The center of the Tombulu language area is the town of Tomohon, and from here Tombulu is spoken in surrounding villages westward to the coast and northward toward the city of Manado.
Since Adriani (1925:141), it has been traditional to distinguish the principal Tomohon dialect from a western Taratara dialect, even though the differences between these dialects has yet to be properly elaborated (Sneddon 1970:16).
Sneddon (1983) reports 60,000 speakers of Tombulu—an estimate which probably dates to the author’s work in Minahasa in the early 1970s. In the present day the language is in decline, particularly in urban centers, and no updated speaker population estimates are available.
Adriani, N. 1925. De Minahasische talen. Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde van Nederlandsch-Indië 81:134–164.
Sneddon, J. N. 1970. The languages of Minahasa, North Celebes. Oceanic Linguistics 9:11–36.
Sneddon, J. N. (compiler.) 1983. Northern Celebes (Sulawesi). Language atlas of the Pacific area, part 2: Japan area, Taiwan (Formosa), Philippines, mainland and insular South-east Asia (Pacific Linguistics, C‑67), edited by Stephen A. Wurm and Shirô Hattori, map 43. Canberra: Australian National University, Australian Academy of the Humanities and The Japan Academy.