Linguistic classificationAustronesian

The Makassar languages are a group of languages spoken in the southern part of South Sulawesi province, Indonesia, and make up one of the branches of the South Sulawesi subgroup in the Austronesian language family.[1][2] The most prominent member of this group is Makassarese, with over two million speakers in the city of Makassar and neighboring areas.

The status of the Makassar languages other than Makassarese as distinct languages is not universally accepted. In older classifications,[3] but also in recent studies by local linguists,[4] they are considered to be dialects of the Makassarese language.



A characteristic feature of the Makassar languages is the occurrence of echo vowels with stems ending in final /r/, /l/ or /s/. E.g. /botol/ 'bottle' is realized as bótolo in Selayar and Coastal Konjo, and as bótoloʔ in Makassarese (the latter regularly adds a glottal stop to the echo vowel). This echo vowel is dropped if a suffix is added, but retained if followed by an enclitic.[5]

Makassarese Selayar
base /rantas/
with suffix /rantas/ + /-aŋ/
/lambus/ + /-aŋ/
with enclitic /rantas/ + /=ak/
'I am dirty'
/lambus/ + /=a/
'I am straight'

Lexical differences

Makassarese Coastal Konjo Selayar
Gowa (Standard) Jeneponto
to make appareʔ (archaic báyu) anghaju aʔbuaʔ
to sit ammempo (poetic tudang) accidong accidong attolong
hungry cipuruʔ paʔre paʔre paʔre
why angngapa angngura angngura angngura
many, much jai loe lohe lohe
house ballaʔ ballaʔ, bola sapo
friend agang urang urang urang
with siagang surang siurang surang
water jeʔneʔ ére jeʔneʔ
egg bayao bajao tannoro
dog kongkong asu asu
cat miong cammiʔ cammiʔ, meong meong
leaf lekoʔ raung taha
black leʔleng bolong etang
white keboʔ pute pute
eight sagantuju karua karua
nine salapang salapang kaʔassa
vegetable gangang utang gangang


  1. ^ Grimes, C. E. and B. E. Grimes (1987). Languages of South Sulawesi. Canberra: Department of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University. doi:10.15144/PL-D78. ISBN 0858833522.
  2. ^ Friberg, T. and T.V. Laskowske (1989). "South Sulawesi languages". In: J.N. Sneddon (ed.), Studies in Sulawesi linguistics part 1, pp. 1-17. Jakarta: Badan Penyelenggara Seri Nusa.
  3. ^ Esser, S.J. (1938). "Talen". Atlas van Tropisch Nederland. Blad 9a. Batavia: Topografische Dienst.
  4. ^ Ramlah Mappau (2017). "Konstituen Pengungkap Negasi Dalam Bahasa Makassar Dialek Lakiung dan Turatea" [Constituent of Negation Expression in Makassarese Language Dialect of Laking and Turatea]. Sawerigading (in Indonesian). 23 (1): 127–137.
  5. ^ Basri, Hasan; Broselow, Ellen; Finer, Daniel (2012). "The end of the word in Makassar languages" (PDF). In Borowsky, Toni; Kawahara, Shigeto; Sugahara, Mariko; Shinya, Takahito (eds.). Prosody Matters: Essays in Honor of Elisabeth Selkirk. Advances in Optimality Theory. Sheffield & Bristol, Conn.: Equinox.