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About Me and My Language

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I am Saipul Rapi.  My nick name is ipul; however, my families, neighbors called me ipu’.  It is the makasar dialect. I was born in Gowa on October 10.  My father and mother are makassar ethnic. My grandfather, grandmother, grand-grand father and mother were also Makassar ethnic. In our family, we only speak Makassar as daily language, mother tongue.  We only use Indonesian language to communicate with non-makassar speakers. However, mostly Makassar people including my family are not really fluent in speaking bahasa.  Their dialect and accent sound funny because every word ending with “n” will sound “ng”. For example, eat means makan in bahasa and for Makassar sound “makang”.  And this dialect becomes a characteristic of Makassar ethnic when they use bahasa in any conversation.  It sounds funny. And I think there are a lot of people cannot speak bahasa because they never go to school.      

Makassar language is in the Austronesian language family, Malayo-Polynesian sub-family, South Sulawesi language group,and Makassar sub-group. Makassar language is only used in daily speaking, and it is not an official language. Bahasa Indonesia is the official language of the government and education system. Makassar is written in both roman characters and in the lontara syllabary, both easily found together at every infrastructure such as street names and buildings.  Lontara is from Palmyra palm, lontar.


Contact Email srapi@hawaii.edu
Language classification Austronesian
Geographical areas where spoken Gowa, Makassar, Takalar, Je'neponto, Bantaeng and Maros
Approximate number of monolingual speakers 2,100,000
Official language(s) in your country Bahasa Indonesia
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Background of the Language

Total population of south Sulawesi is about 8 million which are distributed into 24 districts.  Six of these districts use Makassar. This language is spoken by about 2.1 million people. There are about 120,000in Bantaeng, 220,000 in Takalar, 300,000 in Jeneponto,  800,000 in Gowa, 200,000 in Maros and 500,000 in Makassar (http://www.bps.go.id/hasilSP2010/sulsel/7300.pdf).

Makassar is located in South Sulawesi province, Indonesia.  The name of Makassar originated from Makassar word “mangkasara”(meaning ‘rough’) and later on becoming Makassar. Makassar is also the name of the capital of South Sulawesi. This language is spread across in Makassar, Gowa, Takalar, Je’neponto, Maros and Bantaeng districts. Each district has its own pronunciation of Makassar,including tonal differences and some lexical differences. Mostly people live in coastal areas. The Maros and Bantaeng districts are under more influence than the other districts, as their dialects have more contact with other languages such as the Buginese language.

There are at least 3 languages are spoken in these areas such as bugis, duri, mandar, toraja, java and Chinese. In Makassar town,all these language are spoken because the population comes from all districts in south Sulawesi as well as from different provinces.  The writing system is called lontara.

There are at least three different kinds of tones such as in Je’neponto, Takalar and Gowa. In Takalar, they will stress more syllabi in a word compared to Gowa people.  The other district, people pronounce the words sounds like a wave.

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