Heraan language

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Āmanava Heraʻā
Native toSelayar
Native speakers
19 million (2015 census)
L2 speakers: 16.3 million (2015 census)
  • Wanaperaʻan
  • Ruawan
  • Tinataʻan
  • Vahilan
Latin (Selayari alphabet)
Selayari Braille
Official status
Official language in
Regulated byRamuwaʻa na ʻAmanava Heraʻa
Language codes
ISO 639-1sr
ISO 639-2slr
ISO 639-3slr

Heraʻan language (Āmanava Heraʻā ['aːmanava hɛ'raʔaː]) is a Boreaurelian language spoken in Selayar where it is the sole official language and the language of the Heraʻan people, one the country's dominant ethnic groups. In 2015, it was spoken as a first language by 18 million, primarily the Heraʻan people, and as a second language by 16 million, particularly ethnic minorities in Selayar.

It is closely related to other languages in Selayar, such as Reyan languages, Vayaran languages, Tanganan languages, and more distantly to other Boreaurelian languages around the Manamana Bay.

Heraʻan is an agglutinative and synthetic language, largely trisyllabic, with verb-object-subject word order, and a typologically unusual kind of morphosyntactic alignment dubbed the Boreaurelian allignment by linguists.


Heraʻan has 16 phonemes, 12 of them are consonants and 4 are vowels, not including long variants. The syllable structure is (C)V.


Heraʻan has four surface vowels, and a distinction of length.

Front Central Back
short long short long short long
Close i u
Mid e ɛː (o) (ɔː)
Open a
  • /a/ an open front unrounded vowel similar to English "father"
  • /e/ an close-mid front unrounded vowel similar to English "bed"
  • /i/ a close front unrounded vowel similar to English "machine"
  • /u/ a close back unrounded vowel similar to English "flute"

The vowel [o] is an allophone of [u] at the end of a word, and it is rarely indicated in writing. Each vowel has a long vowel, and it is orthographically indicated by a macron above the vowel, e.g. ā. The quality of long vowels usually overlaps with the quality of short vowels, except [e], which has [ɛː] (open-mid front unrounded vowel) instead.

Heraʻan has several diphthongs, namely ai, au, iu, ia, ua, ui. This is sometimes represented as aw, yu, ya, wa, wi respectively.


Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m <m> n <n> ŋ <ng>
Plosive t <t> k <k> ʔ <ʻ>
Fricative β <v> s h <h>
Approximant j <y> w <w>
Tap r <r>

Heraʻan has a total of 11 native consonants. All stops are unaspirated.

  • Tap r [ɾ] is an allophone of [r] in word-initial position.
  • [h] is usually omitted when it occurs word-initially, and is almost unheard word-medially in some dialects.
  • [k] rarely occurs, mostly in borrowed words.


Stressing of a syllable in Heraʻan is usually predictable and non-phonemic (i.e. the meaning of a word never changes depending on the stress). The main stress always falls on the first syllable, and minor stress falls on the preceding third, fifth, etc. syllables. Inflected words usually follow the rule.


Heraʻan has pretty strict phonotactics. It has a simple syllable structure, (C)V, and most words are trisyllabic. Final consonants are not allowed, and consonant cluster are non-existent.


Heraʻan is a synthetic language that employs extensive agglutination

Boreaurelian alignment



The numbers (a wirangana) in Heraʻan are of two sets, the common and arana sets. The arana set is used exclusively for human, eg. age. The arana set are usually derived from partial reduplication of the common set, though this is not always the case.