Subject details

On satisfying the requirements of this subject, students will have the knowledge and skills at an Introductory level of Tetum to:

  1. Recognise and pronounce all Tetum vowels, consonants, with appropriate intonation
  2. Use an active vocabulary of about 1000 items
  3. Recognise and produce basic phrase and sentence structures to allow short conversations and the reading, writing, and translation of short, basic texts
  4. Communicate in speaking and writing, using simple phrases, on such topics as greetings, family, food, clothes, homes, transport, and animals
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the culture and everyday life of Timor‐Leste, including such topics as home life, food culture, and local fashions.

In order to achieve these learning outcomes, each week students are expected to study for five hours as follows:  

1. 90 minutes, before online class, working on the written and audio materials for the week, and, memorising the written and spoken forms of that week’s vocabulary 

2. 120 minutes, participating in class in the virtual class room

3. 60 minutes, completing online follow-up exercises regarding listening, speaking, reading and writing skills and vocabulary 

4. 30 minutes, completing weekly assessment and quiz.  

It is also expected that students should spend at least 5 hours of individual study practising the week’s written and spoken language forms and vocabulary and reviewing feedback on their work.

    • Greetings
    • Food and drinks
    • Meat
    • Fruit
    • Vegetables
    • Clothes
    • Body parts
    • House
    • Lounge room
    • Bedroom
  • Study resources

    • Instructional methods

      • Audio/Video conferencing
      • Discussion forum/Discussion Board
      • Embedded Multimedia
      • Glossary
      • Online Quizzes/Tests
      • Online assignment submission
      • Podcasting/Lecture capture
      • Virtual Classroom
      • Web links
      • Wikis
    • Online materials

      • FAQs
      • Online Assessment
      • Printable format materials
      • Quizzes
      • Resources and Links
    • Other materials

      • Audio
      • Video


This is a subject for beginners. If you have prior experience in learning this language, this subject may not be appropriate for you. You may be required to take a placement test.

Special requirements

  • OtherDetails -

    To successfully engage in this subject students will need the following:

    • Laptop or computer
    • Computer camera (either inbuilt or webcam)
    • Headset with microphone
    • Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome browser
    • Reliable internet access
    • Access to a scanner or smartphone.

Tetum is the language of Timor‐Leste. The study of Tetum is essential for anyone
wishing to understand Timor‐Leste's society, culture and history. Timor‐Leste is a close neighbour of Australia and ties between these two countries are increasing through international security, trade and development projects. Students completing a minor in Tetum will be uniquely placed to engage with the Timorese people, state, and society. In this introductory subject, students will gain a practical command of beginner spoken Tetum, and an elementary capacity to read Tetum newspaper articles with the help of a dictionary. By the end of the subject, students should have an active vocabulary of approximately 1000 of the most frequently used and useful words in Tetum. Students will have covered the main features in a grammar of Tetum, and will have a command of the pronunciation of the language.

  • Quizzes - Testing your vocabulary every third week (10%)
  • 4 x Written tests: The test will examine your knowledge of the vocabulary, verbs, exercises and readings including dialogues you have completed to date. (20%)
  • 2 x Oral tests: The oral examinations are to test your communicative competence. Marks will be awarded for capacity to communicate in Tetum in a conversation situation. Marks will be also allocated for correctness of pronunciation and command of grammar and vocabulary. (60%)
  • Assignment translation: Translation of an article from Tetum into English. (10%)

Click on the titles of the listed books below to find out more: