Tombulu language

Native to Indonesia
Region northern Sulawesi
Native speakers
(60,000 cited 1981)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 tom
Glottolog tomb1243[2]

Tombulu is an Austronesian language, of northern Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is a Minahasan language, a sub-group of the Philippine languages.

It is a local language of the Minahasa people tribe spoken in the city of Tomohon and in the villages under the Kota Tomohon administration such as Rurukan, Pinaras, Kumelembuai, Woloan, & Tara-Tara. It is also spoken in the villages under the Minahasa Regency administration in the Tombulu district, Tombariri district, Pineleng district, and two villages in the Sonder district; precisely Rambunan and Sawangan.


Tombulu language is unique compare to the other four Minahasa language. The pronunciation of the letter "L" is what makes the Tombulu language unique. In the other four Minahasa language the letter "L" is pronounce as is, but in Tombulu it is pronounce as "th" of the English language.

For example: kulo meaning white would be pronounce as kutho

English Tombulu Pronunciation
One Esa
Two Zua
Three Tellu
Four Epat
Five Lima
Six Enem
Seven Pitu
Eight Wallu
Nine Siou
Ten Mapulu
Eleven Mapulu wo Esa
Twelve Mapulu wo Zua
Twenty Zua nga pulu
Twenty One Zua nga pulu wo Esa
Yes Ene
No Zei'kan
North Amian
South Timu
West Talikuran
East Sendangan
Hand Lengan
Head Ulu
Ear Lunteng
Eye Weweren
Stomach Po'ot
Feet A'e
Grandma Nene
Grandfather Tete
Mom Ina
Dad Ama
Me Niaku
You Niko
We Kai
They Sera
Him, Her Sia
Friend Karia
Beautiful Fasung
Female Wewene
Male Tuama
Kids K'oki
Female Teacher Enci
Male Teacher Engku
Bad Lewo
Good Le'os
Water Zano
Shower Lemele
Drink Melep
School Sumikolah
Can I have some? Wehane toyo
Give Wehape
Hungry Ma'arem
Full (Kenyang) Wesu
Eat Kuman
Breakfast Sumokol
Fish Seza
Good Morning Syambae
Good Day Tabea
When Sawisa
Where Wisa
Who Sei
Go Mange
Stop Mento
Sit down Rumemez
Stand Rumendai
Walk Lampang
Walking Lumampang
Let's Go Meimo
Until Then Teintu Mo
Because Pah'paan
But Ta'an
Or Ka'pa
Very totoz
Yesterday Kawi'i
Today N'endo
Tonight Wengindo Mokan
Tomorrow Sando
Face (Menghadap) Sumaru
Ascend Sumosor
Descend Meros
Left Kawi-i
Right Kakan
God Opo
Holy Spirit Aseng Lengas


English Tombulu Pronunciation
How are you? Kura-mo?
What's your name? Sei sia ngaranu?
Where's are you going?? Mange wisako?
What are you doing?? Ma'kura'ko?
Where are you from?? Wisako ameye?
Who is he/she? Sei sia?
See you tomorrow Sando mokan
How much? Pira?
Can I have some? Wehane toyo?
Thank you Makase mo
I love you Ko'rara ateku
God of The Highest Opo Wananatas
God Almighty Opo Wailan Wangko


Tombulu language is in critical need of revitalization. It is not being spoken as a first language in its highly populated area such as Tomohon, Pineleng, and Tanawangko. Villages such as Woloan, Tara-Tara, Lolah, & Lemoh who were traditionally known as first speakers of Tombulu are not as so today. The Board of Education of the Indonesian government didn't offer any help either to the Tombulu language, or any other local languages that are in decline, because of the removal of the Muatan Lokal from the daily curriculum on all grade schools across the nation in the past few years. Muatan Lokal, if available, is a daily class which most provinces in Indonesia use to teach their new generation the local languages.

It is spoken in villages such as Kayawu, Rurukan, Kumelembuai, Pinaras, Masarang, Suluan, Kembes, Tombuluan, Rumengkor, Kali, Tondangow, Sawangan, and Rambunan all the way to the kids and once in every month, it is being use in sermons on all local churches.

At the beginning of 2013, Indonesian - Tombulu dictionary was first released and many was purchased.


  1. Tombulu at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Tombulu". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
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