The Minangkabau population in 1981 was found to be 6,500,00 people, however in the early 1990's it was found that population decreased to roughly a little more than 3.5 million. These people are settled in the highlands of West Sumatra located in Indonesia, surrounded by an ocean coast line, plains, mountainous volcanic plateaus. "Archaeological evidence indicates that the area surrounding the limapuluh koto which is a land full of rivers that are used for sailing and a source of fresh water. These people are indigenous to the land, and not only has their culture survived, but it has thrived and developed.

The Minangkabau language is related to the Austronesian languages that are derived from Southeast Asia. It is also extremely similar to the Malay language because of it's grammar. There are current disputes of whether the Minangkabau language is a dialect of the Malayan, or if it is its own proper language. Multiple dialects that are spoken in many villages in near by areas.

The Minangkabau people use their native language for every day conversations, trade, and other means of communication. Though, when formal events take place, in school, writing, and when addressing older relatives and friends, the Minangkabau use a more Indonesian based tongue.

The written language was first recorded using the Jawi script, which is an adapted Arabic alphabet. However, verbal language is extraordinarily important to the Minangkabau because speaking to one another is essential in their custom of story telling. The specific oral tradition of story telling is the passing down of myths, legends, traditional folktales, and true stories form generation to generation.The Minangkabau value and cherish their stories that usually consist of consequences and rewards of obeying or ignoring ethical teachings. Families will share tell their children stories, and teachers will use them as a way to teach lessons to their students.
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Another oral tradition is what the Minangkabau call pidato adat, and in translation means ceremonial orations. They are verbally presented by the clan chief at many occasions that involve family and loved ones. Weddings, funerals, and adoption ceremonies are just a few where the pidato adat takes place.

Sources
"Minangkabau, Padang of Indonesia Ethnic People Profile." Unreached Peoples of the World. Josua Project. Web. 01 Dec. 2011. <http://www.joshuaproject.net/people-profile.php?peo3=13724>.