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West Makian language

West Makian
Native toIndonesia
RegionNorth Maluku, island of Makian and some areas of Halmahera.
Native speakers
(12,000 cited 1977)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3mqs

West Makian (also known by the endonym Moi[3]:104) is a divergent North Halmahera language of Indonesia. It is spoken on the coast near Makian Island, and on the western half of that island.

West Makian has been strongly influenced by a neighboring Austronesian language or languages, to the extent that it was once classified as Austronesian, as East Makian (Taba) still is. A brief description of the language can be found in Voorhoeve (1982). Much influence comes from Taba, as well as Malay, Ternate, Dutch, and potentially Portuguese.[4]



Moi has 4 vowels: a, ə, i, and u.[5]


Bilabial Dental Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop voiceless p c k
voiced b ɟ g
Fricative ɸ h
Nasal m (ɲ) ŋ

/ɲ/ is found almost exclusively in Indonesian loanwords. The only original Moi word with /ɲ/ is /miɲə/ - 'one.'

Consonant clusters are found almost entirely in the middle of words, with a few occurring word-initially during continuous speech. The majority of words have stress on the penultimate syllable, with a few having it on the syllable before or the last syllable. Stress is primarily phonemic.

There are two types of sentence intonation so far observed. One involves the tone rising sharply then sometimes falling again, a pattern used in emphatic imperatives and sometimes in questions. The other pattern is a sharp drop at the end of the sentence, used for declarative sentences and non-emphatic imperatives.


  1. ^ Voorhoeve, C. L. ([W3CDTF] 1982). "The Makian languages and their neighbours". Retrieved 2019-01-30. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "West Makian". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Klamer, Marian; Ger Reesink; and Miriam van Staden. 2008. East Nusantara as a Linguistic Area. In Pieter Muysken (ed.), From linguistic areas to areal linguistics, 95-149. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  4. ^ Voorhoeve, C. L. ([W3CDTF] 1982). "The Makian languages and their neighbours". Retrieved 2019-01-30. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ "PHOIBLE Online -". Retrieved 2019-01-30.