Cia-Cia (Bahasa Ciacia / 바하사 찌아찌아)

Cia-Cia is an Austronesian language spoken by about 80,000 people on Buton Island, a part of Indonesia to the south east of Sualwesi. Most Cia-Cia speakers live in and around the town of Bau-Bau, on the soutern tip of Buton, and there are also speakers on Binongko and Batu Atas Islands.

Cia-Cia, which is also known as Buton(ese) or Butung, has quite a few different dialects, including Kaesabu, Sampolawa, Wabula and Masiri. It is closely related to Wolio, which many Cia-Cia speakers also speak.

Cia-Cia was originally written with the Gundul script, a version of the Arabic script, and is now written with the Latin alphabet.

Since 2009 some students in Bau-Bau have been taught to write Cia-Cia with a version of the Korean Hangeul alphabet using a textbook written by Lee Ho-young, a linguistics professor at Seoul National University. The idea of using Hangeul to write Cia-Cia was first proposed in 2007 by Professor Chun Tai-hyun, a professor of Malay and Indonesian linguistics at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul. Contrary to media reports, Hangeul has not been adopted as the official alphabet for Cia-Cia.

Cia-Cia alphabets and pronuciation

Cia-Cia alphabets and pronuciation


  • ᄙ is not considered a separate letter and is used to write /l/ when that sound occurs in medial position, but ㄹ is written twice when it occurs across two syllables, e.g. 빨리 (pali).
  • The empty vowel ㅡ is added before an initial doubled ㄹ, so that initial /l/ is written 을ㄹ-. However, final /l/ is written with a single ㄹ; for final /r/, the empty vowel is added, so that it is written 르 as if it were a separate syllable, as in 사요르 (sayor).

Sample text in Cia-Cia

Latin alphabet

adi sering pali nononto televisi. amano nopo'ombae ia nanumonto televisi kolie nomolengo.

Hangeul alphabet

아디 세링 빨리 노논또 뗄레ᄫᅵ시. 아마노 노뽀옴바에 이아 나누몬또 뗄레ᄫᅵ시 꼴리에 노몰렝오.



Information about the Cia-Cia language

News reports about the adoption of Hangeul for Cia-Cia

Languages written with the Hangeul alphabet

Cia-Cia, Korean

Malayo-Polynesian languages

Acehnese, Ajië, Aklan, Anutan, Balinese, Batak, Bikol, Bugis, Buhid, Bushi, Cebuano, Cham, Chamorro, Chuukese, Cia-Cia, Cuyonon, Dawan, Drehu, Fijian, Filipino, Futunan, Hanuno'o, Hawaiian, Hiligaynon, Iban, Iloko, Indonesian, Javanese, Kadazandusun, Kapampangan, Kiribati, Madurese, Makasarese, Malagasy, Malay, Mandar, Maori, Maranao, Marshallese, Minangkabau, Moriori, Nauruan, Ndrumbea, Nias, Paamese, Paicî, Palauan, Pangasinan, Pohnpeian, Raga, Rapa Nui, Rarotongan, Rejang, Rotuman, Sakao, Samoan, Central Sinama, Sundanese, Tagalog, Tagbanwa, Tahitian, Tausūg, Tetum, Tokelauan, Tongan, Toraja-Sa'dan, Tuvaluan, Waray-Waray, Xârâcùù, Yapese,

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet