Belitung People of Indonesia
Who are the Belitung?
The Belitung live on Belitung Island in Bangka-Belitung Province. The Belitung call themselves Urang Belitong. The Belitung language is a branch of the Malay language cluster. A distinctive feature of their language is that it does not have the letter ‘h’ and that they use the phoneme /E/ (as in the word ‘bet’) at the end of words that normally end with an /a/. For example hujan ‘rain’ become ujan, putih ‘white’ becomespute, and apa ‘what’ becomes ape. Another distinctive feature is that they join two or more words, such as hendak kemana ‘where do you want to go’ to become one word nakmane. This is similar to Bahasa Bangka, but Bangka uses the phoneme /e/ (as in the English word ‘mate’).