Pannei is spoken in a hilly area north of the coastal plain that adjoins the Gulf of Mandar. For language location (including dialect locations), see especially the maps in Strømme (1987:21, 28) and Strømme and Valkama (1987:84)..
Pannei belongs to the Pitu Ulunna Salu subgroup within the South Sulawesi stock of languages. Pannei appears to share its closest linguistic affinities with the language of Ulumanda' villages to its northwest (Strømme and Valkama 1987:82)
Dialects and Population
In a survey of this area, Strømme (1987) identified two dialects of Pannei: Tapango, spoken in the southeastern portion of the Pannei language area, and Bulo, spoken in several villages along a tributary of the Mapili River. Based on 1983 demographic data, this same survey estimated 9,000 speakers of Pannei, or by dialect Bulo 5,000, Tapango 4,000 (Strømme 1987:29).
Strømme, Käre J. 1987. Kabupaten Polewali Mamasa, west-central section. UNHAS-SIL South Sulawesi sociolinguistic surveys, 1983-1987 (Workpapers in Indonesian Languages and Cultures, 5), edited by Timothy Friberg, 17-40. Ujung Pandang: Summer Institute of Linguistics.
Strømme, Kåre J.; and Kari Valkama. 1987. Kabupaten Polewali Mamasa, southwestern section, and Kabupaten Majene. UNHAS-SIL South Sulawesi sociolinguistic surveys, 1983–1987 (Workpapers in Indonesian Languages and Cultures, 5), edited by Timothy Friberg, 59–98. Ujung Pandang: Summer Institute of Linguistics.