Coastal Konjo (Konjo Pesisir) and Highland Konjo (Konjo Pegunungan) have been regarded as separate languages on both linguistic and sociological grounds since the in-depth Makasar survey by Timothy and Barbara Friberg (conducted 1987–1988, preliminary results reported in Friberg and Laskowske 1989:3 ff.). While Coastal and Highland Konjo share linguistic and historical ties, through a process of cultural assimilation Highland Konjo has been strongly influenced by Makasar, such that today speakers of Highland Konjo more readily identify with Makasar than with Coastal Konjo. Conversely, in Coastal Konjo we find the opposite: here resistance to Makasar dominance led to a reinforcement of Konjo identity, including even the preservation of pre-Islamic cultural practices, particularly in the area known as Tana Toa (Tyson 2009:203).
Coastal Konjo comprises three dialects:
Bantaeng, spoken from eastern Jeneponto through Bantaeng Province toward Bulukumba. It is separated from the rest of the Konjo area by a Bugis-speaking corridor (the Bugis dialect in this area has in turn been heavily influenced by Konjo).
Konjo Pesisir, spoken from Sinjai in the north to Bira in the south, and from Bira westward toward Bulukumba City.
Tana Toa, a distinct and conservative dialect spoken in the north of the Konjo area. Tana Toa, ‘the old land,’ is the center of traditional culture (adat) for all of Coastal Konjo.
The assignment of Bantaeng to the Coastal Konjo language area represents a departure from Languages of South Sulawesi, where it was classified instead as a dialect of Makasar (Grimes and Grimes 1987:27).
In 1990 the number of Coastal Konjo was estimated at 125,000, including 5,000 in the Tana Toa area (Friberg and Friberg 1990). More recent estimates place this number at 200,000 (Indonesia Pelangi Nusantara 2010:114).
Friberg, Barbara; and Timothy Friberg. 1990. Konjo sociolinguistic overview. Unpublished typescript.
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, Charles E.; and Barbara D. Grimes. 1987. Languages of South Sulawesi. (Pacific Linguistics, D-78.) Canberra: Australian National University.
Indonesia Pelangi Nusantara. 2010. Profil doa suku-suku yang terabaikan. Jakarta: IPN.
Tyson, Adam D. 2009. Still striving for modesty: Land, spirits, and rubber production in Kajang, Indonesia. The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 10(3):200–215.