Bentong is spoken in the region where the Bugis, Makassar and Highland Konjo language areas meet. It has been regarded as a separate language since the in-depth Makassar survey by Timothy and Barbara Friberg (conducted 1987–1988, preliminary results reported in Friberg and Laskowske 1989:3 ff.).
Besides Bentong, other names for the language are Dentong and Bentong-Dentong. Although these are Bugis and Makasar words meaning ‘non-fluent,’ the names are not viewed negatively by speakers themselves (Friberg and Laskowske 1989:3).
In 1987 it was reported there were 25,000 speakers of Bentong (Grimes 1996:658). An updated population estimate is not available.
Friberg, Timothy; and Thomas V. Laskowske. 1989. South Sulawesi languages, 1989. Studies in Sulawesi linguistics, part 1 (NUSA: Linguistic Studies of Indonesian and Other Languages in Indonesia, 31), edited by James N. Sneddon, 1–17. Jakarta: Badan Penyelenggara Seri Nusa, Universitas Katolik Indonesia Atma Jaya. [Reproduced online. URL: http://sealang.net/archives/nusa/pdf/nusa-v31-p1-18.pdf (accessed January 13, 2014).]
Grimes, Barbara F. (ed.) 1996. Ethnologue: Languages of the world, 13th ed. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics.