Tukang Besi language

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Tukang Besi
Native to Indonesia
Region Sulawesi, Tukang Besi Archipelago
Native speakers
unknown (250,000 cited 1995)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Either:
khc – Tukang Besi North
bhq – Tukang Besi South
Glottolog tuka1247[2]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Tukang Besi is an Austronesian language spoken in the Tukangbesi Islands in southeast Sulawesi in Indonesia by a quarter million speakers.


The vowel phonemes of Tukang Besi

The northern dialect of Tukang Besi has 25 consonant phonemes and a basic 5-vowel system.[3] It features stress which is usually on the second-to-last syllable. The language has two implosive consonants, which are uncommon in the world's languages. The coronal plosives and /s/ have prenasalized counterparts which act as separate phonemes.

Bilabial Dental/
Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive plain p b () k ɡ ʔ
prenasalized mp mb n̪t̪ n̪d̪ ŋk ŋɡ
Implosive ɓ ɗ̪
Fricative plain β s (z) h
prenasalized n̪s̪
Trill r

/b/ only appears in loanwords, but it contrasts with /ɓ/. [d] and [z] are not phonemic and appear only as allophones of /dʒ/ which appears only in loanwords.


  1. Tukang Besi North at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Tukang Besi South at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Tukang Besi". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Donohue, Mark (1999). "Tukang Besi". Handbook of the International Phonetic Association. Cambridge University Press. pp. 151–53. ISBN 0-521-65236-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>