Retired in ISO 639-3: Merge with Tae' [rob]
Excerpt from change request document:
Grimes and Grimes (1987) Languages of South Sulawesi, proposed two languages to the east of the Toraja area: Toala' and Rongkong. Even though the Grimeses' own computations showed Toala' and Rongkong to be 83% cognate, one consideration for not combining the languages was that Rongkong speakers themselves viewed their language as separate. However, a follow-up survey of the Toraja language area (Valkama 1987, WILC vol. 5) revealed dialect chaining which was more complex than the Grimeses' initial survey had indicated, with no particular reason to demark the two languages. In their update to Languages of South Sulawesi, Tim Friberg and Tom Laskowske (1989, NUSA vol. 31) proposed that these two languages be combined and be renamed the Rongkong- Luwu' language.
In 1988, Ian and Tanya Vail began living in the area, in order to investigate the situation in greater detail. After an extensive survey, which involved living in six different locations in Kabupaten Luwu, Vail concurred (Vail 1991) that the languages be combined, but suggested that the language be named Tae' after the negative term which is used throughout the area (this term was also acceptable to speakers themselves as a language name). However, this term is neither definitive nor unambiguous, since tae'is also the negative term in Sa'dan Toraja (compare for example Van der Veen's 1940 Tae' Woordenboek, which is a dictionary of Sa'dan Toraja, not Rongkong-Luwu').
Unfortunately, these later suggestions were only halfway incorporated into the Ethnologue, which up through the 14th and 15th editions, had changed the name of Rongkong to Tae' but maintained Toala' as a separate language. The data listed under Tae' (location, dialects, etc.) in the Ethnologue, 14th and 15th eds., partly assume that the languages were merged, and yet partly assume that the languages are separate.
One curiosity is where Chuck and Barbara Grimes even got the name Toala'. They write on page 49, "There has been great diversity in the previous classification of Toala'..." and so one might assume from the following discussion that Esser, Van der Veen, Salzner, Mills and the authors of the Peta Bahasa had all mentioned a Toala' language, but this is not true. The term Toala' is used only by Salzner, who listed it under his Makasar-Bugi group (see page 15), but never gave it a location on his Southern Sulawesi map (map no. 23). Since Salzner did not do any original research in Sulawesi, he must have picked up this term from someone else, but we could not track down this earlier source. Noorduyn calls Toala' "an exceedingly inapt exonym ... meaning 'people of the forest'" (1991:203). The preferred self-designation is Luwu', and "there is little chance of confusion with the Luwu dialect of Bugis" (Friberg and Laskowske 1989:9).
Following Vail (1991), there are four dialects of Tae'. Major subdialects of Tae' appear to be:
Northeast Luwu' (= Bone-bone = Masamba)
= Seko Lemo
= Rongkong Atas
= Rongkong Bawah (= Sabbang)
= Bajo (=Palili')
= Bastem (=Toala')
However, integrating the dialect descriptions of Valkama (1987:125, 127), Friberg and Laskowske (1989:9) and Vail (1991:79) is not without its difficulties. In particular, Valkama writes as if Rongkong Bawah and Sabbang are separate subdialects, and places the latter within his North Luwu dialect. Valkama also uses the inelegant terms Northern South Luwu' and Southern South Luwu'. These terms are especially to be avoided since once Bua is removed from his Northern South Luwu' (following Vail 1991), the split is more east- west rather than north-south. The Bastem and Bajo subdialects are named after kecamatans (subdistricts), but both are spoken more broadly than the respective kecamatan borders. Bastem is a mountain kecamatan which borders on the Toraja area. Finally, it is unclear from Ian Vail's report whether Bone-bone and Masamba are to be regarded as synonyms for Northeast Luwu', or whether they should be regarded as separate, marginally different subdialects under Northeast Luwu'. Kari Valkama took only one word list in this area, so it is impossible to resolve the issue by investigating Kari's primary data.