Tetum(redirected from Tetum language)
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(or Belu), a people inhabiting the island of Timor. The Tetum, who number more than 400,000 (1970, estimate), speak a language of the Ambonese-Timor subgroup of the Indonesian languages. They profess Catholicism and Islam, although ancestor worship has been preserved. The Tetum appeared on Timor not earlier than the 14th century. The main forms of their economy are land cultivation, livestock raising, and handicrafts. The Tetum live in pile dwellings. Together with developing capitalist relations, elements of feudal and communal-clan relations are preserved in the social structure of the Tetum.