Tetum (tetun) is an Austronesian tetum language , the state language and one of the two official languages of East Timor . Some dialects of tetum were greatly influenced by Portuguese , the country's second official language . This influence is especially noticeable in the field of vocabulary and some aspects of grammar .
|Self name||Tetum, Tetun, Lia-Tetun|
|Country||East Timor , Indonesia , Australia , Portugal|
|Official status||East Timor|
|Regulatory Organization||National Institute of Linguistics (INL)|
|Total number of speakers||800,000|
|Category||Languages of Eurasia|
Malay Polynesian languages
|BPS language code|
The spelling of "tetum" with -m goes back to Portuguese spelling, since in the tetum itself this word is written in -n . Because of this, some consider the tetun variant a more suitable form. "Tetun" is used by some native speakers (including José Ramos-Horta and Carlos Felipe Shimenes Belo ) and is identical with the Indonesian spelling. However, spelling with “m” has a longer tradition.
Linguogeography / Current Situation
Tetum splits into four dialects :
- Tetun-Dili or Tetun-Prasa (literally “urban Tetum” - it is spoken in the capital of the country Dili and around, in the northern part of the country.
- Tetun-terik - distributed in the south and in the south-western coastal regions.
- Tetun Belu, or Belun dialect, is common in the central belt of the island from the Ombai Strait to the Timor Sea and is divided between East and West Timor (in West Timor it is considered as bahasa daerah (“regional language”), not having official status in Indonesia ).
- The Nana'ek dialect is in the village of Metinaro, located on the coastal road between Dili and Manatuto .
Tetun-bela and tetun-terik are well understood only within their ranges. Tetun-prasa is a dialect spoken throughout East Timor. Although Portuguese until 1975 was the official language of Portuguese Timor , Tetun Prasa always prevailed as a lingua franca in the eastern part of the island.
Tetum did not have official status and support either under the Portuguese or the Indonesian government; therefore, standardized spelling was only recently established by the National Institute of Linguistics. Despite the existence of standard spelling, variations in spelling are still widespread. An example would be the word bainhira ("when"), which can be written as bain-hira, wainhira, waihira, and uaihira . Fluctuations between “w” and “u” reflect the pronunciation in some village dialects of Tetun Terik.
Modern spelling has its origin in the reform of spelling, undertaken in 1974 by the Revolutionary Front for the Independence of East Timor ( FRETILIN ), as part of a campaign to promote literacy, as well as in the system used by the Catholic Church after the adoption of tetum as a liturgy language during the Indonesian occupation. These reforms included the transcription of many Portuguese words that were previously used in the original spelling, for example, educação → edukasaun “education”, and the colonialismo → kolonializmu “colonialism”.
More recent reforms of the National Institute of Linguistics include the replacement of the digraphs "nh" and "lh" (borrowed from Portuguese , where they correspond to the phonemes / / and / ʎ / ), respectively, with the spellings "ñ" and "ll" (as in Spanish ) to avoid confusion with the combinations of consonants / nh / and / lh / , which also exist in Tetum. Therefore, the senhor “lord” was replaced by señór , and the trabalhador “worker” - traballadór . Some linguists support the use of the combinations “ny” (as in Catalan and Filipino ) and “ly” for these sounds, however these options were discarded due to the similarity with the Indonesian spelling. Moreover, most native speakers actually pronounce ñ and ll as [i̯n] and [i̯l] , and not as palatal consonants (as in Portuguese and Spanish). Thus, after the vowel, a diphthong is formed, and after / i / [ i̯ ] completely drops out. Therefore, señór , traballadór are pronounced [sei̯ˈnoɾ] , [tɾabai̯laˈdoɾ] , and liña, kartilla are pronounced as [ˈlina] , [kaɾˈtila] . As a result, some writers use a combination of “in” and “il” , for example Juinu and Juilu (“June” and “July”) ( Junho and Julho in Portuguese).
Along with the variability of the transcription of Portuguese borrowings, there are fluctuations in the spelling of original words. They concern the use of double vowels and apostrophe for the guttural bow , for example, boot → bot “big” and ki'ik → kiik “small”.
In the 15th century , before the arrival of the Portuguese , Tetum spread as a pidgin to central and east Timor under the auspices of the Belun-speaking Kingdom of Vehali, the most powerful state on the island at that time. The Portuguese (who had been present on Timor since 1556 ) founded most of their settlements in the west, where they spoke the language Atoni , and only after the capital was moved from Lifau (Ocussi) to Dili in 1769, did the Portuguese begin to promote the Tetum as their interregional language the colony . Timor was one of the few Portuguese colonies where local language was used as a lingua franca , not a Portuguese form. This was due to the fact that the Portuguese rule was indirect, and not direct. Europeans ruled through local kings who adopted Catholicism and became vassals of the king of Portugal .
When Indonesia occupied Timor in 1975 , declaring it the 27th province of the republic, the use of Portuguese was banned, and the Indonesian language was proclaimed the only official language. However, the Roman Catholic Church adopted Tetum as the language of the liturgy, making it the basis of cultural and national identity. After East Timor gained independence in 2002 , Tetum and Portuguese were proclaimed official languages.
In addition to the regional versions of tetum in East Timor, there are variations of vocabulary and pronunciation, partly due to Portuguese and Indonesian wagging. Tetum, spoken by migrants from East Timor in Portugal, was more strongly influenced by Portuguese, since many of them did not receive education in Indonesian.
Phonetics and phonology
The sound [z] is not aboriginal in tetum, but it is found in many borrowings from Portuguese and Malay . Previously, this sound often went to [ʒ] and was written as “j” , for example meja “table” from Portuguese mesa and kemeja “shirt” from Portuguese camisa . In modern tetum, [z] and [ʒ] are variable. For example, the word of Portuguese origin ezemplu “example” is pronounced by some as [eˈʒemplu] and, conversely, the word Janeiru “January” is pronounced as [zanˈeiru] . The sound [v] is also not original in the language and often goes to [b] , as in serbisu “work” from Portuguese serviço .
Nouns derived from verbs or adjectives are usually produced by adding affixes , such as the suffix -na'in , similar to the English suffix "-er".
- hakerek - “write”
- hakerek-na'in - "writer"
In more traditional forms of tetum instead of -na'in . the circumfix ma (k) - -k is used . For example, the noun “sinner” can be formed from the word sala as maksalak or sala-na'in . The prefix ma (k) is used if the root word ends in a consonant, for example, the noun “cook” can be produced from the word te'in as makte'i n or as te'in-na'in .
The suffix -teen (from the word "dirt" or "excrement") can be used in adjectives to form derogatory terms:
- bosok - "false"
- bosok-teen - liar
In the tetum there is an indefinite article ida ("one"), used after nouns:
- Labarik ida - child (in general).
There is no definite article, although the demonstrative pronoun ida-ne'e (“this one”) can be used to express certainty:
- Labarik ida-ne'e. - This child, a certain child.
- Labarik ida-ne'ebá. - That child, a certain child.
Possessive and genitive
The nia particle forms a possessive case :
- João nia uma - "House of Juan"
- Cristina nia livru - "The Book of Christina"
The genitive case is formed using nian , for example:
- povu Timór Lorosa'e nian - "the people of East Timor"
Usually, the plural of nouns is not indicated, but if necessary, the plurality can be expressed by the word sira "they":
- fetu - “woman / women”
- fetu sira - "women"
In nouns of Portuguese origin, the ending is preserved - (e) s :
- Estadus Unidus - United States (from Estados Unidos )
- Nasoens Unidas - “United Nations” (from Nações Unidas )
In the tetum there are no separate male and female forms of the third person singular, therefore nia (similar to dia in Indonesian and Malay) can mean “he”, “she” or “it”.
Different forms for childbirth are found only in adjectives of Portuguese origin, so obrigadu (“thank you”) is used by men, and obrigada is used by women.
Male and female forms of adjectives originating from Portuguese are sometimes used with Portuguese borrowing, especially native speakers who have received Portuguese education.
- governu demokrátiku - democratic government (from the governo democrático , masculine)
- nasaun demokrátika - democratic nation (from nação democrática , feminine)
In some cases, different forms of the kind in Portuguese borrowings have different meanings, for example:
- bonitu - beautiful, stately
- bonita - cute, lovely
In the original words of the tetum , the suffix -mane ("male") and -feto ("female") is sometimes used to distinguish gender:
- oan-mane - son
- oan-feto - daughter
To form an adjective from a noun, the particle oan is added to it:
- malae - "foreigner"
- malae-oan - “foreign”
So the Timorese will be Timor-oan .
To form adjectives from the verb, the suffix -dór (of Portuguese origin) can be added:
- hateten - “talk”
- hatetendór - "talkative"
Excellent and comparative degrees
An excellent degree of comparison of adjectives is formed by doubling:
- boot (large) - boboot (huge)
- di'ak (good) - didi'ak (very good)
- ikus (last) - ikuikus (latest)
- moos (clean) - momoos (immaculately clean)
- di'ak (good) - didi'ak (very good)
In forming a comparative degree after adjectives, the word liu (“more”) is used, followed by duké (“than” from Portuguese do que ):
- Maria tuan liu duké Ana - “Maria is older than Anna”
To describe something as the biggest or smallest, hotu (“all”) is added:
- Maria tuan liu hotu - “Maria is the oldest.”
Inclusive and exclusive “we”
Like other Austronesian languages , Tetum has two forms for “we”: ami (equivalent to Indonesian and Malay kami ), which is exclusive - “I and them” - and ita (equivalent to Indonesian and Malay kita ), which is inclusive, for example , "You, me and them."
- ami-nia karreta - “our (family) car”
- ita-nia rain - "our country"
- ida - “one”
- rua - two
- tolu - "three"
- haat - "four"
- lima - "five"
- neen - “six”
- hitu - "seven"
- ualu - "eight"
- sia - "nine"
- sanulu - “ten”
- ruanulu - "twenty"
Tetum speakers often use Indonesian or Portuguese instead of their own numerals , for example, delapan or oito “eight” instead of ualu . This is especially true of numbers greater than a thousand.
Transitive verbs are formed by adding the prefix ha- or hak- to a noun or adjective:
- were “liquid” → habeen “make liquid”, “melt”
- bulak "crazy" → habulak "drive crazy"
- klibur “union” → haklibur “unite”
- mahon "shadow" → hamahon "shade", "cover"
- manas "hot" → hamanas "heat up"
- bulak "crazy" → habulak "drive crazy"
Intransitive verbs are formed by adding the prefix na- or nak- to the noun or adjective:
- nabeen - “become liquid, melt”
- nabulak - "go crazy"
- naklibur - “to be united”
- namahon - "to be covered, shaded"
- namanas - “warm up”
- nabulak - "go crazy"
To be and not to be
There is no special verb for “to be”, although the word la'ós , which is used to deny, can be translated as “not to be”:
- Timor-oan sira la'ós Indonézia-oan. “The Timorese are not Indonesians.”
The word maka roughly translates as "which is" and is used with an adjective to enhance:
- João maka gosta serveja. - “This is the Joan who loves beer.”
The interrogative is formed by using the words ka (“or”) or ka lae (“or not”).
- O bulak ka? - "You are crazy?"
- O gosta ha'u ka lae? - "Do you like me?"
Where possible, the past tense is implied in the context, for example:
- Horisehik ha'u han etu - "Yesterday I ate rice."
However, it can be expressed by placing the adverb ona (“already”) at the end of a sentence:
- Ha'u han etu ona - "I (already) ate rice."
When ona is combined with la (“no”), it means “no longer” or “no longer”, and not mere negation in the past tense:
- Ha'u la han etu ona - "I no longer eat rice."
To show that the action has not happened yet, the word seidauk (“not yet”) is used:
- Ha'u seidauk han etu - “I have not (yet) eaten rice.”
When it comes to an action that happened in the past, the word tiha is used with the verb (“ultimately”):
- Ha'u han tiha etu - "I ate rice."
Future tense is formed by adding the word sei (“will”) before the verb
- Ami sei oho fahi . - We'll kill the pig.
Type of Verb
Perfect is formed when using tiha ona .
- Ha'u han etu tiha ona - "I ate rice."
If denied, tiha ona indicates termination:
- Ha'u la han etu tiha ona - "I no longer ate rice."
To show that an action has not happened in the past, the word ladauk is used (“not yet” or “never”):
- Ha'u ladauk han etu - “I have not eaten rice” / “I have not eaten rice”.
Continuum is formed by adding the word hela after the verb:
- Sira serbisu hela. - They (still) work.
The imperative mood is formed by adding the word ba ("go") at the end of a sentence, for example:
- Lee surat ba! - “Read the letter!”
The word lai ("only" or "slightly") can also be used for a request, not an order:
- Lee surat lai. - “Just read the letter.”
The words labele (“no”) or keta (“don't do”) are used to prohibit the action:
- Labele fuma iha ne'e! - “Don't smoke here!”
- Keta oho sira! - “Do not kill them!”
Adverbs are formed from adjectives or nouns by doubling:
- di'ak (good) - didi'ak (good)
- foun (new, recent) - foufoun (recently)
- kalan (night) - kalakalan (at night)
- lais (fast) - lailais (fast)
- loron (day) - loroloron (daily)
- foun (new, recent) - foufoun (recently)
East Timor on tetum will be Timor Lorosa , which means "Timor of the Rising Sun" or less poetic - "East Timor". lorosa'e is formed from the words loro "sun" and sa'e "rise, rise." The noun "word" is liafuan from lia "voice" and fuan "fruit." Some more words on tetum:
- aas - "high"
- aat - “bad”
- been - "water"
- belun - "friend"
- boot - “big”
- di'ak - "good"
- domin is love
- ema - “man, people”
- fatin - "place"
- feto - "woman"
- foho - "mountain"
- fuan - “fruit”
- funu - "war"
- han - “food”
- hemu - "drink"
- hotu - “all”
- ida - “one”
- ki'ik - “small”
- kraik - "low"
- labarik - “child”
- lafaek - crocodile
- lais - “fast”
- lalenok - "mirror"
- laran - "inside"
- lia - "language"
- liafuan - “word” (from lian - voice and fuan - fruit)
- lian - “voice”, “language”
- loos - “right”
- lulik - "sacred"
- mane - "man"
- maromak - "god"
- moris - "life"
- rain - "country"
- tasi - "sea"
- tebes - “very”
- teen - "dirt"
- toos - "heavy"
- uluk - "first"
- ulun - "head"
Words of Portuguese origin:
- adeus - goodbye
- ajuda - “help”
- aprende - “learn” from aprender
- demais - “too much”
- desizaun "solution", from decisão
- edukasaun "education", from educação
- entaun - “good” from então
- eskola - “school”, from escola
- governu - "government", from governo
- igreja - "church"
- istória - "history", from história
- keiju - cheese, from queijo
- komprende - “understand”, from compreender
- menus - "less" of menos
- obrigadu / a “thanks”, from obrigado / a
- paun - “bread” from pão
- povu - “people”, from povo
- profesór - “teacher”, from professor
- relijiaun - “religion”, from religião
- semana - “week”
- serbisu - “work”, from serviço
- serveja - “beer”, from cerveja
- tenke - “must have” from tem que
- xefe - chef chef
Words of Malay origin:
- atus - “one hundred”, from ratus
- barak - “many”, from banyak
- bele - “can”, from boleh
- besi - iron, from besi
- malae - “foreigner”, from melayu “Malay”
- manas - hot, from panas
- rihun - a thousand, from ribu
- sala - "wrong", from salah
- tulun - “help” from tolong
- uma - “house”, from rumah
- Bondia - "Good morning" (from Portuguese Bom dia ).
- Di'ak ka lae ? - “How are you?” (Literally “are you ok or not?”)
- Ha'u di'ak - "Everything is fine."
- Obrigadu / Obrigada - “Thank you”, male / female version (from Portuguese Obrigado / Obrigada ).
- Ita bele ko'alia Tetun? - "Do you speak on tetum?"
- Loos - “Yes.”
- Lae - “No.”
- Ha'u '[la] komprend e - “I (do not) understand” (from the Portuguese compreender).
- National Institute of Linguistics - several dictionaries and articles about tetum
- Hull, Geoffrey, Standard Tetum-English Dictionary 2nd Ed, Allen & Unwin Publishers ISBN 978-1-86508-599-9
- Official Government of East Timor - Religions and Languages
- Tetum standardized spelling (PDF)
- Colonization, Decolonization and Integration: Language Policies in East Timor and Indonesia, Nancy Melissa Lutz
- Modern language issues in East Timor (Dr. Geoffrey Hull)
- Lia Foun in Díli (from Wikimedia Commons )
- Website with sound files
- Learn Tetum ... an interview containing some information on the history of Tetum
- Traveler's Dictionary (Tetum-English and Anglo-Tetum , includes grammar information based on Tetun-Terik dialect
- Tetum on the site Ethnologue
- Sebastião Aparício da Silva Project - a project for the support and development of languages of East Timor
- Suara Timor Lorosae Daily newspaper on tetum and indonesian
- Jornal Nacional Semanário Website at Tetum