Location and Dialects
The Kambowa language is spoken on the eastern coast of Buton Island. Preliminary information from the field suggests that Kambowa has three minor varieties:
- the Kambowa dialect spoken in the town of Kambowa;
- the Pongkowulu dialect spoken in the village of Pongkowulu immediately to the south of Kambowa;
- the Mata dialect spoken in the villages of Mata, Konde, Lagundi, Morindino, Lahumoko and Bubu.
Based on demographic data for the year 2011, we estimate there to be 6,000 Kambowa speakers living alongside an immigrant population numbering around 1,700. Besides Indonesian, other languages spoken in the Kambowa area include Kulisusu, Muna, Javanese (the village of Lahumoko is the site of a former transmigration settlement) and Bajau.
The Kioko Enclave
Immediately to the north of the Kambowa area lies the small Kioko enclave, with about 2,000 speakers or children of speakers, who together comprise roughly two-thirds of the population of Kioko village. Following the results of a lexicostatistical analysis in which Kioko and Kambowa scored eighty-two percent lexically similar (Van den Berg 1991:47), editors at the Ethnologue determined that Kioko and Kambowa should be combined as a single language (first reported in B. F. Grimes 1996:660–661).
Unknown when that decision was made, in actuality Kioko shares its closest linguistic affinities not with its immediate neighbor, Kambowa, but rather with certain northeastern dialects of Pancana that lie to the south of Kambowa. For the present we include Kioko with Kambowa, but clearly language boundaries will need to be reconsidered at some point in the future, preferably following a dialect-geography study of Pancana.
Berg, René van den. 1991. Muna dialects and Munic languages: Towards a reconstruction. VICAL 2: Western Austronesian and contact languages: papers from the Fifth International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics, edited by Ray Harlow, 21–51. Auckland: Linguistic Society of New Zealand.
Grimes, Barbara F. (ed.) 1996. Ethnologue: Languages of the world, 13th ed. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics.