Lisela language

Bahasa Lisela
Native to Indonesia, Maluku
Region Buru Island
Native speakers
(12,000 cited 1989)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 lcl
Glottolog lise1239[2]

Lisela (Indonesian: Bahasa Lisela), also called Li Enyorot,[3] is an Austronesian language; in 1989 it was spoken by about 11,900 Lisela people mostly living in the northern part of Indonesian island Buru (Indonesian: Pulau Buru). It is also preserved among the small Lisela community on the Ambon Island.[4]

The language belongs to the Sula–Buru group of Central Maluku branch of Malayo-Polynesian languages. It has two dialect, major Lisela and minor Tagalisa, the latter is used by the inhabitants of the north-east coast of Buru.[4][5][6] The language is dying as most Lisela people switch either to the national language of Indonesia, Indonesian, or to the Ambon dialect of Malay language (Melayu Ambon). The latter is widely used in the Maluku Islands as a second language and is a simplified form of Indonesian language with additions of the local lexicon.[4][5]

The most closely related to Lisela is Buru language, especially its dialect Masarete – their lexical similarity is 68%.[7] Thus many sources regard Lisela as a dialect, though the most diverging, of Buru. Lisela had also borrowed much from the Sula language, as a result of the interaction between the Lisela and Sula people living together as the northern Buru coast.[3] The language has no writing system. The most detailed study of Lisela language was conducted in the 1980s by Charles E. Grimes and Barbara Dix Grimes – Australian missionaries and ethnographers, active members of SIL International (they should not be confused with Joseph E. Grimes and Barbara F. Grimes, Charles' parents, also known Australian ethnographers).[8][9][10]


  1. Lisela at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Lisela". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. 1 2 Thomas Edward Dutton, Darrell T. Tryon Language contact and change in the Austronesian world, Walter de Gruyter, 1994 ISBN 3-11-012786-5 p. 261
  4. 1 2 3 Ethnologue: Languages of the World. "Lisela: A language of Indonesia (Maluku)".
  5. 1 2 "Buru Island 6 Tribes".
  6. Barbara Dix Grimes. Chapter 6. Mapping Buru: The Politics of Territory and Settlement on an Eastern Indonesian Island, in Sharing the Earth, Dividing the Land Territorial Categories and Institutions in the Austronesian World (PDF). Australian National University.
  7. Languages of Indonesia (Maluku)
  8. "Publications by Barbara Dix Grimes". SIL International.
  9. "Publications by Charles E. Grimes". SIL International.
  10. "Chuck & Barbara Grimes, Wycliffe Bible Translators". Bethel Grove Bible Church.
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