Languages of Sulawesi


 In 2009, a group of Wolio speakers known as the Cia-Cia adopted the Korean script, hangul, to write their language. They had previously not had a formal means of transcribing their language. The move was supported by the Hunminjeongeum Research Institute in Seoul, which had tried to interest a number of previously illiterate Asian societies in using Hangul. The Cia-Cia initiative was their first success. The language claims about 80,000 speakers.

Further reading

Asher, R.E., and Christopher Moseley, eds, Atlas of the world's languages. London: Routledge, 2007.

Bulbeck, David, ‘An archaeological perspective on the diversification of the languages of the South Sulawesi stock’, in Truman Simanjuntak, ed., Austronesian in Sulawesi. Depok, Indonesia: Center for Prehistoric and Austronesian Studies, 2008, pp. 185-212.

Cummings, William, ‘Rethinking the imbrication of orality and literacy: historical discourse in early modern Makassar', Journal of Asian Studies 62, no.2 (May 2003) 531-551.

Noorduyn, J., ‘Variation in the Bugis/Makasarese script', Bijdragen tot de Taal‑, Land‑ en Volkenkunde 149 no 3 (1993), pp. 533‑570.

Wurm, S.A., and Shiro Hattori, eds, Language atlas of the Pacific area, part 2: Japan area, Taiwan (Formosa, Philippines, mainland and insular Southeast Asia. Canberra: Australian Academy of the Humanities, 1983.

'Southeast Sulawesi Tribe Using Korean Alphabet to Preserve Native Tongue', Jakarta Globe  6 August 2009,

Map number from Cribb, Historical Atlas of Indonesia (2000)