|430,000 (2000 census – 2007)|
Kaili is an Austronesian dialect cluster of the Celebic branch, and is one of the principal languages of Central Sulawesi. The heartland of the Kaili area is the broad Palu River valley which stretches southward from Central Sulawesi’s capital city, Palu. Kaili is also spoken in the mountains which rise on both sides of this valley, and along the coasts of the Makassar Strait and the Gulf of Tomini.
Taking a fine-grade view, it is possible to distinguish sixteen regional varieties of Kaili. Following the practice of Kaili people themselves, each variety is named after its negator. For example, in the Tawaili region northeast of Palu, Kaili speakers use rai as their word for ‘no,’ while speakers in the Parigi region on the Gulf of Tomini use tara. These two varieties can be referred to as ‘Kaili Rai’ and ‘Kaili Tara,’ irrespective of whether one intends for these varieties to be regarded as languages, dialects, or subdialects. These varieties can also be referred to as ‘Tawaili’ and ‘Parigi.’
The following table is a list of lowest-level Kaili varieties, presented by negator and alternate name(s) by which each has been known.
|tado||To ri Io, Torio, Toriu|
|inde||To Kanggone, Banja|
|da'a||Dombu, To Dombu|
|doi||Mamboro, Kayu Malue|
The linguist S. J. Esser divided Kaili into western, central and eastern groups. Esser was unclear whether his divisions represented dialects or languages, but Noorduyn concluded he intended one language with three principal dialects.
Barr and Barr recognized one language with six dialects (they also included Kulawi as a seventh dialect, but left Ende and Tado out of consideration since those varieties are not spoken in Central Sulawesi).
The Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009) recognizes four languages. In this subclassification, Kaili Ledo is best regarded as an 'everything else' category 'awaiting further research.'
|Kaili language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator|