Uma language

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Native to Indonesia
Region Sulawesi
Native speakers
(20,000 cited 1990)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 ppk
Glottolog umaa1242[2]

Uma (known natively as Pipikoro) is an Austronesian language spoken in Central and South Sulawesi, Indonesia.



Consonant inventory
  Bilabial Alveolar Palato-
Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive p b t d             k g ʔ  
Prenasalized ᵐp   ⁿt   ⁿtʃ           ᵑk      
Fricative   β s                   h  
Nasal   m   n           ɲ   ŋ    
Trill           r                
Approximant           l   (ɭ)   j        


  • /h/ acts as a nasal in some respects and causes the nasalization of non-front vowels (e.g., [hampulu'] 'ten'→/haᵐpuluʔ/ with nasal vowels).
  • /l/ is retroflexed to /ɭ/ contiguous to non-front vowels.
  • /ʔ/ is neutralized word-initially, and is the only consonant that can occur in the coda or word-finally.[3]
  • In the Lincio variety of Central Uma, /ⁿtʃ/ is pronounced /ns/.
  • The semivowel [j] is rare, found mainly in loan words.
  • The affricate /tʃ/ is found only following /n/, i.e., in the prenasalized stop /ⁿtʃ/.

Orthographic notes:

  • /β/ is 'w'
  • /ɲ/ is 'ny'
  • /ŋ/ is 'ng'
  • /j/ is 'y'
  • /dʒ/ is 'j'
  • /tʃ/ is 'c'
  • /ʔ/ is an apostrophe or simply 'ʔ'


Vowel inventory
Front Central Back
Close i u
Close-Mid e o
Open a


1P (SG) akuʔ   -a   ku-   -ku  
1P (PL.ex) kaiʔ   -kai   ki-   -kai  
1P ( kitaʔ   -ta   ta-   -ta  
2P (SG) iko   -ko   nu-   -nu  
2P (PL) koiʔ   -koi   ni-   -ni  
3P (SG) hiʔa   -i   na-   -na  
3P (PL) hiraʔ   -ra   ra-   -ra  


  • ABS refers to pronominals in the absolutive case, while ERG refers to the ergative and GEN to the genitive.
  • 1P means 'first person,' 2P means 'second person,' and 3P means 'third person.'
  • (SG) means 'singular' and (PL) means 'plural.' (PL.ex) means 'plural exclusive' and ( means 'plural inclusive.'
  • [∅-] means that ∅ is a proclitic.
  • [-∅] means that ∅ is an enclitic.
  • In the Tobaku, Tolee', and Winatu dialects, the possessives [-nu] and [-ni] are [-mu] and [-mi] respectively.
  • In the Tolee' and Winatu dialects, the absolutives [-kai] and [-koi] are [-kami] and [-komi] respectively. The free forms [kaiʔ] and [koiʔ] are [kamiʔ] and [komiʔ] respectively.


The cardinal numbers from 1 to 10 are:

  1. isaʔ
  2. dua
  3. tolu
  4. opoʔ
  5. lima
  6. ono
  7. pitu
  8. walu
  9. sio
  10. hampuluʔ

Classification of Uma varieties

Ethnologue 2013

Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013) recognizes seven dialects of Uma.

  • Bana
  • Benggaulu (= Bingkolu)
  • Kantewu (= Central Uma)
  • Aria (= Southern Uma)
  • Tobaku (= Ompa, Dompa, Western Uma)
  • Tolee' (= Eastern Uma)
  • Winatu (= Northern Uma)

Martens 2014

Martens (2014) recognized six major dialects of Uma,[5] noting that the Tori'untu dialect is nearly extinct due to the encroachment of the Kantewu dialect and non-Uma languages.

  • Kantewu (= Central)
  • Southern
  • Tolee'
  • Tobaku
  • Winatu
  • Tori'untu

Martens also identifies two dialects closely related to Uma spoken in the Pasangkayu Regency.

  • Sarudu
  • Benggaulu (= Bingkolu)


Martens, Martha A.; Martens, Michael P. 1988. Some notes on the inelegant glottal: a problem in Uma phonology. In Papers in Western Austronesian linguistics 4. pages 279-81. (Pacific Linguistics A 79.) Canberra: Department of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University.


  1. ^ Uma at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Uma". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Michael, Martens P. Notes on Uma verbs (Canberra: Australian National University, 1988), pp. 168.
  4. ^ Michael, Martens P. Notes on Uma verbs (Canberra: Australian National University, 1988), pp. 168.
  5. ^ Martens, Michael P. Uma dialect word lists (Sulawesi Language Alliance, 2014), pp. 1-2.
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