The Sarudu language is spoken in the village of Lariang, located on the coast where the Lariang River empties into the Makassar Strait and, further to the south, in the eleven villages of Sarudu township. For locations, see the sketch maps in Valkama (1987:114, 115).
Sarudu is spoken west of the Uma language area, and because of clear similarities between these languages—Uma speakers in fact report that Sarudu and Uma are mutually intelligible—Martens (1989:9) has hypothesized that the Sarudu represent an émigré community who left the Uma area more than a century ago and followed the Lariang River to the coast. Sarudu is considered a separate language for sociolinguistic reasons.
To date little beyond word list information has been collected for the Sarudu language, and even these show considerable variability. Recent editions of the Ethnologue list two dialects, namely Nunu' and Kulu (Lariang) (see e.g. Lewis 2009:448). A call for further dialect study (Friberg and Laskowske 1989:11) however has yet to be answered.
Following a visit to the Sarudu area in 1983, Grimes and Grimes (1987:59) estimated 4,000 speakers of Sarudu. A more recent population estimate for Sarudu is not available.
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.
Lewis, M. Paul (ed.) 2009. Ethnologue: Languages of the world, 16th edition. Dallas: SIL International.
Martens, Michael P. 1989. Proto Kaili-Pamona: Reconstruction of the protolanguage of a language subgroup in Sulawesi. Unpublished typescript.
Valkama, Kari. 1987. 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.