Learn basic Tetun before travelling to East Timor
East Timor is a very small island but has diverse cultures and traditions and also has 32 different languages spoken across the island. From these 32 dialects, the East Timorese have been using Tetum as a lingua franca during the Portuguese and the Indonesian colonisation and now, after East Timor got its independence in 20 May 2002, the East Timor government has adopted Tetum as a national and official language.
The Department of Linguistics - National University of East Timor has decided to hire Dr Geoffrey Hull to develop a national standard Tetum and hopefully one day Tetum will become a written and instructional language at school. Geoffrey Hull has been writing a number of books on Tetum and has published a standard Tetum dictionary. Current Language Issues in East Timor. The Languages of East Timor: Some Basic Facts - (Revised 24.8.2004)
Here on this website I am not going to teach you about theoretical Tetum grammar because I am not a linguist. I have asked Dr Geoffrey Hull to contribute to our lessons, but he would not be able to contribute to this site because he is no longer work for National University of East Timor.
The lesson on this site will be much more practical, based on everyday life. Every lesson has a sound recording of how to pronounce Tetum words.
All lessons include audio for pronunciation
If you plan to travel to East Timor, the lessons posted on this site will help you understand some basic words and sentences in Tetum, so when you get to Dili airport you do not have to speak in English because you have been equipped with some Tetum sentences like DIAK KA LAE = how are you! - HAU HAKARAK ALUGA TAXI=I want to rent a taxi etc.
If you are interested in learning Tetun while you are in Dili, I recommend you DIT Tetun Course.
ENJOY LEARNING TETUM!
Learn Tetun - East Timor Phrasebook
If you want to learn baisc Tetum we recommend you to purchase this book.
Easy-to-use tips for pronunciation and grammar, useful suggestions for health needs and emergencies, sustainable travel section and best phrases for finding accommodation.
East Timor Travel Guide
A guide to the local cuisine, detailed maps and transport information - how to get there and how to get around.
This book is the work of two authors, 49 days of in-country research, and hundreds of kilometres of back-country research.