Published June 22, 2019
This video was recorded by Fiel Sahir and Daniel Bogre Udell in New York City, United States. Ambonese is primarily spoken on Ambon Island in the Maluku Islands of Indonesia. It is a Malay-based creole first developed by Indonesian traders, influenced by early Portuguese occupation, and then expanded as the Dutch colonized the East Indies and took it on as the language of Christian proselytization. It has remained a mother tongue of Malay Christians and a second language of Muslims in the region, spreading throughout the area surrounding Ambon including Buru, Seram, Geser-Gorom and the western Maluku Islands. Ambonese Malay has been heavily influenced by Portuguese and Dutch and has derived several grammatical and lexical features from indigenous languages. The Ambonese people share a rich musical folklore, and their songs incorporate a blend of instruments with both European and local influence, such as the steel lap guitar, violin, gongs, drums, and bamboo flute. Ambonese is spoken by about 1.4 million people and as a Malay Creole its genealogy is closely associated with Malayo-Polynesian, part of the Austronesian language family.