The Mamuju language is spoken in coastal villages along the Makassar Strait from Simboro in the south to around Karossa in the north. In older times, Mamuju was one of the kingdoms which composed the Pitu Baqbana Binanga (‘seven river mouths’), a coastal confederation with ties to the upland Pitu Ulunna Salu (‘seven headwaters’) confederation.
Taking a broad view of what they considered ‘Mamuju,’ Grimes and Grimes (1987:43–45) identified nine dialects, but later studies assigned many of these varieties to other languages such as Ulumanda'. Following the research of Valkama (1987:110), Mamuju comprises four dialects: Mamuju proper (the prestige dialect spoken in and around the town of the same name), Sumare-Rangas, Padang, and Sinyonyoi.
In 1990 it was estimated there were 60,000 speakers of Mamuju, of whom 50,000 spoke the prestige Mamuju dialect (Strømme 1990:2; Grimes and Grimes 1987:37).
Grimes, Charles E.; and Barbara D. Grimes. 1987. Languages of South Sulawesi. (Pacific Linguistics, D-78.) Canberra: Australian National University.
Strømme, Kari. 1990. Mamuju sociolinguistic overview. Unpublished typescript, 12 pp.
Valkama, Kari. 1987a. Kabupaten Mamuju. UNHAS-SIL South Sulawesi sociolinguistic surveys, 1983–1987 (Workpapers in Indonesian Languages and Cultures, 5), edited by Timothy Friberg, 99–117. Ujung Pandang: Summer Institute of Linguistics.