing NIA between the possessor and the person or thing possessed: KARAU NIA DIKUR
(buffalo's horn), or horn of (the) buffalo (literally: 'buffalo-his-horn'); KUDA NIA AIN, horse's leg, or leg of horse
(literally: 'horse-his-leg'). In conversation NIA is often dropped; e.g. KARAU DIKUR etc.

Definite and Indefinite Articles

Tetun has no special words for "a", "an", or "the" but "IDA" meaning "one" can perfrom these functions, e.g. FAHI IDA
a/the pig. The plural article is formed by adding "SIRA", e.g. FAHI SIRA, the pigs.


Adjectives always follow the noun without exception. They may be formed from other words that end in a vowel by adding
the letter K. Nouns and other words ending in N may change this to Km but are often left as they are. Some adjectives
are formed by prefixing "HAK" but mostly "NAK", particularly those with a verbal sense.

Personal Pronouns

1st pers. sing., I me, HA'U
2nd pers. sing., you you (polite), O ITA
3rd pers. sing., he she her it, NIA

1st pers. pl., we us (exclusive) we us (inclusive), AMI ITA
2nd pers. pl., you, IMI EMI
3rd pers. pl., they them they (Tetum-Belu), SIRA SIA

Pronoun subjects and objects are not distinguished in Tetun. 'We' and 'us' inclusive includes those being spoken to
(i.e. 'we and you'), while 'we' and 'us' exclusive (i.e. 'we alone') do not include those spoken to.

We come to see you, because we are all friends.

Possessive Pronouns

The possessive pronouns are formed by placing the pronoun before the noun with NIA between them, e.g. HA'U NIA ASU, my
dog. NIA NIA 'his' is normally shortened to NINIA, e.g. NIA NIA ASU or NINIA ASU, 'his dog, her dog'. In conversation
NIA can be dropped when the known ends a vowel provided N or K is added to the end of the noun, e.g. HA'U ASUN, my dog.

HA'U NIAN, HA'UN, HA'UK, NIAN, NINIAN etc. are used as possessive pronouns where there is no noun at the end of a


Root verbs are in the present tense. Verbs may be changed by the addition of particles and/or participles to make them
active, reflexive infinite, past, future or present, as well as some conditions not found in English.

Tetun has no verb "to be", therefore care should be taken when transposing to English; OAN FETO MOE, the girl is shy,
literally 'girl shy'.

Verbs beginning with H and O change with person. Other verbs prefix K for the first person singular; HA'U KBA, I go.

1st pers. sing., use letter K, HA'U KA I eat HA'U KBA I go
2nd pers. sing., use letter M, O MA you eat

2nd pers. sing. (polite)., use letter H, ITA HA you eat
3rd pers. sing., use letter N, NIA NA he eats
1st pers. pl. (inc)., use letter H, AMI HA
2nd person. pl. (exc)., use letter H, ITA HA we eat
3rd person pl., use letter R, SIRA RA they eat
3rd person pl. (Belu), use letter R, SIA RA they eat

Tense of Verbs

All verbs are naturally in the present tense, but may give the meaning of another tense by the context of sentence; NIA
BA BASAR ABAN, he will go to the market tomorrow; NIA BA BASAR HORISEK, he went to the market yesterday. Tense may also
be indicated by tense particles:

past tense ONA, TIHA
future tense SEI

Since all these particles can be used in other ways, examples are given of their use.

1. placed after the verb to form past tense: AMI HA ONA, we ate; MAU BERE BA ONA BAUKAU, Mau Bere went to Baukau. ONA in this use always indicates the immediate past (a short time ago).
2. placed after the word (not a verb) it qualifies to denote a recently completed action: LEKE MAUK MORAS, MAI BE DI'AK ONA, Leke Mauk was sick, but is well know.
3. placed after the word it qualifies as an adverb, meaning "enough", "sufficient": NE'E DI'AK ONA, that is good enough, also TO'O ONA and NATON ONA have the same meaning.
4. used as an intehection; DI'AK ONA, well, alright.

1. placed after the verb forms past tense: BERE LELIK LA'O TIHA, Bere Lelike has gone (could be a short or long time ago); MAU LETO BA TIHA UMA, Mau Leto went home (some time ago).

2. placed after the word it qualifies to give the meaning of 'instead of': LEKI NAHAK LA BA BASAR, NIA BA TIHA SORO, Leki Nahak did not go to the market; instead he went hunting. NIA BA FILA TIHA SORO, or NIA BA TIHA FILA SORO, would mean instead he went hunting.
3. placed before ONA it indicates that the action is completely finished: LEKI BEREK HALAI TIHA ONA, Leki Berek has run away.
4. as a verb, to fish with a net: AMI TIHA IKAN BARAK, we net many fish.
5. as a verb to cast, fling, or throw: SIRE TIHA FATUK BA UE, they threw a stone in the water.

1. placed before the verb denotes future tense: ORAS ISA HA'U SEI KBA UA KREDA, shortly I will go to church.
2. placed before a verb can indicate that the action is still continuing: TETI BEREK SEI HARIS, Teti Berek is still having a bath.

3. used with DAUK or DAUN indicates negative future tense (sometimes used with LA, LAE): ISULINU SEI DAUK MAI, Isulinu will not come. Note: SEI LA DAUK MAI or LA DAUK SEI are just as correct. PAULU SEI DAUK HALO KNAAR IDA NE'E, Paulo will not do this work. Note: same combination as above applies. SEI DAUK on its own means 'not yet'.
4. placed before a verb can have the meaning of 'must' or 'obliged to': AIDA SEI HEMU AI MORUK NE'E, Aida must drink this medicine. O SEI HALO SERBISU IDA NE'E, you must do this work.


particles placed after the verb to give it a reflexive meaning: NIA OHO AN, he killed himself. When used with RASIK means 'own' or 'self' the construction changes; SUKI NAKENAK RASIK NIA AN, or SUKI NAKENAK NIA AN RASIK, Suki wounds himself.

placed before the verb to indicate purpose or intention: HA'U KBA ATU HARE BASAR, I go to see the market.

a particle following the verb indicating that the action is still continuing: LEKI MAUK LERE DAUDAUN DU'UT, Leki Mauk is cutting the grass.

a causative prefix forming new verbs from verbs, nouns and adjectives: BADAK, short; HABADAK, to shorten; MONU, to fall; HAMONU, to drop; FODAK, timid; HAFODAK, to startle. HA is a contraction of HALO, thus HALO BADAK is contracted to (>) HABADAK, literally 'make short'.

particles prefixed to verbs, nouns, and adjectives to form verbs which describe the state or action of the subject resulting from a continued action of the root word: TA'UK to fear > HAMTA'UK, to be in fear (of something); KUUS, nasal mucus > HAMKUSS, to have a cold; LAHA, hunger > HAMLAHA, to be hungry. Note: HAM- and HAN- are interchangeable.

particle placed after verbs to indicate a state of rest, abandonment, or permanence: NIA MAI LEREK TASI IBUN, he came to the seashore (infers that he went no further than the seashore).

particles prefixed to verbs to form nouns denoting the agent which practises the verb's action: HAFETU, to kick > MAFETUK, kicker; KAIR, to hold > MAKAIR LULIK, the keeper of the sacred house; LA'O, to walk > MALA'OK, traveller, HATETE, to talk > MATETEK, speaker; FUAK, fruitful > MAFUAK, fruiting tree. Note: root words beginning with H change to M, those ending in a vowel add K; also MA and MAK are second person forms of HA and HAK.

prefix to form verbs in third person plural; also forms verbal nouns and adjectives.

prefix to form verbs in third person plural and also verbal nouns and adjectives.

an emphatic particle stresstiung the word it preceeds, not translatable in English, used in all dialects. The Tetun-Dili equivalent is MAK, MAKA.

an adverb meaning 'extra', 'plus'. It also forms cardinal numbers over ten: RUANULU RESIN IDA, twenty one, literally, twenty plus one.

a particple affixed after a word to form nouns with a derogatory sense: BARUK, lazu; BARUK TEEN, laziness.


Within East Timor there are two natural systems with decimal (10) and quintic (5) as basic units. The decimal system is universally understood and transposable to other decimal systems.




Larger numbers exist, but for practical purposes they are seldom used as most people using larger numbers do so in the Portuguese or Indonesian systems.


(P) = Portuguese word
(I) = Indonesian word


AAS, high, tall
AAT, bad, evil
ABAN, tomorrow
ABUT, root
AGORA (P), now
AHI, fire

AHI ANAR, ember, glowing coal
AHI HAHAN, cook by charring
AHI LAKAN, flame
AHI OAN, lamp

AHI SUAR, smoke
AHU, lime
AI, tree, wood, firewood
AI ABUT, root
AI BALU, box, chest

AI BEN, AI UEN, sap, juice, resin
AI BUBUR METAN, eucalyptus (black)
AI DILA, pawpaw tree
AI DILA FUAN, pawpaw fruit
AI FARINA, cassava flour

AI FUAN, fruit

AI FUAN ISIN, edible portion of fruit

AI FUAN KULIT, fruit skin

AI FUAN MUSAN, fruit seed

AI FUNAN, flower

AI HUN, tree base

AI KAMELI, sandalwood

AI KEBELAK, plank, board

AI KULIT, bark of tree

AI LARAN, ALAS, forest

AI LELE, kapok

AI LIA, ginger

AI LOLON, trunk of a tree

AI LOS, straight tree


AI MAHON, shade

AI MANAS, chilli

AI MORUK, medicine

AI NAR, rose bush

AI RAHUN, sawdust

AI RII, AI RIIN, stake, post

AI SNAK, branch of a tree
AI SAR, broom

AI SARIAN, mahogany tree

AI SUAK, digging stick

AI TAHAN, leaf


AI TAHAN SOKAT, young leaf
AI TARAK, thorn

AI FUKUN, knot in tree
AIN, leg, foot
AIN FATIN, footprint
AIN HIRA, how many sticks
AI SUKAT, measuring stick
AKA, sago

ALIN, younger brother
ALIN FETO, younger sister
ALU, ALUN, pestle
AMAK, masculine
AMAN, father, male of animals
AMAN BOOT, uncle older than father

AMAN KI'IK, uncle younger than father
AMAN SARANI, godfather
AMAN TUAN, grandfather
AMI, we (exclusive)
AMIGU (P), friend
ANANAS (P), pineapple

ANAR, ash (see AHI NAR)
ANIN, wind
ANIN BOOT, strong wind
ANIN FUIK, cyclone
ASU, dog
ASU (P), steel, hard

ASU KUTIN, dog flea
ATAN, slave
ATUS, hundred
AU, bamboo
AU TOUHU, sugarcane


BA, go, proceed, go off
BA, at, in, on, to, for
BABA, drum
BABETA, ankle ornaments

BABOO, horn trumpet
BABUKU, snal, slug
BABURIT, syringe
BADAAK, rice powder, talc
BADAIN, tradesman
BADAIN AI, carpenter

BADAK, short
BAER, BAAR, astringent taste
BAKU, beat, punish
BAKU MALU, fight

BALADA, domestic stock
BALIU, axe
BALU, some, part, half
BALU, middle
BANI, honey bee
BANI BEN, honey

BANIN FETO, mother-in-law
BANIN MANE, father-in-law
BARAK, many, much
BARIA, bitter melon
BARUK, lazy
BARUK TEEN, laziness

BASAR, market
BATAR, maize, indian corn
BATAR FULIN, corn cob
BATAR NURAK, sweet corn
BAUR, rainbow
BE, UE, water

BE KOLAN, swamp
BE MATAN, spring
BEEN, liquid, juice, sap
BEIBEIK, often, continually
BEIK, stupid
BEIN, grandparent

BELAK, disc
BELAR, flat, level
BELE, can, able
BELU, friend
BERO, canoe
BESI, iron

BESI ASU, steel
BESIK, near, close
BE'U, thresh grain
BIBI, goat

BIDU, dance
BIIN, sister
BIIT, strength
BI'IT, lift by fingers
BIKAN, plate
BINATAN, domestic animals

BIRAK, copper
BITI, sleeping mat
BOBAR, roll up, tricky
BOEK, shrimp
BOK, touch
BOKAR, thick

BOKON, wet
BOKUR, fat
BOLU, call out
BOOT, big, large
BOSOK, lie, deceive
BOTIL (P), bottle

BUA, betel nut
BUAN, sorcerer
BUAT, thing
BUAT RUMA, something
BUIS, savage, untamed
BUKA, seek, look for

BULAK, mad, crazy
BUSA, cat
BUU, KBUU, sack


DADA, pull, drag

DADER, early morning
DADINIS, mane of horse
DADOLIN, verse in two lines
DADUR, detain
EMA DADUR, prisoner
DAHUR, song sung at gatherings

DALAN, track, road
DAMBUA, grapefruit
DASA, sweep
DATO, noble class
DAUN, needle

DA'AN, boil food
DEHAN, say, speak
DELEK, blind
DEROK, orange
DE'IT, only

DIDIN, wall
DIKIN, leaf tip
DIKUR, horn, antlers
DIMA, spear
DINELA (P), window
DIUK, deaf

DI'AK, good, well
DOBEN, darling, dear
DODOK, rotten
DOIS, stink, smell
DOMINGU (P), Sunday
DOOK, far, distant

DUDU, push
DUKUR, sleep
SULAS, twist
DUN, LA DUN, few, little
DUUNI, chase
DUUT, grass


EMA, person
EMA FUIK, savage, wild man
ERAVILA (P), pea
ESKOLA (P), school

ETU, rice (cooked)


FAHE, divide
FAHI, pig
FAHO, harrow weed

FAI, pound, crush
FALI, again
FALUK, widowed
FALUN, parcel
FALUR, pigeon
FANUN, awake

FASI, FASE, wash
FASI MOS, wash clean
FATIN, place, spot, position
FATUK, stone, rock
FA'AN, sell

FEHUK, tuber of all kinds
FEHUK MIDA, sweet potato
FEHUK ROPA, potato
FEN, wife (impolite)
FERIK, old woman
FETO, woman

FETO FOUN, daughter-in-law
FETO RAN, virgin
FETOK, feminine
FILA, turn
FILA FALI, return, go home

FILKA, change, alter
FUSYR, abscess
FITUN, star
FO, give
FODAK, timid
FOHO, mountain

FOHO RAI, uthin
FOIN, just, already
FOKIT, pull, jerk
FOLIN, price, cost
FOREI, bean
FOREI KELI, soya bean

FOREI RAI, peanut
FOS, rice (husked)
FOUN, new, young
FO'ER, dirty
FUAK, pimply, fruitful
FUAN, fruit, heart

FUI, pour liquid
FUIK, wild, savage
FUKIT, pull out
FULAN, moon, month
FULIN, bunch
FULUN, hair (of body), feathers

FUMA (P), smoke tobacco
FUNAN, flower
FUNU, war
FURAK, tasty, nice
FURIN, foam of sea
FUTU, tie up

FUTUN, parcel, package
FUUK, hair of head


GARFU (P), fork
GOSTA (P), like

GURU (I), teacher


HA, eat
HAAS, mango
HAAT, four

HADAK, bamboo flooring
HAER, awake
HADI'AK, improve
HADOMI, love, like very much
HAE, grass variety
HAFETU, kick

HAFILA, return
HAFOIN, therefore, so, then
HAFULAK, embrace
HAHAN, food, nourishment
HAHANEK, wound
HAHOURIS, give birth

HAHU, begin
HAKARAK, want, desire
HAKAT, span of hand
HAKAT AIN, step, pace
HAKDIRUN, palm of hand
HAKEREK, write

HAFUIK, whistle
HAKILAR, shout, yell
HAKOI, bury
HAKSI'AK, rowdy

HALAI, run away
HALFODAK, astonish, frighten
HALI, banyan tree

HALIBUR, assemble, collect
HALO, make, work, construct, do
HALO LOS, correct
HALUHA, forget
HAMLAHA, hungry

HAMNASA, laugh
HAMOS, cleanse
HAMROOK, thirsty
HAN, food
HANANU, sing

HANEK, plate
HANESA, HANESAN, same, similar
HANOIN, think, remember
HARE, rice
HARE, see, look

HARE FULIN, ear of rice
HARE KAIN, rice stem
HARE NATAR, rice paddy
HARIS, bathe
HASAI, take away
HASAN, jaw, chin

HATAIS, clothes, get dressed
HATAMA, enter, insert
HATAN, answer, reply
HATENU, bark of dog
HATETEN, DEHAN, speak, talk, say
HATUDU, indicate, show way

HA'E, emphatic particle
HA'U NAIN, mine
HEIN, wait
HELA, live, stay, remain
HEMU, drink

HENA, cloth
HETAN, find, discover,
HILI, pick up
HIRA, how many, how much
HIRUS, angry, annoyed

HITU, seven
HO, and, with
HODI, take, carry
HOPU, gallop
HOROK, charm, spell
HORON, smell

HOTU, completed
HOTU, all
HOTU, too
HOURI, from (time)
HOUSI, from (place)

HUDI, banana
HUN, trunk of tree
HUN, base of anything
HUSAR, navel
HUSIK, leave, abandon
HUSU, ask

HUSU LIA, question
HUU, whisper, blow softly
HU'IN, genitals (female)


IBUN, mouth


IDA, one; a

IDA DE'IT, one only

IDA IDA, each one

IDE NE'E, this one, this

IDE NE'E BA, that those

IDE NE'E BE, which, who

IDA NE'E DUNI, this one, definitely

IDA NE'E MAZI, this one

IDA SELUK, another

IHA, is, have, possess

IHA, to at, on, in

IHA DOOK, far away

IHA KARUK, on left

IHA KIDUN, on the bottom

IHA KLARAN, in middle
IHA KRAIK, below

IHA KUANA, on right

IHA LARAN, inside

IHA LEET, in between

IHA LETEN, at the top, above

IHA LIMAN LOS, on right

IHA MOS NE'E BA, as well

IHA NE'E, here

IHE NE'E BA, there

IHA NIA OIN, in front of

IHA NIA SOURIN, at the side

IHA OKOS, underside

IHA ORAS NE'E, this time, then

IHA TUTIN, on top

IIS, breath

IKAN, fish

IKUN, tail

IKUS, last

IMI, you (plural)

IMI NIAN, yours

INA FERIK, grandmother

INAN BOOT, aunt older than mother

INAN KI'IK, aunt younger than mother
INUS, nose


ISIN, body



ITA, we (incl.), you (polite)

ITA NIA, our

ITA NIAN, ours

IU, shark


JAMBUA, DAMBUA, grapefruit
JANTAR (P), dinner
JOGA (P), play
JOGA SURAT (I), play cards


KA, or
KA'AN, sister-in-law

KABAS, cotton

KABAS FATUK, cotton ball

KABAS LAHAN, cotton thread

KABEER, smooth

KABEN, wife (polite)

KABUAR, round, plump

KABUK, pregnant

KABUN, stomach
KABUN DULAS, stomach ache

KABUN MORAS, stomach ache

KADELI, ring

KADI, sharpen

KADO, saw

KAFE, coffee

KAIL, fish hook

KA'I LISIN, fish hook

KAIR, hold, grasp, drive car

KA'IT, hook, girlfriend

KAKATUA, cockatoo, pliers

KAKELUN, bracelet

KAKEU, casuarina tree

KAKOROK, neck, throat

KAKU, owl


KAKUTAK, brain

KAL, maybe, perhaps

KALAN, night

KALEN, tin

KALOHAN, cloud

KAN, greedy

KANEK, wound, injure

KANURU, spoon

KAOA, crow

KAPAS (P), good, capable, beautiful

KARAU, buffalo

KARAU KULIT, hide, leather




KARETA (P), truck, bus

KARIK, maybe, perhaps, if

KARO (P), car

KARUDU, mint

KARUK, left

KATAR, scratch, itchy

KATUAS, old man
KA'UT, bag, sack

KBAS, KEBAS, shoulder

KBELAK, disc

KDORAN, water vessel

KEDAN, KEDAS, immediately, at once

KEDO, frog

KELA, cricket (insect)

KELEN, thigh


KELEUR ONA, long time ago

KESI, fasten, tie

KETA, KETAK, don't

KE'E, dig

KFOLI, loin-cloth

KFUI, whistle

KIAK, poor, orphan

KIDAN, haunch, hindquarters

KIDUN, bottom, buttocks

KIDUN MEAN, haemorrhoids

KILAT, firearm

KILAT FUAN, bullet

KINAS, petal

KINU, yellow

KINUR, saffron

KITI LILI, firefly, glow worm

KIUKAE, quail

KI'IK, little, small

KLAMAR, soul, spirit

KLARAN, middle

KLES, open, bare; a shred

KLEUK, bent, crooked

KLEUR, long time

KLOOT, tight, narrow

KLOSAN, young, single nobleman

KLUNI, pillow

KMAAN, light, not heavy

KMAHA, dew

KMANEK, good, goodness
KMAUS, rich

KMII, candlenut tree

KNAAR, work, job

KNIKU, bamboo water, vessel

KNUA, hamlet, village

KNUUK, nest

KOBARKA, basket

KOHE, purse

KOKO, try, attempt

KOKOK, touch, feel


KOLAR, smallpox

KOLE, KOLEN, tired; wages

KONA, towards

KOSAR, sweat

KOSE, wipe, brush

KOTU, break

KOU'US, pregnant, cuddle

KO'A, cut

KO'A LIA, speak, talk

KRAIK, down

KREDA, chruch

KUAK, hole

KUANA, right

KUDA horse

KUDSA, sow seed, plant


KOTU KOTUK, saddle bag

KUDA LUHAN, stable

KUDA LUBUN, kick by horse

KUDA TAILN, halter, harness, rope

KUIK, KURITA, octopus

KULAN, giblet

KULIT, hide, skin, bark

KULU, breadfruit
KULU NAKA, jackfruit
KUNUS, capsicum
KURITA, octopus
KURU, scoop water
KUSA, nail

KUTUN, flea
KUUS, snot, nasal mucous
KU'U, pick, gather


LA, LAE, no, not

LA BELE, can not
LA BUAT IDA, nothing
LA DUN BARAK, not much
LA IDA, none
LA IHA, none
LA LOS, wrong

LA TOS, easy, not difficult
LA TO'O, lacking
LABADAIN, spider

LAEK, without, not any
LAFAEK, crocodile
LAFATIK, winnowing basket
LAHA, hunger
LAHAN, thread
LAHAT, net for shrimps

LAHO, rat
LAI, first, formerly
LAKAN, flame
LAKETEU, pigeon
LAKERU, pumpkin
LAKLEUR, not long, soon

LAKOI, don't want, refuse
LAKON, lost
LAKU, possum
LALAR, fly (insect)
LALATIK, earthworm

LALENOK, mirror
LALKIKA, unnecessary
LAMAS, touch, feel
LANTENT, sleeping area

LANU, drunk
LAPIS (P), pencil
LARAN, inside, conscience
LARAN MAKEREK, treacherous

LASAN, penis
LASAN FUAN, testicles
LA'EN, husband
LA'O, go, walk, travel
LA'O DE'IT, on foot, walk only
LA-OS, nothing

LEBO, carry
LEKIRAUK, monkey
LELE, float
LEMU, travel about
LENA, sesame
LENUK, turtle

LERE, trim, cut (garden, grass)
LES, tear, rip
LESU, hollow log for grinding
LET, LEET, gap, space, between
LETEN, above
LE'U, fence in

LIA, word, speech
LIA SUIK, secret
LIAN, voice, noise
LIBRU (P), book
LILIN, wax
LIMA, five

LIMAN, arm
LIMAN FUAN, finger
LIMAN KUKUUN, finger nail
LIPA, sarong

LIS ASU, garlic
LIS BOT, onion
LIU, superlative
LIU TAN, more, too much
LIU TIHA, later
LIUR, outside

LIURAI, king
LOJA (P), shop
LOKE, open
LOLON, mass, body
LORAIK, afternoon

LORO, sun
LORO LOR, south
LORO MANAS, midday
LORO RUAI, north
LORO SA'E, sunrise, east

LORON, day
LRORON MONU, sunset, west
LORU, LORU TAHAN, laurel tree, bay leaf
LOS, right, correct, straight
LOTUK, slender Slim

LOURI, carry
LUAN, courtyard
LUHAn, stable
LULIK, sacred
LUTU, fence
LUUN, tears

LUUN TURU, cry tears


MAHAN, shade
MAHAR, thick

MAI, come
MAI BE, but

MAI FALI, come back

MAK, MAKA, empathic particle

MAKA'AS, strong, sturdy

MAKEREK, tricky, variegated

MAKIKIT, kite, eagle


MALAE, stranger, foreigner



MALU, mutual, reciprocal

MALUK, relatives

MALUS TAHAN, betel leaf

MAMAR, soft, gentle

MAMIIK, bladder

MAMUK, empty, hollow

MANAN, win, earn

MANAS, hot


MANE, man, male

MANTOLUN, egg (hen)

MANU, bird

MANU FUTU, cockfighting



MARAN, dry


MASAR, asthma

MASIN, salt


MATAK, green, unripe

MATAN, eye, lid

MATAN DOOK, native doctor
MATAN FUKUN, eyebrow


MATAN OAN, pupil

MATE, dead

MATE KLAMAR, spirit (of dead)
MATEK, dormant, ignition off

MATENEK, clever

MAU, MAUK, male of names

MAUN, brother

MAUS, tame

MEAN, red

MEDA, small marsupial

MEHI, dream

MEIAS (P), sock

MESA, MESAK, only, alone

MESTRE (P), teacher

METAN, black

METI, short, reef

METIN, solid, firm

ME'AR, cough

MIDAR, sweet

MIHIS, thin

MII, urinate, MEINA, fat, oil

MODO, vegetable

MODO BEN, soup

MODOK, green, yellow

MOE, shy, ashamed

MOLOK, before (time)

MONU, fall

MORANGU (P), strawberry

MORAS, sick

MOS, clean; also too

MOSU, appear

MOTA, river

MOTA AIN, reiver lower reaches

MOTA IBUN, river mouth

MOTA SULI, river bed

MOULIK, bald
MOURIN, scent
MOURIS, alive
MOUT, sink
MUDA (P), move

MURAK, gold
MUSAN, seed
MUTA, vomit
MUTIN, white
MUU, kiss


NA'AN, meat
NAFATIN, always, ever
NAHAN, cargo, goods
NAHE, spread out, divide
NAHUN, so, so much

NAKDED AR, tremble
NAKALI (BE), boil (water)
NAKDOKO, rattle
NAKFUNAN, mouldy
NAKONU, full

NALIUN, lake
NANAL, tongue
NARAN, name
NARAN BUAT, anyone
NARAN IDA, whoever

NAROMA, daylight, not dark
NARUK, long
NATA, chew
NATAR, paddy field
NATI, bed bug
NA'IN, sir (polite title)

NA'UK, steal
NEEN, six
NEHAN, tooth
NEHEK, ant
NEINEIK, slowly
NEON, conscience

NESUN, mortar
NE'E, this, that
NE'E BA, that
NE'E BE, which, who
NE'E DUNI, therfore
NE'E MAI, these

NIA, he, possessive particle
NIKI, bat (animal)
NONA, mistress
NONOOK, silent, keep quiet
NUDAR, as, as well
NURAK, young immature

NUU, coconut
NU'U NE'E, so, therefore
NU'U NE'E DUNI, exactly
NU'U SA, why


O, you (singular)
OAN, child
OAN FATIN, uterus
OAN FETO, young girl
OAN KIAK, orphan
OAN MANE, young boy

OBRIGADO (P), thanks
ODAN, step
OHIN, today
OHO, kill
OIN, face, appearance

OIN AAT, ugly, deformed
OIN SELUK, different
OKOS, below
ONA, now; past tense particle
ORAS, hour, time

OSAN, money
OSAN MUTIN, silver
OSAN NARAN, dowry gift


RAAT, beach
RABAT, near, close
RAHUN, dust; fate
RAI, ground, land, earth, world
RAI AHU, fog
RAI FOHO, mountain

RAI HELA, guard
RAI HORUN, precipice
RAI HUN, mountain foot
RAI INUS, cape
RAI KABURBUR, hillock, mound

RAI KLEAN, slope (of hill)
RAI KUAK, hole
RAI LOLON, ranghe
RAI MALIRIN, cold weather
RAI MANAS, hot weather
RAI MARAN, dry weather

RAI MOULIK, bare space
RAI NAKDODO, earthquake
RAI SADERE, hillside
RAI SUUT, volcano
RAI TARTUTU, thunder

RAI UDAN, wet weather
RAMA, bow
RAMA ISIN, arrow
RAN, blood
RATE, grave
RAUT, gather, collect

REBEN, ten thousand
REBU, lake
REDI, fishing net
RENTOS, forehead
RESIN, more
RE'I LIMAN, kiss hand

RIAN, brother-in-law
RIHUN, thousand
RIIN, post, stake
RITI, copper, brass
RO, boat
RO AHI, steam ship

ROHAN, tip, extremity
RONA, hear
ROPA (P), clothes
RO RII, mast
ROSAK, strong
RUA, two

RUANULU, twenty
RUIN, bone
RUMAH, RUMA, any, something
RUSA, deer


SA, tea
SA, what
SA IDA, which, what
SABAUN (P), soap
SABRUKA, orange
SABULU, woman's sarong

SABURAKA, orange
SADERE, lean against, support
SADIA, compassion
SAI, go out
SAKUNAR, scorpion

SALA, fault, error, sin
SALURIK, umbrella
SAMA, trample
SAMEA, snake
SAMODO, green snake
SANAK, branch

SANAN, pot
SANAN BESI, iron pot
SARAK, at least
SARANI, Christian
SARAUK, black and white

SASAN, goods, belongings
SASUIT, comb
SA'E, climb, rise, mount, go up
SA'E RO, board, embark
SE, who, whom
SEBI (P), chief

SEI, future particle
SEI DAUK, not yet
SELE, destroy, rip up
SELU, pay, repay
SELUK, other, another
SEMO, fly

SENTINA (P), toilet
SIA, nine
SIIN, sour
SIMU, answer, take, accept
SIRA, they
SI'AK, angry

SI'IK, guess
SOBU, destroy
SOE, throw away, discard
SOLAN, groin
SONA, roast
SORO, hunt

SOSA, buy
SOURI, defend
SOURIN BALU, opposite side
SOURI-AN, defend oneself
SOURU, weave
SOURUK, go away, get out

SO'O, plough up
SUBAR, hide, conceal
SUBRAKA, orange
SUHUK, asthma

SUI, extract
SUKAIR, tamarind
SUKAT, measure
SUKU, mend, sew
SULAN, shut, cork up
SULI, flow

SUMIK, secret
SUNU, scorch, burn
SURA, count
SURAT, paper, letter, book
SURIK, sword
SURU, serve meal

SUSAR, difficult
SUSU, breast
SUSU BEN, milk
SUSU MATAN, nipple
SUSUK, mosquito
SUSUN, suckle

SUUT, blow nose


TAA, cut, chop
TAA ULUN, decapitate
TABAKU, tobacco

TAFUI, spit
TAHA, knife
TAHAN, leaf
TAHU, mud, clay
TAI TETU, valley
TAIS, garment

TAKA, shut, close
TALAS, yam
TALIN, rope
TAMA, enter, go in
TAN, more; find
TAN, more, again

TAN BA, why, because
TANIS, cry
TARA, spur for cock fighting
TARATA, insult
TASKA, ripe
TASI, sea

TASI BALUN, overseas
TASI BE, sea water
TASI BOOT, rough sea
TASI IBUN, beach
TASI KIDUN, sea bottom

TASI MAUS, calm sea
TASI NAKONU, high tide
TASI SI'AK, angry sea
TASTI TUN, low tide
TATA, bite
TAU, put, place

TAUTAN, increase
TA'UK, afraid
TE, excreta
TEBE DAI, dance
TEBES, truly
TETEBES, certainly

TEIN, cook
TEKI, gecko
TENE, invite
TERUS, suffer
TESI, cut
TESI LIAN, decide
TIHA, throw; past tense
TILUN, ear
TILAN KUAK, ear hole
TINAN, year
TIRAN, oyster
TIRU, shot, discharge of a gun
TUI, purse wovern
TOBA, lie down
TODAN, heavy
TOHAR, break, fracture
TOLAN, swallow
TOLOK, complain, nag
TOLOK MALU, insult, criticize
TOLU, three
TOLUN, egg
TOMAK, all
TOUHU, sugar cane
TO'O, until, arrive
TO'O ONA, enough
TUA, wine
TUA SIIN, vinegar
TUAKA, palm wine
TUDIK, knife
TUIR, follow, obey
TUKU, punch, strike
TUKU MALU, fight
TUN, down, descend
TUNA, eel
TUNU, roast
TUR, sit
TUSAN, debt
TUTUN, top, summit


UALU, eight
UARTA, strong wind
UAT, vein
UDAN, rain
UDAN RAHUN, light rain

UDAN TAU, raining
UE, water also BE
UIT OAN, small, little
UIT OAN DEIT, very little
UKUN, govern, rule
ULAR, worm

ULU, ULUM, first, before, in front
ULUK, formerly, in the past
ULUN, head
ULUN MORAS, headache

UMA, house
UMA HAN, restaurant
UMA KAKULUK, house roof
UMA KREBEK, house ruins
UMA KREDA, church
UMA TALIN, house thatch

UTUR, mould
UUD, whale
UUT, dust



above, LETEN
abscess, FISUR
afraid, TA'UK
afternoon, LORAIK
again, FALI
alive, MOURIS

all, HOTU
all, TOMAK
always, NAFATIN
and, with, HO
angry, SI'AK
angry, annoyed, HIRUS

angry sea, TASI SI'AK
ankle ornaments, BABETA
another, IDA SELUK
answer, reply, HATAN
answer, take, accept, SIMU
ant, NEHEK

any, something, RUMAH, RUMA
appear, MOSU
arm, LIMAN
arrow, RAMA ISIN

as, as well, NUDAR
as well, IHA MOS NE'E BA
ash, (see AHI ANAR), ANAR
ask, HUSU

assemble, HALIBUR
asthma, MASAR
asthma, SUHUK
astonish, frighten, HAKFODAK
astringent taste, BAER, BAAR
at, in, on, to, for, BA

at least, SARAK
at the side, IHA NIA SOURIN
at the top, above, IHA LETEN
aunt older than mother, INAN BOOT
aunt younger than mother, INAN KI'IK
awake, HADER

awake FUNUN
axe, BALIU


bad, evil, AAT
bag, sack, KA'UT

bald, MOULIK
bamboo, AU
bamboo flooring, HADAK
bamboo water vessel, KNIKU
banana, HUDI

banyan tree, HALI
bare space, RAI MOULIK
bark of dog, HATENU
bark of a tree, AI KULIT
base of anything, HUN
basket, KOBARKA

bat, NIKI
bathe, HARIS
beach, TASI IBUN
bean, FOREI
beat, punish, BAKU

bead bug, NATI
bee, BANI
before (time) MOLOK
begin, HAHU
below, IHA KRAIK

below, OKOS
bent, crooked, KLEUK
betel leaf, MALUS TAHAN
beten nut, BUA
big, large, BOOT
bird, MANU

bite, TATA
bitter melon, BARIA
black, METAN
black and white, SARAUK
bladder, MAMIIK
blind, DELEK

blood, RAN
blow nose, SUUT
board, embark, SA'E RO
boat, RO
body, ISIN
boil food, DA'AN

bone, RUIN
book (P), LIBRU
bottle (P), BOTIL
bottom, buttocks, KIDUN
bow, RAMA
box, chest, AI BALU

bracelet, KAKELUN
branch, SANAK
branch of a tree, AI SANAK
breadfruit, KULU
break, KOTU

break, fracture, TOHAR
breast, SUSU
breath, IIS
broom, AI SAR
brother, MAUN
brother-in-law, RIAN

buffalo, KARAU
bullet, KILAT FUAN
bunch, FULIN
bury, HAKOI
but, MAI BE

buy, SOSA


call out, BOLU

calm sea, TASI MAUS


can, able, BELE

can not, LA BELE

candlenut tree, KMII

canoe, BERO


cape, RAI INUS

capsicum, KUMUS

car, KARO (P)

cargo, goods, NAHAN

carpenter, BADAIN AI

carry, LEBO

carry, LOURI


cassava flour, AI FARINA

casuarina tree, JAJEY

cat, BUSA


certain, sure, TETEBES

change, alter, FILAK

charm, spell, HOROK

chase, DUNI


chew, NATA

chief, SEBI (P)

child, OAN

chilli, AI MANAS

Christian, SARANI

church, UMA KREDA

church, KREDA
cleanse, HAMOS

clean; also, too, MOS

clever, MATENEK

climb, mount, go up, SA'E

cloth, HENA

clothes, FARU, ROPA (P)

clothes, get dressed, HATAIS

cloud, KALOHAN

cockatoo; pliers, KAKATUA

cickfighting, MANU FUTU

coconut, NUU

coffee, KAFE


cold weather, RAI MALIRIN

collect, assemble, HALIBUR

comb, SASUIT

come, MAI

come back, MAI FALI

compassion, SADIA

complain, nag, TOLOK

completed, HOTU

conscience, NEON

cook, TEIN

cook by charring, AHI HAHAN

copper, BIRAK

copper, brass, RITI

corn cob, BATAR FULIN

correct, HALO LOS

cotton, KABAS

cotton ball, KABAS FATUK

cotton thread, KABAS LAHAN

cough, ME'AR

count, SURA

courtyard, LUAN

circket (insect) KELA

crocodile, LAFAEK

crow, KAOA

cry, TANIS
cry tears, LUUN TURU

cuddle, KOU'US

cut, TESI

cut, KO'A

cut, chop, TAA

cyclone, ANIN FUIK


dance, BIDU
dance, TEBE DAI


darling, dear, DOBEN

daughter-in-law, FETO FOUN


day, LORON


daylight, not dark, NAROMA

dead, MATE

deaf, DIUK

debt, TUSAN

decapitate, TAA ULUN

decide, TESI LIAN


deer, RUSA

defend, SOURI

defend oneself, SOURI-AN

destroy, SOBU

destroy, rip up, SELE

detain, DAHUR
dew, KMAHA

different, OIN SELUK

difficult, SUSAR

dig, KE'E

digging stick, AI SUAK

dinner, JANTAR (P)

dirty, FO'ER


divide, FAHE

doctor (native), MATAN DOOK

dog, ASU

domestic animals, BINATAN

domestic stock, BALADA

don't, KETA, KETAK

don't want, reject, LAKOI


dormant, ignition off, MATEK

down, KRAIK

down, descend, TUN

dowry gift, OSAN NARAN

dream, MEHI

drink, HEMU

drop, HAMONU

drum, BABA

drunk, LANU

dry, MARAN

dry weather, RAI MARAN


dust, UUT

dust; fate, RAHUN


each one, IDA IDA
ear, TILUN
ear hole, TILUN KUAK
ear of rice, HARE FULIN

early morning, DADER
earthquake, RAI NAKDODO
earthworm, LALATIK
easy, not difficult, LA TOS
eat, HA
edible portion of fruit, AI FUAN ISIN

eel, TUNA
egg, TOLUN
egg (hen), MANTOLUN
eight, UALU
ember, glowing coal, AHI ANAR
embrace, HAFULAK

emphatic particle, HA'E
emphatic particle, MAK, MAKA
empty, hollow, MAMUK
enough, TO'O ONA
enter, go in, TAMA
enter, insert, HATAMA

eucalyptus, AI BUBUR METIN
eucalyptus, AI BUBUR MUTIN
exactly, NU'U NE'E DUNI
excreta, TE
extract, SUI

eye, lid, MATAN
eyebrow, MATAN FUKUN


face, appearance, OIN

fall, MONU

far, distant, DOOK

far away, IHA DOOK

fasten, tie, KESI

fat, BOKUR

fat, oil, MINA
father, male of animals, AMAN

father-in-law, BANIN MANE

fault, error, sin, SALA


feminine, FETOK

fence, LUTU

fence in, LE'U



few, little, DUN, LA DUN

fight, TUKU MALU

fight, BAKU MALU

find, discover, HETAN

finger, LIMAN FUAN

finger nail, LIMAN KUKUN

fire, AHI

firearm, KILAT

firefly, KITI LILI

first, before, ULU, ULUN

first, formerly, LAI

fish, IKAN

fish hook, KAIL

fish hook, KA'I LISIN

fishing net, REDI

five, LIMA

flame, LAKAN

flame, AHI LAKAN

flat, level, BELAR


flea, KUTUN

float, LELE

flour, FARINA (P)

flow, SULI

flower, FUAN

flower, AI FUAN

fly, SEMO

fly (insect), LALAR

foam of sea, FURIN

fog, RAI AHU

follow, obey, TUIR

food, HAN

food, nourishment, HAHAN

footprint, AIN FATIN

forehead, RENTOS

forest, AI LARAN
forget, HALUHA

fork, GARFU (P)

formerly, in the past, ULUK

four, HAAT

friend, AMIGU (P)

friend, BELU

frog, KEDO

from (place), HOUSI

from (time), HOURI

fruit, AI FUAN

fruit, heart, FUAN

fruit seed, AI FUAN MUSAN

fruit skin, AI FUAN KULIT

full, NAKONU

future particle, SEI


gallop, HOPU
gap, space between, LET, LEET
garden, TO'OS
garlic, LIS ASU

garment, TAIS
gather, collect, RAUT
gecko, TECKI
genitals female, HU'IN
giblet, KULAN
giner, AI LIA

give, FO
give birth, HAHOURIS
go, proceed, go off, BA
go, walk, travel, LA'O

go away, get out, SOURUK

go out, SAI

goat, BIBI


godfather, AMAN SARANI


gold, MURAK

good, beautiful, KAPAS (P)

good, goodness, KMANEK

good, well, DI'AK

goods, belongings, SASAN


govern, rule, UKUN

grandfather, AMAN TUAN

grandmother, INA FERIK

grandparent, BEIN

grapefruit, DAMBUA
grass, DUUT
grass variety, HAE
grave, RATE
greedy, KAN
green, unripe, MATAK

green, yellow, MODOK
groin, SOLAN
ground, land, earth, world, RAI
guard, RAI HELA

guess, SI'IK


haemorrhoids, KIDUN MEAN
hair of head, FUUK
hair (of body), feather, FULUN

halter, harness, KUDA TALIN
hamlet, village, KNUA
harrow, weed, FAHO
hunch, hindquarters, KIDAN
he, possessive article, NIA

head, ULUN
headache, ULUN MORAS
hear, RONA
heavy, TODAN
here, IHA NE'E

hide, conceal, SUBAR
hide, leather, KARAU KULIT
hide, skin, bark, KULIT
high, tall, AAS
high tide, TASI NAKONU
hillock, mound, RAI KABURBUR

hillside, RAI SADERE
hold, grasp, drive car, KAIR
hole, KUAK
hole, RAI KUAK
hollow log for grinding, LESU
honey, BENI BEN

horn trumpet, BABOO
horns, antlers, DIKUR
horse, KUDA
hot, MANAS
hot weather, RAI MANAS
hour, time, ORAS

house, UMA
house roof, UMA KAKULUK
houe ruins, UMA KREBEK
house thatch, UMA TALIN
how many, how much, HIRA
how many stick, AIN HIRA

hundred, ATUS
hunger, LAHA
hungry, HAMLAHA
hunt, SORO
husband, LA'EN


immediately, KEDAN, KEDAS
improve, HADI'AK
in between, IHA LEET
in front of, IHA NIA OIN

in middle, IHA KLARAN
increase, TAU TAN
indicate, show way, HATUDU
inside, LARAN
insult, TARATA
insult, criticize, TOLOK MALU

invite, TENE
iron, BESI
iron pot, SANAN BESI
is, have, possess, IHA


jackfruit, KULU NAKA
jaw, chin, HASAN
just, already, FOIN


kapok, AI LELE
kick, HAFETU
kick by horse, KUDA LUBUN
kill, OHO
king, LIURAI

kiss, MUU
kiss hand, RE'I LIMAN
kite, eagle, MAKIKIT
knife, TUDIK
knife, TAHA
knot in tree, AI FUKUN


lacking, LA TO'O
lake, NALIUN
lake, REBU
lamp, AHI OAN

last, IKUS
later, LIU TIHA
laugh, HAMNASA
laurel, bay leaf, LORU TAHAN
laziness, BARUK TEEN
lazy, BARUK

leaf, AI TAHAN
leaf, TAHAN
leaf tip, DIKIN
lean against, support, SADERE
leave, abandon, HUSIK
left, KARUK

leg, foot, AIN
lie, deceive, BOSOK
lie down, TOBA

lift by fingers, BI'IT
light, not heavy, KMAAN
light rain, UDAN RAHUN
like, GOSTA (P)
lime, AHU

liquid, juice, sap, BEEN
little, small, KI'IK
live, stay, remain, HELA
loin-cloth, KFOLI
long, NARUK

long time, KLEUR
lost, LAKON
love, like very much, HADOMI
low tide, TASI TUN


mad, crazy, BULAK
mahogany, AI SARIAN
maize, indian corn, BATAR
make, work, construct, do, HALO
male of names, MAU, MAUK
man, male, MANE

mane of horse, DADINIS
mango, HAAS
many, much, BARAK
market, BASAR
masculine, AMAK

mass, body, LOLON
mast, RO RII
maybe, perhaps, KAL
maybe, perhaps, if, KARIK
measure, SUKAT

measuring stick, AI SUKAT
meat, NA'AN
medicine, AI MORUK
mend, sew, SUKIU
midday, LORO MANAS

middle, BALU
middle, KLARAN
milk, SUSU BEN
mine, HA'U NAIN
mint, KARUDU
mirror, LELENOK

mistress, NONA
money, OSAN
monkey, LEKIRAUK
moon, month, FULAN
more, RESIN
more again, TAN

more, too much, LIU TAN
more; find, TAN
mortar, NESUN
mosquito, SUSUK
mother-in-law, BANIN FETO
mould, UTUR

mouldy, NAKFUNAN
mountain, FOHO
mountain, RAI FOHO
mountain foot, RAI HUN
mountain top, RAI TUTUN
mouth, IBUN

move, MUDA (P)
mud, clay, TAHU
mutual, reciprocal, MALU


nail, KUSA

name, NARAN
navel, HUSAR
near, close, RABAT
near, close, BESIK
needle, DAUN

nest, KNUUK
net for shrimps, LAHAT
new, young, FOUN
night, KALAN
nine, SIA
nipple, SUSU MATAN

no, not, LA, LAE
noble class, DATO
none, LA IDA
none, LA IHA
north, LORO RAI
nose, INUS

not long, soon, LAKLEUR
not much, LA DUN BARAK
not yet, SEI DAUK
nothing, LA-OS
nothing, LA BUAT IDA
now, past tense particle, ONA

now, AGORA (P)


octopus, KUIK, KURITA
often, continually, BEIBEIK
old man, KATUAS

old woman, FEIK
on foot, walk only, LA'O DE'IT
on left, IHA KARUK
on right, IHA LIMAN LOS
on the bottom, IHA KIDUN
on top, IHA TUTIN

once, DALA IDA
one, IDA
one only, IDA DE'IT
onion, LIS BOT
only, DE'IT
only, alone, MESA, MESAK

open, LOKE
open, bare, a shred, KLES
opposite side, SOURIN BALU
or, KA
orphan, OAN KIAK

other, another, SELUK
our, ITA NIA
ours, ITA NIAN
outside, LIUR
overseas, TASI BALUN

oyster, TIRAN


paddy field, NATAR

palm of jand, HAKDIRUN
palm wine, TUAKA
paper, letter, book, SURAT
parcel, FALUN
pacel, package, FUTUN
pawpaw tree, AI DILA

pawpaw fruit. AI DILA FUAN
pay, repay, SELU
pea, ERAVILA (P)
peanut, FOREI RAI
pencil, LAPIS (P)
penis, LASAN

person, EMA
pestle, ALU, ALUN
petal, KINAS
pick, gather, KU'U
pick up, HILI

pig, FAHI
pillow, KLUNI
pimply, fruitful, FUAK
pineapple, ANANAS (P)
place, spot, position, FATIN

plain, RAI TETUK
plank, board, AI KEBELAK
plate, HANEK
plate, BIKAN
play cards, JOGA SURAT (I)

play, JOGA (P)
plough up, SO'O
poor, orphan, KIAK
possum, LAKU
post, stake, RIIN
pot, SANAN

potato, FEHUK ROPA
pound, crush, FAI
pour liquid, FUI
precipice, RAI HORUN
pregnant, KABUK
pregnant, KOU'US

prce, cost, FOLIN
pull, drag, DADA
pull, jerk, FOKIT
pull out, FUKIT
pumpkin, LAKERU
punch, strike, TUKU

pupil, MATAN OAN
purse, KOJE
purse (woven), TIU
push, DUDU
put, place, TAU
python, FOHO RAI


quail, KIUKAE
question, HUSU LIA


rain, UDAN
rainbow, BAUR
raining, UDAN TAU
range, RAI LOLON
rat, LAHO
rattle, NAKDOKO

red, MEAN
relatives, MALUK
restaurant, UMA HAN
return, HAFILA
return, go home, FILA FALI
rice, HARE

rice (cooked), ETU
rice (Husked), FOS
rice paddy, HARE NATAR
rice powder, talc, BADAAK
rice stem, HARE KAIN
rich, KMAUS

right, KUANA
right, correct, straight, LOS
ring, KADELI
ripe, TASAK
river, MOTA
river bed, MOTA SULI

river (lower reaches), MOTA AIN
river mouth, MOTA IBUN
roast, SONA
roast, TUNU
roll up, BOBAR

root, AI ABUT
root, ABUT
rope, TALIN
rose, AI NAR
rotten, DODOK
rough sea, TASI BOOT

round, plump, KABUAR
rowdy, HAKSI'AK
run away, HALAI


sack, BUU, KBUU

sacred, LULIK
saddle bag, KUDA KOTUK
saffron, KINUR
sago, AKAR
salt, MASIN

same, similar, HANESA, HANESAN
sandalwood, AI KAMELI
sap, juice, resin, AI BEN, AI UEN
sarong, LIPA
savage, untamed, BUIS

savage, wild man, EMA FUIK
saw, KADO
sawdust, AI RAHUN
say, speak, DEHAN
scent, MOURIN
school, ESKOLA (P)

scoop water, KURU
scorch, burn, SUNU
scorpion, SAKUNAR
scratch, itchy, KATAR
seas, TASI
sea bottom, TASI KIDUN

seas water, TASI BE
secret, LIA SUIK
see, look, HARE
seed, MUSAN
seek, look for, BUKA
sell, FA'AN

serve meal, SURU
sesame, LENA
seven, HITU
shade, AI MAHoN
shade, MAHN
shark, IU

sharpen, KADI
shop, LOJA (P)
shore, reef, METI
short, BADAK

shot, discharge of gun, TIRU
shoulder, KBAS, KEBAS
shout, yell, HAKILAR
shrimp, BOEK
shut, close, TAKA

shut, cork up, SULAN
shy, ashamed, MOE
sick, MORAS
silent, keep quiet, NONOOK
silver, OSAN MUTIN

sing, HANANU
sink, MOUT
sir (polite title), NA'I, NA'IN
sister, BIIN
sister-in-law, KA'AN
sit, TUR

six, NEEN
slave, ATAN
sleep, DUKUR
sleeping area, LANTEN

sleeping mat, BITI
slender, slim, LOTUK
slope (of hill), RAI KLEAN
small, little, UIT OAN
small marsupial, MEDA

smallpox, KOLAR
smell, HORON
smoke, AHI SUAR
smoke tobacco, FUMA (P)
smooth, KABEER
snail, slug, BABUKU

snake, SAMODO
snake, SAMEA
snot, KUUS
so, so much, NAHUN
so, therefore, NU'U NE'E

soap, SABAUN (P)
sock, MEIAS (P)
soft, gentle, MAMAR
sold, firm, METIN
some, part, half, BALU
something, BUAT RUMA

song sung at gatherings, DAHUR
soon, not long, LA KLEUR
sorcerer, BUAN
soul, spirit, KLAMAR
soup, MODO BEN
sour, SIIN

south, LORO LOR
sow seed, plant, KUDA
soya bean, FOREI KELI
span of hand, HAKAT
speak, talk, KO'A LIA
speak, say, HETETEN, DEHAN

spear, DIMA
spider, LABADAIN
spirit (of dead), MATE KLAMAR
spit, TAFUI
spoon, KANURU
spread out, divide, NAHE

spring, BE MATAN
spur for cock fighting, TARA
stable, corral, LUHAN KUDA LUHAN
stake, post, AI RII, AI RIIN
star, FITUN
steal, NA'UK

steam shop, RO AHI
steel, BESI ASU
steel, hard, ASU (P)
step, ODAN
step, pace, HAKAT AIN
stink, smell, DOIS

stomach, KABUN
stomach ache, KABUN DULAS
stomach ache, KABUN MORAS
stone, rock, FATUK
straight tree, AI LOS
stranger, foreigner, MALAE

strawberry, MORANGU (P)
strength, BIIT
strong, ROSAK
strong, sturdy, MAKA'AS
strong wind, UARAT
strong wind, ANIN BOOT

stupid, BEIK
suckle, SUSUN
suffer, TERUS
sugar cane, AU TOUHU
sun, LORO

Sunday, DOMINGU (P)
sunrise, LORO SA'E
sunset, west, LORON MONU
superlative, LIU
swallow, TOLAN
swamp, BE KOLAN

sweat, KOSAR
sweep, DASA
sweet, MIDAR
sweet corn, BATAR NURAK
sweet potato, FEHUK MIDA

sword, SURIK
syringe, BABURIT


tail, IKUN
take, carry, HODI

take away, HASAI
talc, BADAAK
tamarind, SUKAIR
tame, MAUS
tasty, nice, FURAK
tea, SA

teacher, GURU (I)
teacher, MESTRE (P)
tear, ripe, LES
tears, LUUN

ten thousand, REBEN
testicles, LASAN FUAN
thanks, OBRIGADO (P)
that, NE'E BA
that, those, IDA NE'E BA
there, IHA NE'EBA

therefore, NE'E DUNI
therefore, so, then, HAFOIN
these, NE'E MAI
they, SIRA, SIA
thick, MAHAR
thick, BOKAR

thigh, KELEN
thin, MIHIS
thing, BUAT
think, remember, HANOIN
thirsty, HAMROOK
this, that, NE'E

this one, IDA NE'E MAI
this one, this, IDA NE'E
this definitely, IDA NE'E DUNI
this time, then, IHA ORAS NE'E
thorn. AI TARAK
thousand, RIHUN

thread, LAHAN
three, TOLU
thresh grain, BE'U
throw away, discard, SOE
throw; past tense, TIHA
thunder, RAI TARUTA

tie up, FUTU
tight, narrow, KLOOT
timid, FODAK
tin, KALEN
tip, extremity, ROHAN
tired; wages, KOLE, KOLEN

to, at, on, in, IHA
tobacco, TABAKU
today, OHIN
today, LORON NE'E
toilet, SENTINA (P)

toilet, LIUR FATIN
tomorrow, ABAN
tongue, NANAL
too HOTU
too, MOS
tooth, NEHAN

top, summit, TUTUN
touch, BOK
touch, feel, KOKOK
touch, feel, LAMAS
towards, KONA
track, road, DALAN

tradesman, BADAQIN
trample, SAMA
travel about, LEMU
treacherous, LARAN MAKEREK
tree, wood, firewood, AI
tree base, AI HUN

tremble, NAKDEDAR
ticky, BOBAR
tricky, variegated, MAKEREK
trim, cut (garden), LERE
truly, TEBES
truck, bus, KARETA (P)

trunk of tree, AI LOLON
trunk of tree, HUN
try, attempt, KOKO
tuber of all kinds, FEHUK
turn, FILA
turtle, LENUK

twenty, RUANULU
twist, DULAS
two, RUA


ugly, deformed, OIN AAT

umbrella, SALURIK
uncle older than brother, AMAN BOOT
uncle younger than brother, AMAN KIIK
underside, IHA OKOS
unnecessary, LALIKA
until, TO'O

urinate, MII
uterus, OAN FATIN


valley, TAI TETU
vegetable, MODO

vein, UAT
verse in two lines, DADOLIN
very little, UIT OAN DEIT
vinegar, TUA SIIN
virgin, FETO RAN
voice, noise, LIAN

volcano, RAI SUUT
vomit, MUTA


wait, HEIN
wall, DIDIN

want, desire, HAKARAK
war, FUNU
wash, FASI, FASE
wash clean, FASI MOS
water, BE, UE
water vesssel, KDORAN

wax, LILIN
we (exclusive), AMI
we (incl), you (polite), ITA
weave, SOURU
wet, BOKUN

wet weather, RAI UDAN
whale, UUD
what, SA
where, IHA NE'E BE
which, what, SA IDA

which, who, NE'E BE
which who, IDA NE'E BE
whisper, blow softly, HUU
whistle, KFUI
whistle, HAKFUIK
white, MUTIN

who, whom, SE
whoever, NARAN IDA
why, NU'U SA
why, because, TAN BA
widowed, FALUK

wife (impolite), FEN
wife (polite), KABEN
wild, savage, FUIK
win, earn, MANAN
wind, ANIN
window, DINELA (P)

wine, TUA
winnowing basket, LAFATIK
wipe, brush, KOSE
without, not any, LAEK
woman, FETO
woman's song, SABULU

word, speech, LIA
work, job, KNAAR
worm, ULAR
wound, HAHANEK
wound, injure, KANEK

wrong, LA LOS


yam, TALAS
year, TINAN
yellow, KINU

you (plural), IMI
you (singular), O
young, immature, NURAK
young, single nobleman, KLOSAN
young boy, OAN MANE
young girl, OAN FETO

young leaf, AI TAHAN OKAT
younger brother, ALIN
younger sister, ALIN FETO
yours, IMI NIAN



How are you? (lit. are you well or not?)
O di'ak ka lae?

Not bad. (lit. some good, some bad)
Balu di'ak, balu att

Farwell. (by horse, lit. hold tight the horse)
Hatos kuda di'ak

Farewell. (by foot, lit. see the road well)
Hare dalan di'ak

We have (just) arrived.

Ami to'o ona.

They have arrived (some time ago).
Sira to'o tiha.

We will go tomorrow.
Ami sei ba aban.

He came yesterday.

Nia mai tiha horiseik.

We are going home.
Ami fila fali ba uma.


"Ita" is used as you is always polite to strangers.
"O" for "you" is familar usage.

What is your name?
Ita nia naran sa? (ita=polite)

What is your name?
O nia naran sa? (To servants)

My name is John.

Ha'u nia naran John.

My firend's name is Robert.
Ha'u nia belu nia naran Robert.

What is your wife's name?
Ita nia kaben naran sa?

My wife's name is Betty.

Ha'u nia kaben naran Betty.

How old are you?
Ita tinan hira? (ita=polite)

When will you give birth?
Ita fo hahouris uain hira? (or bain hira?)

When is your birthday?

Bain hira (uain hira) mak o halo o nia tinan?

In my house we have two children
Iha ha'u nia uma, ami iha oan rua.

Where do you live?
Ita hela iha ne'e be? (ita=polite)

Where are you going?

Ita ba iha ne'e be?

I live in Fatu Kai.
Hau hela iha Fatu Kai.

What is the name of your village?
Ita nia knua naran sa? (ita-polite)

How many days can we stay here?

Ami bele hela iha ne'e, loron hira?

You can stay as long as you wish.
Ita futar bele hela nafatin.

What is the time?
Oras ne'e, tuku hira?

What is that?

Buat ne'e sa?


We want to drive a car.
Ami hakarak atu kair kareta ida.

What time does the bus leave?
Bus ba tuku hira?

What time does the bus arrive?
Bus to'o tuku hira?

The bus arrives at one o'clock.
Bus mai tuku ida.

What is the name of this place?

Iha fatin ida ne'e naran sa?

We want to find a bed.
Ami hakarak atu hetan toba fatin.

We want one bed for tonight.
Kalan ne'e, ami hakarak atu hetan toba fatin ida de'it.

Where is the place for us to sleep?

Ami nia toba fatin, iha ne'e be?

We are looking for an inn (lodging house)
Ami buka pousada ida.

We go overseas at seven o'clock.
Ami ba tasi balu iha tuku hitu.

We will return at two o'clock.

Ami sei fila fali iha tuku rua.

You must take this with us.
O sei lori ida ne'e ho ami.

Can you show me the road to Dili?
Ita bele hatudu ba ha'u, dalan ba Dili iha ne'e be?

I want to talk on the telephone.

Ha'u hakarak atu ko'alia ba arame.

Can I go onthe other side of the river?
Ha'u bele ba iha mota balu ba?

Can we travel this road?
Ami bele la'o dalan ne'e?

We want to trabel to the mountains near the Ainaro district.

Ami hakarak ba atu hare foho iha besik Ainaro.

I want to send a letter overseas.
Ha'u hakarak atu jaruka surat ba tasi balu.

Can we go to see Timor dancing?
Ai bele ba atu hare tebedai Timor?

Wait three hours. The we will come back.

Hein to'o oras tolu. Hafoin ami fila fali.

Buy and Sell

I want to buy food.
Ha'u hakarak atu sosa hahan.

I want to buy fruit.
Ha'u hakarak atu sosa ai fuan.

I want to buy a gold necklace.
Ha'u hakarak atu sosa kaeli osa mean.

I want to buy a gold ring.
Ha'u hakarak atu sosa kadeli osa mean.

We want to buy cigarettes.

Ami hakarak atu sosa sigaro.

Where can we find tobacco?
Ami bele hetan tabaku iha ne'e be?

We want to buy two hands of bananas.
Ami hakarak atu sosa hudi sasuit rua.

We want to buy some woven wallets.

Ami hakarak atu sosa ti'u balu.

We want to buy some tais (indigenous cloth).
Ami hakarak atu sosa tais balu.

Do you sell cloth?
Ita fa'an hena?


What is the name of this food?
Hahan ne'e naran sa?

Is this good?
Ida ne'e di'ak?

Is this water good to drink?

Ue ne'e atu hemu di'ak?

I will only eat vegetables.
Ha'u sei ha modo de'it.

We will eat pork.
Ami bele ha na'an fahi.

We will not accept dog meat to eat.

Ami la kohi ha na'an asu.

Kid meat is all right but I don't want old goat meat.
Na'an bibi oan dia'k mai be ha'u la kohi na'an bibi katuas.

I wish to drink coffee with one spoon of sugar.
Ha'u hakarak atu hemu cafe ho masin midar kanuru ida.


Do those youths go to school?
Labrarik (lauarik) sira ne'e ba eskola?

Is that a nice person?
Ema ida ne'e furak?

When does the school year begin?

Eskola tinan hahu bain hira (uain hira?)

What time does school begin?
Eskola hahu tuku hira?

I want to go to the toilet.
Ha'u hakarak atu ba kakus sentina.

I want to eat sasouru (rice gruel for upset stomach).

Ha'u hakarak atu ha sasouru.

I must take this medicine.
Ha'u sei hemi ai mouruk ne'e.

Put the bandage on this wound.
Tau hena iha kanek ne'e.

You must open the door.

Ita sei loke oda matan.

You must close the door.
Ita sei loke oda matan.

Today we want to go to church.
Ohin, ami hakarak atu ba uma kreda.

Today, we are going to see the market.

Ohin ne'e, ami ba atu hare basar.

Is this your house?
Uma ne'e ita nian.

Where do you live?
O hela iha ne'e be?

Is the government good?

Ema ne'e ukun di'ak?

Will you wash these clothes?
Ita bele fase rope sira ne'e?

I want a shower.
Ha'u hakarak haris.

Do you speak English?

Ita ko'alia English?

The word in English is called ...; what is it in Tetun?
Iha English lia fuan naran ...; iha Tetun naran sa?

How much is this?
Ne'e osan hira?

Does anyone speak English?

Ema rumah hatene ko'alia English?

I can teach you to speak English words.
Ha'u bele hanourin ita atu ko'alia lia fuan English.

It is hot.
Rai manas.

It is wet.

Rai bokon.

It will soon rain.
Udan besik ona.

The wind is strong, therefore it will rain soon.
Anin maka'as, hafoin udan besik ona.

How many children are yours?

Oan hira o nian?

How many wives have you?
O iha kaben hira?

We want to see a cock-fight.
Ami hakarak atu hare futu manu ida.

I want to ride a horse.

Ha'u hakarak sa'e kuda ida.

Maize is traded in the following bundles.

1 bukar = 2 to 3 cobs
10 bukar = 1 talin
10 talin = 1 tur
10 tur = 1 kesak
10 besak = 1 batan