Brickell, Timothy C.

The Toulour dialect of Tondano (ISO 639-3: tdn) is an Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian > Philippine > Minahasa > North > Northeast) language spoken in and to the east of the town of Tondano, which is located in the Minahasa regency of North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Speaker numbers are difficult to ascertain, however earlier estimations of 70,000 (Sneddon 1975:1) and 91,000 (Wurm & Hattori 1981) are now almost certainly incorrect. All the Minahasan languages are endangered and have been shifting to the most commonly used language of wider communication, Manado Malay (ISO 639-3: xmm), since the early 20th century (Wolff 2010:299). Anecdotal evidence and the personal experience of the researcher result in an upper range figure of 30,000 fluent speakers as being considered more accurate.

Tondano is not dominant in any domains of use, and is rarely used in everyday communication such as in workplaces, markets, or in the home. The last domain in which Tondano use remained strong was traditional agricultural work. However, with almost all remaining fluent Tondano speakers now aged 50 years and above, this situation is changing as speakers cease working in the fields. In contemporary society the language has little more than a token role in certain cultural settings such as church services, weddings, or occasionally speech contests in which people read from pre-prepared texts.

This data corpus is the result of fieldwork which was was undertaken by Dr. Timothy Brickell as part of PhD candidature at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia between 2011 and 2015. The speakers recorded were of both genders, of various ages, and from a number of professions, with many older speakers already retired. The texts in Multi-CAST are a subset of the 20 recordings made by Brickell. In some instances speakers discuss a topic chosen just prior to recording, in others they talk while engaging in traditional activities, while in some they narrate an elicitation video which depicts other community members carrying out traditional cultural activities.

Linguistic background


Brickell, Timothy C. 2016. Tondano. In: Haig, Geoffrey & Schnell, Stefan (eds.), Multi-CAST (Multilingual Corpus of Annotated Spoken Texts),, date accessed.