|bahasa Ternate / bahasa Tarnate|
|Region||North Maluku (Ternate, Hiri, Kayoa, Bacan Islands, Halmahera)|
|(42,000 cited 1981)|
20,000 L2 speakers (1981)
|Latin script (Rumi)|
Historically Arabic script (Jawi)
Ternate or Ternatese (bahasa Ternate, bahasa Tarnate[Note 1]) is a North Halmahera language of eastern Indonesia. It is spoken on the island of Ternate, and some neighboring areas in North Maluku, including Halmahera, Hiri, Kayoa and the Bacan Islands. Historically, it served as the primary language of the Sultanate of Ternate, famous for its role in the spice trade. A North Halmahera language, it is unlike most languages of Indonesia which belong to the Austronesian language family.
This language should be distinguished from Ternate Malay, a local Malay-based creole which it has heavily influenced. Ternate serves as the first language of ethnic Ternateans, mainly in the rural areas, while Ternate Malay is used as a means of interethnic and trade communication, particularly in the urban part of the island. More recently, there has been a language shift from Ternate towards Malay.
Ternate and Tidore are notable for being the only indigenous non-Austronesian ("Papuan") languages of the region to have established literary traditions prior to first European contact. The Ternate language was recorded with the Arabic script since the 15th century, while the Latin alphabet is used in modern writing. Other languages of the North Halmahera region, which were not written down until the arrival of Christian missionaries, have received significant lexical influence from Ternate.
Ternate is a member of the North Halmahera language family, which is classified by some as part of a larger West Papuan family, a proposed linking of the North Halmahera languages with the Papuan languages of the Bird's Head Peninsula. It is most closely related to the Tidore language, which is native to the southern neighboring island. The distinction between Ternate and Tidore appears to be based on sociopolitical factors rather than linguistic differences. While many authors have described these varieties as separate languages, some classifications identify them as dialects of a single language, collectively termed as either "Ternate" or "Ternate-Tidore".
Ternate, like other North Halmahera languages, is not a tonal language.
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