Classified as a language of the South Sulawesi subgroup of the Austronesian language family, Mamuju is spoken in the newly formed West Sulawesi province of Indonesia.

Mamuju is a language spoken in the newly formed West Sulawesi province of Indonesia. Like most languages of Sulawesi, Mamuju is giving way to regional dialects of Indonesian, the national language, among the younger generations.


Mamuju is classified by linguists as a language of the South Sulawesi subgroup of the Austronesian language family. Its immediate neighbors are Seko Padang, Kalumpang, two languages of the South Sulawesi family, and Topoiyo, a Pamona-Kaili language, to the north.


As is also the case with most local languages in Indonesia, there is virtually no institutional support for Mamuju, with the national language, Bahasa Indonesia, dominating official communication on every level as well as being the exclusive language of education. Mamuju fluency among young people is declining markedly as regional varieties of Indonesian gain ground.

Abas, Husen; Iwan W. Vail (ed). 1991. Caka-caka’ Basa To Mamunyu: Percakapan Bahasa Mamuju: Mamuju Conversations. Ujung Pandang: Universitas Hasanuddin, SIL. xxi + 123 pp. (Seri A Jilid 9)

Kaufman, Daniel. 2011. Deictic and Spatial Agreement in Mamuju (and Beyond). Invited talk. Workshop on Deixis and Spatial Expressions. Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. PDF

Kaufman, Daniel. 2017. “Lexical category and alignment in Austronesian”. In Jessica Coon, Diane Massam and Lisa Travis (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Ergativity, pp.589-628. Oxford: Oxford University Press. PDF

Muthalib, Abdul; Adnan Usmar; Abd. Rasyid; Jerniati J. 1995. Sistem Morfologi Verba Bahasa Mamuju. Ujung Pandang: PPBSID Sulawesi Selatan. v + 112 pp.

Rasyid, Abd.; Adnan Usmar. 1998. Curi-Curita To Basa Mamuju. Jakarta: PPPB. ix + 101

Yamaguchi, Masao. 1996. Minami Suraweshi no Mamujugo ni okeru Keitou Kenkyuu Shiron. Indoneshia Gengo to Bunka No. 2: pp. 91-113. (Suatu Pengkajian secara Genealogis dalam Bahasa Mamuju di Sulawesi Selatan)

Yamaguchi, Masao. 1999. On’in Taiou ni motozuku Mamujugo no Kakutei to Genmamujugo no Saikou. Journal of Linguistic and Culture Studies No. 12: pp. 27-64.

See also for a broad collection of materials on the history of Sulawesi.

In New York, ELA worked extensively with Husni Husain, a native speaker who was the sole speaker of Mamuju in New York for several decades before moving back to Indonesia. Husni Husain was a consultant for a field methods class taught by co-director Daniel Kaufman at the CUNY Graduate Center during the 2008 academic year, where students produced some of the first descriptive materials on the language. In 2010, Daniel made a field trip to Mamuju to record narratives and other oral texts with Husni Husain’s friends and family.

In 2019, ELA volunteer researcher Dan Brodkin (currently PhD candidate at University of California at Santa Cruz) undertook the analysis and glossing of text collections published by Abas and Vail (1991) and Rasyid and Usmar (1998). An example of this work can be seen here on Kratylos. Dan continues to do fieldwork on the languages of West Sulawesi as part of his doctoral studies.

Some basic Mamuju vocabulary items can be heard here: