Bajaw is a member of the Sama-Bajaw branch of the Malayo-Polynesian language family. It is spoken by about 260,000 people in in the southern Philippines, eastern Malaysia and eastern Indonesia.
Bajaw is also known Bajau, Bajo, Bahasa Bajau or Bahasa Sama-Bajau. There are three main dialects: West Coast Bajau, Indonesian Bajau and Mapun.
West Coat Bajau is spoken by about 55,000 people in the state of Sabah in Malaysia.
Indonesian Bajau has about 150,000 speakers in Indonesia, particularly in the provinces of North Maluku, South Sulawesi, North Sulawesi, Gorontalo, Southeast Sulawesi and in the Lesser Sunda Islands (Nusa Tenggara).
Mapun is spoken by about 43,000 people in the Philippines, particularly on Mapun Island in Tawi-Tawi Province, and also in Palawan Province. There are also about 15,000 Mapun speakers in the Malaysian state of Sabah.
Bajaw has a rich oral tradition, however it is rarely written. There are several ways to write it with the Latin alphabet developed by linguists and native speakers of the language.
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