With a population of over two million (Indonesia Pelangi Nusantara 2010:116), the Makasar are the second largest ethnic group of Sulawesi. The Makasar kingdom has a rich history, including a time when their fleets extended Makasar influence to places as far flung as Sumbawa and northern Sulawesi.
The dialects of Makasar form a straightforward continuum from Maros and Pangkajene in the north through Makassar City and southward and eastward along coast. Three principal dialects have sometimes been recognized, respectively Maros-Pangkep, Lakiung (Goa-Takalar), and Turatea, spoken in the western part of Jeneponto Province. In the eastern part of Jeneponto and further east, e.g. Bantaeng, people align their speech variety with Coastal Konjo.
For historical reasons, the name of the city is spelled Makassar, with a double s. When refering to the people group or language, we use a single s (Makasar), since this spelling reflects how the name is actually articulated. The spelling with single s also has some precedence; among others it was used by François Valentijn in his eighteenth-century history of eastern Indonesia (Valentijn 1724–1726).
The Makasar language has a centuries-old literary tradition in which the so-called Makasar or lontara' script was used to write the language, originally on connected strips of lontar palm leaflets (see Noorduyn 1993 inter alia).
Indonesia Pelangi Nusantara. 2010. Profil doa suku-suku yang terabaikan. Jakarta: IPN.
Noorduyn, J. 1993. Variation in the Bugis/Makasarese script. Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 149:533–570.
Valentijn, François. 1724–1726. Oud en nieuw Oost-Indiën. 8 vols. Dordrecht, Amsterdam: Joannes van Braam, Gerard Onder de Linden.