Although Makassarese is now often written in Latin script, it is still widely written in its own distinctive script, also called Lontara, which once was used also to write important documents in Bugis and Mandar, two related languages from Sulawesi.
The Makassar symbols are written using mostly straight oblique lines and dots. In spite of its quite distinctive appearance, it is derived from the ancient Brahmi scripts 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 one of five diacritics above, below, or on either side of each consonant.
Some common words/phrases in the Makassar language, transcribed in the Latin script, are as follows ( ' = glottal stop):