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The Languages of Kaupelan

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Kaupelanese Language

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Kaupelanese, or basa kaupèlan, is the mother tongue for the majority of Kaupelanese people and, beside English, the official language of the Kingdom of Kaupelan. It is an Austonesian language descendant of makuwa (or old Kaupelanese), the lingua franca of the archipelago in the fifteenth century. Kaupelanese has five dialects, Kauta (the standard form), Haimarata (spoken in northern Kiwangar), Wisanyo (spoken in western Wisanu), Palayanga (spoken in Nilau) and Terong (spoken in the Terong islands).

Kaupelanese is written in Kiwangar, a writing system derived from an ancient Indian script introduced in Kaupelan in the tenth century. By influence of European colonizers, the Roman alphabet is also largely employed. Since 1960, an official transliteration of Kiwangar was adopted, replacing the existing variants.


Atawodo is a non-Austronesian language spoken in the small island of Homafak by only 1,000 people in a bilingual community. It is the most endangered language of Kaupelan. It is classified as a Trans-New Guinean language, belonging to West Trans-New Guinean, Banda-Arafuran, Central and Hubic subdivisions. It is related to Hubian and Belahu languages, spoken in Kiwangar before the arrival of the Austronesian people. It is also related to Libaru, the ancient language of Wisanu and Suduk, spoken in Nilau.


Spoken in the eastern islands of Terong archipelago by about 30,000 people, Forti is a creole of Portuguese, introduced in those islands in the 16th century. It has influenced the Kaupelanese dialect spoken in the eastern islands, Terong.


Hakerehe, spoken in the East of Hakerehe by approximately 2,000 people is one of the non-Austronesian languages of Kaupelan. It is classified as a Trans-New Guinean language, belonging to West Trans-New GuineanBanda-Arafuran and Matutu-Hakerehe subdivisions. It is derived of Matutu-Hakerehe language, spoken in the eastern Terong islands in ancient times. Nowadays, it is considered an endangered language.


Moinate, spoken in Central and Southwestern Nilau by about 17,000 people, is the most divergent non-Austronesian language. Nowadays it is classified as belonging to an isolate group of West Trans-New Guinea branch of Trans-New Guinean phylum, influenced by some very ancient Austronesian tongues. Moinate was strongly influenced by Suduk and, lately, by the Kaupelanese dialect spoken in Nilau.


Suduk, spoken in central and eastern Nilau by around 13,000 people, is a non-Austronesian language of the Trans-New Guinean phylum, classified as belonging to the West Trans-New Guinea branch and to Banda-Arafuran, Central and Southern subdivisions. It is related to Atawodo and to the ancient non-Austronesian languages of Kiwangar. There are two dialects, Suduk Kelo or High Suduk, spoken in the central highlands and Suduk Paro or Low Suduk, spoken in the Southeastern coast. Suduk was slightly influenced by the language of the ancient realm of Tjanwadulan and lately, by Kaupelanese.



Taumelan is a creole language spoken in the eastern and northeastern Kiwangar by approximately 170,000 people. Its basic structure and vocabulary are derived from Ambon Malay spoken in Maluku Islands in the eighteenth century. It has a substratum from Belahu, an ancient aboriginal language of Kiwangar and a strong influence of Old and Modern Kaupelanese. Some Arabic words are found in this language due to the Muslim religion.


Although Waimahui, spoken in the mountains of central Wisanu by about 30,000 people, is closely related to Kaupelanese, both languages are not mutually intelligible. Waimahui is classified as belonging to Austronesian family; Central Eastern Malayo-PolynesianBandanic; Western-Bandanic.


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