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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Timor-Leste (East Timor): Languages

This guide provides resources on the country's history, languages, and government.

Timor-Leste's two official languages are Portuguese and Tetum, and its two working languages are English and Indonesian. The country also has an estimated 32 indigenous languages: Tetun Prasa, Tetun Terik, Adabe, Atauran, Baikenu, Bekais, Bunak, Dadu’a, Fataluku, Galoli, Habun, Idalaka, Idate, Isni, Kairui, Kawaimina, Kemak, Lakalei, Lolein, 
Makalero, Sa’ani, Makasai, Makuva, Mambai, Midiki, Nanaek, Naueti, Rahesuk, Raklungu, Resuk, Tokodede, and Waima’a.

The General Directorate of Statistics keeps statistics on how many people speak each Timorese language. For example, the census divides population by mother tongue and age. The latest language statistics, from 2015, can be found under the "Language" link on Volume 2 of the census publication.

Relevant Databases

Below are databases that contain articles on Timor-Leste's linguistic makeup.

Hidden Gem

Relevant Articles

These articles were all retrieved using a combination of simple keywords, such as "Timor-Leste," "East Timor," "língua portuguesa," and "Portuguese language."