Makassarese language

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Bahasa Makassar
ᨅᨔ ᨆᨀᨔᨑ Basa Mangkasara'
Native to Indonesia
Region southern tip of South Sulawesi, Sulawesi (Celebes)
Native speakers
2.1 million (2000 census)[1]
Lontara, Latin
Language codes
ISO 639-2 mak
ISO 639-3 mak
Glottolog maka1311[2]

Makassarese (sometimes spelled Makasar, Makassar, or Macassar) is a language used by the Makassarese people in South Sulawesi in Indonesia. It is a member of the South Sulawesi group of the Austronesian language family, and thus closely related to, among others, Buginese.

Writing systems[edit]

Although Makassarese is now often written in Latin script, it is still widely written using Lontara script, which once was used also to write important documents in Bugis and Mandar, two related languages from Sulawesi.

Makassarese was historically written using Makasar script (also known as "Old Makassarese" or "Makassarese bird script" in English-language scholarly works).[3] In Makassarese the script is known as ukiri' jangang-jangang or huruf jangang-jangang ("bird letters"). It was used for official purposes in the kingdoms of Makasar in the 17th century but ceased to be used by the 19th century, being replaced by Lontara script.

In spite of their quite distinctive appearance, both the Makasar and Lontara scripts are derived from the ancient Brahmi script of India. Like other descendants of that script, each consonant has an inherent vowel "a", which is not marked. Other vowels can be indicated by adding diacritics above, below, or on either side of each consonant.

Sample of a handwritten book, written in Makassarese using the Makasar script, of a diary of the Princes of Gowa. The palláwa punctuation signs, typical of this script, are drawn and colored in red, as well as a few proper names and some inserts in Arabic.
Museum display showing script comparison of Makasar (left), Lontara (center), and Bilang-bilang (right) at Balla Lompoa Museum, Sungguminasa, Gowa
1. Jawi script
2. Lontara script
3. Latin script
4. Makasar script
5. Bilang-bilang (counting script)


Some common words/phrases in the Makassar language, transcribed in the Latin script, are as follows ( ' = glottal stop):

Lontara script Latinized Indonesian Translation
ᨅᨒ balla' rumah house
ᨅᨚᨒᨚ bulu bulu hair/fur
ᨅᨅ bambang panas hot/warm
ᨌᨗᨄᨘᨑᨘ cipuru' lapar hungry
ᨉᨚᨕᨙ doe' uang money
ᨕᨗᨐᨚ iyo' iya yes
ᨒᨚᨄᨚ lompo besar big/large
ᨔᨒᨚ sallo lama / lambat slow
ᨈ ᨅᨙᨙ tabe' permisi excuse me
ᨈᨙᨊ tena tidak no
ᨀᨑᨕᨙ karaeng raja king
ᨕᨄ ᨀᨑᨙᨅ? apa kareba? apa kabar? how are you?
ᨒᨀᨙᨀᨚ ᨆᨕᨙ? lakeko mae? kamu mau ke mana? where are you going?
ᨅᨒ ballang belang get tanned
ᨅᨚᨈᨚ botto' bau smelly
ᨑᨈᨔ rantasa' jorok disgusting
ᨅᨈᨒ co'mo' gemuk fatty
ᨅᨗᨒ bella jauh far away
ᨁᨙᨒᨙ ᨁᨙᨒᨙ gele'-gele' geli tickle
ᨀᨚᨀᨚ kong-kong anjing dog
ᨍᨑ jarang kuda horse
ᨅᨙᨅᨙ bembe' kambing goat
ᨆᨚᨈᨙᨑᨙ motere' pulang ke rumah return home
ᨂᨑᨙ nganre makan eat

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Makassar at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Makasar". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Pandey, Anshuman (2015-11-02). "L2/15-233: Proposal to encode the Makasar script in Unicode" (PDF). 

External links[edit]