Easy Ways to Learn Bugis and Makassar Alphabet Lontara

Art and Language in South Sulawesi, The Heaven of South Sulawesi
The language of Bugis and Makassar has a same symbol or character sounds. Alphabet of Bugis and Makassar is called Lontara. The Buginese and Makassar literature is written with Lontara had begun around the 16th century, before Islam embraced by the general population of South Sulawesi. The number of characters in this alphabet is 15 letters and 4 sound marks.

In fact, there are still many people Bugis and Makassar who can not read texts or literature wrote on Lontara. Therefore, to empower the culture, the government of Indonesia has incorporated the lessons of vernacular (local language) as one of the compulsory school curriculum in each area that are tailored to their respective local languages.

Learning Bugis and Makassar, of course preceded by the introduction of characters Lontara as mentioned above about the number of characters available. the fiveteen (15) characters are divided into 14 consonants and one vowel. For more details, look at Figure 1: Aksraa Lontara.

For The speakers of Indonesian / Malay, certainly will not find any obstacles in the pronunciation of the letters / words. The problem is that the external speakers that have different pronunciation patterns. For those who want to learn, not to worry, in any discussion session, it will be presented how to pronounce the sound.

We return to the Lontara, following This Lontara script written in the Greek alphabet (for the characters Lotara, just look at the picture 1).

Note:  The letter(s) in the bracket is not pronounced/ sounded

Ka       sound  like      Cut       =====> cu[t]    /ka/
Ga       sound  like      Guide    =====> gu[ide]    /ga./
Nga     sound  like      Bank     =====>  [ba]n[k]/ƞa/
Ngka    sound  like      Bank    =====> [ba]nk    /ƞka/

Pa       sound  like      Park       =====> Pa[rk]    /pa/
Ba       sound  like      Bar         =====> Ba[r]    /ba/
Ma      sound  like      Mother   =====> Mo[ther]    /ma/
Mpa    sound  like      F. Lampard    =====> [F.La]mpa[r]/mpa/

For example:

Bapa    /bapa/      consist of 2 letter: ba and pa, meaning: Father   
Bampa    /bampa/ consist of  2 letter: ba and mpa, meaning: hit

This only an introduction to know several about lontara. Next time, I will write more about this.
(Brur AA, Makassar, 2012)

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You do have a real unique culture and language there in Indonesia. Same is true in the Philippines although the Americans, Chinese and the Spaniards have a great influence in our culture.


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