Tombelala is spoken in villages immediately to the north of the town of Bungku on the eastern coast of Sulawesi. For the location of Tombelala, see among others Adriani's Schetstaalkaart van Celebes (included in Adriani and Kruyt 1914) and the sketch map in Mead and Mead (1991:136).
Adriani and Kruyt (1914:13) classified Tombelala as a dialect of Pamona. In a later study, Mead and Mead (1991:128) concluded Tombelala was sufficiently divergent in terms of word stock to be considered a separate language.
Coincidentally Sedoa and Tombelala both use baria as their word for ‘no,’ but Adriani rejected the notion that these languages are closely related (Adriani and Kruyt 1914:14).
In a survey conducted in 1989, it was estimated there were around 1,100 speakers of Tombelala (Mead and Mead 1991:136).
Adriani, N.; and Alb. C. Kruyt. 1914. De Bare’e-sprekende Toradja’s van Midden Celebes, vol. 3: Taal- en letterkundige schets der Bare’e-taal en overzicht van het taalgebied Celebes–Zuid-Halmahera. Batavia: Landsdrukkerij.
Mead, David; and Melanie Mead. 1991. Survey of the Pamona dialects of Kecamatan Bungku Tengah. UNHAS-SIL: More Sulawesi sociolinguistic surveys, 1987–1991 (Workpapers in Indonesian Languages and Cultures, 11), edited by Timothy Friberg, 121–142. Ujung Pandang: Summer Institute of Linguistics.