Spread of Languages in Raja Ampat

Spread of Languages in Raja Ampat

Spread of Languages in Raja Ampat

Spread of Languages in Raja Ampat – The Raja Ampat Regency is a region that is very unique with a series of islands both large and small, which greatly influences both the state of the language and its speakers as well as the culture and social systems adopted by the people in this region. In addition, this area is a border area between language and cultural groups in the west, namely language and culture groups in the Maluku Islands and language and culture groups in Papua.

Spread of Languages in Raja Ampat. With geographical conditions, which are the archipelago and westernmost regions of the New Guinea archipelago, the Raja Ampat Islands are anthropologically and linguistically areas that are called an area of diversity. The term diversity is very appropriate to be used to describe the cultural and linguistic situation which is a blend of the culture and native language of Raja Ampat with the culture and language brought by migrants, both from other regions in Papua and outside Papua. This blend of culture and language has been happening for centuries.

Spread of Languages in Raja Ampat

Spread of Languages in Raja Ampat. From the survey conducted, Raja Ampat languages can be grouped as follows:

1. Ma’any language; that is, the language used by the people of the Wawiyai tribe (Kabui Bay), the Laganyan tribe (Araway, Beo and Lopintol) and the Kawe tribe (Selpele, Salio, Bianci and Waisilip). They use one language which consists of several dialects, namely Wawiyai, Laganyan and Kawe dialects.
2. Ambel language; that is, the language used by residents who inhabit several villages east of Mayalibit Bay, such as Warsamdin, Kalitoko, Wairemak, Waifoi, Go, and Kabilol, and Kabare and Kapadiri in North Waigeo.
3. Batanta Language. This language is used by people who live south of Batanta Island, namely residents of Kampung Wailebet and Kampung Yenanas.
4. Tepin language. This language is used by residents in the north to the east of Salawati Island, namely residents in Kampung Kalyam, Solol, Kapatlap, and Samate, with several dialects namely, dialects Kalyam Solol, Kapatlap and Samate.
5. Moi Language. This language is the language used by residents in Kampung Kalobo, Sakabu, and parts of Kampung Samate. The Moi language that is used in Salawati is a Moi dialect that originates from the mainland west of the Bird’s Head region, which borders directly with the Sele Strait.
6. Matbat Language. The term Matbat is the name given to identify the population and native language of Misool Island. The native people of Misool are called the Matbat people and their language is called the Matbat language. Residents who are native speakers of the Matbat language are scattered in Salafen, Lenmalas, Atkari, Folley, Tomolol, Kapatcool, Aduwei, and Magey villages.
7. Misool Languange. This name was given by Misool residents who speak Misool themselves. The Misool language is very different from the Matbat language. People who use the Misool language are called as Matlou by Matbat people, which means beach people. Misool people who use the Misool language are generally Muslim, scattered in the villages of Waigama, Fafanlap, Gamta, Lilinta, Yelu, Usaha Jaya, and Harapan Jaya. This language is also used by several Islamic villages in Salawati such as Sailolof, Muslim villages and Samate.
8. Biga language. This language is one of the migration languages located in the southeast of Misool Island, which is used by residents who inhabit Kampung Biga on the banks of the Biga River (Misool District, South East). The population and language are thought to have migrated from Waigeo Island, from Kampung Kabilol, which speaks Ambel. Researchers need to conduct further research to find out whether the Biga language has similarities with the Ambel language.
9. Biak Language. The Biak language in Raja Ampat is a language that migrated from Biak Island and Numfor together with the spread of Biak people to Raja Ampat. This Biak language is divided into several dialects, namely Biak Beteu (Beser), Wardo Biak, Usba Biak, Kafdaron Biak, and Bium Numfor.
10. Other languages. With the migration of people from the Maluku Islands and other western regions, there are also a number of languages spoken by migrants in Raja Ampat such as Ternate, Seram, Tobelo, Bugis, Buton, and Javanese. These languages are minority languages because there are not too many speakers.

Raja Ampat’s history shows that the Biak and Malay languages have long been used as the language of daily communication between tribes in Raja Ampat, especially in the northern part of the Raja Ampat region. The use of Biak language as a daily communication language (lingua franca) in this region is supported by the spread of the dominant Biak tribe and language in coastal areas and islands from Waigeo Island in the north to Salawati Island and Kofiau in the south. While the Malay language of Papua is the most common communication language used in daily activities in the Raja Ampat area.

Spread of Languages in Raja Ampat. In the history of civilization in Raja Ampat, the Malay language of Papua played a role not only as an introductory language used at all times, but also to strengthen relations between all ethnic groups and also as a language of communication with tribal groups in other regions outside Raja Ampat. Until now these two languages are still used as the lingua franca, although the Malay Malay language is very dominant compared to the Biak language.

Cultural Classification and Spread in Raja Ampat

The culture of Raja Ampat people can be classified based on their distribution in the large islands and small islands around them. The classification is as follows:

1. Waigeo Island.

Waigeo Island and its surroundings are inhabited by several tribes or sub-tribes grouped into indigenous tribes and migrant tribes.

A. Wawiyai (Wauyai)
The Wawiyai tribal group is a tribal group that inhabits the northern region of Kabui Bay in South Waigeo. In the survey it was found that this tribe only inhabits one village namely Kampung Wawiyai. However, the Wawiyai tribal group that has direct lineage with the history of the Wawiyai are residents who inhabit the island of Friwen, which is called the Wawiyai Man mon.

B. The Kawe Tribe
The Kawe ethnic group is an indigenous tribe in Waigeo who inhabit the western region of Waigeo Island. This ethnic group resides in Salio, Selpele, Waisilip and Bianci villages. Selpele and Salio villages are still the dominant areas with the Kawe tribe while the Bianci and Waisilip are already heterogeneous villages and the population of Kawe people is very small.

C. The Laganyans
The Laganyan tribe is a native of Waigeo Island who inhabit three villages around the Bay of Mayalibit, namely Araway, Lopintol and Beo.

D. Ambel (-Waren)
The Waigeo Island region which is a customary territory of the Ambel tribe is located east to the north of Mayalibit Bay and the northern coast of Waigeo Island. The villages which are tribal settlements are Kabilol, Go, Waifoi, Wairemak, Kalitoko, and Warsamdin (in Mayalibit Bay), Kabare and Kapadiri (in North Waigeo). Residents in Warsamdin Village in the estuary of Mayalibit Bay and Kabare Village in North Waigeo have mixed with residents of the Biak tribe.

E. Biak tribe
Biak tribe residents are residents who migrated to the Raja Ampat Islands from Biak Island and Numfor in the Cenderawasih Bay region (Geelvink Bay), east of the Raja Ampat Islands. They migrated over several periods of time and history, starting with hongi voyages and tribute payments to Sultan Tidore / Ternate, then followed by Biak tribal travels following the Koreri (Manarmaker) journey in the legend of traditional Biak beliefs. The last migration is expected to occur in the final years of Dutch rule (around the 1950s). Biak tribe inhabitants generally inhabit coastal areas and islands in Waigeo, namely the entire Ayau Islands (Kampung Dorekar, Yenkawir, Meosbekwan, Rutum and Reni), North Waigeo (Kampung Rauki, Bonsayor, Kabare, Andei, Asukweri, Boni, Warwanai , and Mnier), East Waigeo (Kampung Puper, Yenbekaki, Urbinasopen, Yensner), South Waigeo (Kampung Saonek, Saporkren, Yenbeser, Yenwaupnor, Sawinggrai, Kapisawar, Yenbuba, Yenbekwan, Sawandarek, Kurkapa, Arborek, Kabui). In the West Waigeo region, Biak tribe residents inhabit villages such as, Bianci, Mutus, Meos Manggara, Manyaifun, Safkabu and Fam in Kep. Fam Also, the Biak tribe spread all the way to Gag Island. The Biak tribal group is further divided into several sub-tribes, namely Biak Beteu (Beser), Biak Wardo and Biak Usba.

F. Other tribes
Other ethnic groups that historically have links with Raja Ampat are the Tidore, Ternate, Seram and other tribes in Kep. Maluku. The groups that migrated later were the Bugis and Buton tribes, followed by other Javanese;

2. Batanta Island

A. Batanta tribe
This tribal group is thought to be a native of Batanta Island. The Batanta tribe inhabit the southern region of Batanta Island, namely Kampung Wailebet and Yenanas, located in the Sagawin Strait facing Salawati Island.

B. Biak Tribe
The majority of the population in the north to the east of Batanta Island comes from the Biak tribe. Residents in almost all villages in the region speak and are cultured in Biak. The villages are Yensawai, Arefi, Amdui and part of Yenanas. The Biak tribe group in Batanta is called the Kafdaron Biak. Historically, the Kafdaron Biak are a group that migrated to Batanta Island following in the footsteps of the legendary Koreri (Mansar Manarmaker) journey from Biak Island to the west.

C. Other tribes
Other ethnic groups living on Batanta Island come from the large islands of New Guinea and Maluku, but the population is not large except for those who work in snail companies and government employees.

3. Salawati Island

A. Tepin
The Tepin tribe is a native of Salawati who inhabit the north coast of Salawati Island. They inhabit the villages of Kalyam and Solol in the Sagawin Strait. The language used is called Tepin language.

B. Fiat, Domu, Waili and Butlih
This tribal group is a group of small tribes which are indigenous tribes of Salawati Island, which inhabit the Samate, Kapatlap, Kalobo and Sakabu areas. The language used is Tepin with dialect variations in each tribe. However, each tribe calls their language according to the name of their tribe.

C. Moi (Moi-Maya)
The Moi tribal group, or often referred to as Moi-Maya or Moi-Pantai which inhabits the east of Salawati Island is thought to have migrated from the western Great Bird’s Head plain, which is the territory of the Moi tribe. This is very possible because the eastern region of Salawati Island is directly facing the Bird’s Head plain and is only limited by the Sele Strait. The language used is Moi.

4. Other Tribes

Other ethnic groups that inhabit Salawati Island are migrant tribes such as the Biak, Javanese, Ternate, Tidore, Tobelo, Seram, Bugis and Buton tribes. They are scattered in villages on Salawati Island such as Kalyam, Solol, Samate, Kapatlap, Kalobo and Sakabu.
Misool Island

A. The Matbat Tribe
The Matbat tribe is a native of Misool Island, which originally inhabited the mountainous regions. They are expected to come down and make villages in the coastal areas during the Dutch rule around 1940-1950. Their livelihood is farming and gathering sago. But now there has been a shift in livelihoods. They began to become fishermen, although not as their main livelihood. Matbat tribal groups can be found in Salafen, Atkari, Lenmalas, Folley, Tomolol, Kapatcool, Aduwei, and Magey villages.

B. Misool Tribe
The Misool tribal group is a tribal group that migrated to Misool Island about 100 years ago and is a tribal group that has experienced ethnic mixing for so long that it forms a tribal community with its own identity. This group is thought to originate from Waigeo Island, which some experts call Maya ethnic groups both people and languages, but they have also experienced mixing with ethnic groups from the Maluku Islands such as Seram, Tobelo, Tidore, and Ternate. This can be seen from the physical form of the inhabitants of this tribe, and also from the history of the Misool tribe itself. The Matbat people call the people of the Misool tribe Mat Mat, which means ‘beach people’. The language used is called Misool. The villages where Misools live are Waigama, Lilinta, Fafanlap, Gamta, Yellu, Harapan Jaya, Usaha Jaya. In general, the Misool village is slightly bigger than the Matbat village and the population is also slightly more than the population of the Matbat tribe.

C. Biga
The Biga are a group of tribes originating from Waigeo who migrated to Misool Island. This tribal group inhabits Kampung Biga on the edge of the Biga River, which means ‘place of sago’.

D. Biak tribe
The Biak tribe who inhabit several villages on Misool Island are the Biak tribe of the Biak Beteu sub-tribe (Beser). They inhabit Pulau Tikus, Solal, Wejim and Satukuro villages.

E. Other tribes
Other tribes who inhabited the island of Misool were migrants from Seram, Tobelo, Ternate and Tidore. In addition, the new arrivals on this island are residents of Buton, Bugis, Ambon, Java, and others.
Kofiau Island.

Kofiau District, which consists of several islands, is generally inhabited by residents of the Biak tribe, the Beteu sub-tribe (Beser). This tribe inhabits the villages of Deer, Dibalal and Tolobi.

Language and Culture Relations

Spread of Languages in Raja Ampat. Language and culture are two integral elements that cannot be separated from everyone’s life. Every person, like it or not, is born in a particular language and cultural environment. Each tribe in Raja Ampat tends to state their ethnic identity and language in accordance with the name of the ethnic group. For example, each ethnic group tries to name the language used by the name of the tribe, although on the other hand they state that the language they use is also used in other villages or on other islands. This phenomenon is normal. Each tribe always tries to identify their existence to other groups so that their identity is also recognized and valued by other groups.

Tribal groups in Raja Ampat have always always named their territories according to their own language. In Raja Ampat it was found that a place, be it mountains, headlands, bays, islands and others, had different names according to the ethnic groups that lived around the area. One example is naming the islands in the Waigeo region. The name written on the map and also used today by the people in this area, comes from the Biak language. However, indigenous people such as the Wawiyai who have customary rights in the South Waigeo region, call these islands with their own names in their language.

A very interesting situation is seen in the language and culture around Mayalibit Bay, Misool Island and Friwen Island. The interior of Mayalibit Bay is inhabited by two tribal groups namely the Laganyan in the west and the Ambel in the east to the north. The Laganyans reside in three villages namely Araway, Beo and Lopintol while the Ambel people inhabit villages such as Kabilol, Go, Waifoi, Wairemak, Kalitoko and Warsamdin. The two tribes are linguistically and anthropologically different, although geographically their villages are not too far from each other. But these three Laganyan villages are Islamic villages, where there has been a mixture of cultures between the Laganyan and Islamic cultures, especially regarding values, norms, and habits of life. While the Ambel tribal group is a Christian. The teachings of Christianity have also influenced elements of Ambel culture, especially the mindset, values and norms and habits of life. The same thing happened on Misool Island. All of the Matbat tribal villages still show the characteristics of original Papuan villages as seen in the villages of Magey and Aduwei. While the majority of the Misool villages have characterized villages that are almost the same as the characteristics of villages outside Papua, such as in the Maluku Islands and also in Sulawesi.
Type of Misool house in Waigama (Photo: Ucu Sawaki).

All of the Misool people are Muslim and have long since abandoned some tribal customs and customs. Whereas the majority of the Matbat are Christians and still maintain their customs. As explained earlier, the language used by these two different cultures is also different. Everyone from the Misool tribe uses the Misool language and all Matbat people use the Matbat language. Matbat residents on the other hand can use Misool language to communicate with their neighboring tribes, but Misool people cannot use Matbat language. The Biga people from the Biga tribe also characterize the same village, livelihood and other living habits as the Matbat people, which is similar to Papuan culture. Nevertheless, Biga and Matbat cultures differ in many respects. The languages of these two tribes are also very different.

Spread of Languages in Raja Ampat. The group of people who inhabit Friwen Island, as explained, is an example of a situation where the dominant culture, in this case the Biak culture, influences the minority culture, the Wawiyai culture. The inhabitants of Friwen are the Wawiyai tribe from the descendants of Wawiyai Man mon. They have experienced a change in culture and language so that now their culture is dominated by Biak culture and language. These things happened not only because of the history of the Wawiyai tribe in Friwen, but also because of economic and social factors. What is very interesting is that Friwen Village is not too far from Wawiyai Village, the only Wawiyai village in the north of Kabui Bay and is the village of origin of Wawiyai Friwen people. But Wawiyai people in Wawiyai village still use their language fluently and maintain their culture very well.The phenomenon of language and cultural relations in the Raja Ampat Islands is very interesting because Raja Ampat is a place where several cultures and languages meet and influence one another. There are tribal groups that still maintain their culture and language, some are combining them, and some are totally shifting to the culture and language of other ethnic groups.