The Info List - Javanese Language

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JAVANESE /dʒɑːvəˈniːz/ (ꦧꦱꦗꦮ, basa Jawa; Javanese pronunciation: ) (colloquially known as ꦕꦫꦗꦮ, cara Jawa; Javanese pronunciation: ) is the language of the Javanese people from the central and eastern parts of the island of Java
, in Indonesia
. There are also pockets of Javanese speakers in the northern coast of western Java. It is the native language of more than 98 million people (more than 42% of the total population of Indonesia).

Javanese is one of the Austronesian languages , but it is not particularly close to other languages and is difficult to classify. Its closest relatives are the neighbouring languages such as Sundanese , Madurese and Balinese . Most speakers of Javanese also speak Indonesian , the standardized form of Malay spoken in Indonesia, for official and commercial purposes as well as a means to communicate with non-Javanese-speaking Indonesians .

There are speakers of Javanese in Malaysia
(concentrated in the states of Selangor
and Johor
) and Singapore
. Some people of Javanese descent in Suriname
(the Dutch colony of Suriname
until 1975) speak a creole descendant of the language.


* 1 Speakers

* 2 Phonology

* 2.1 Vowels * 2.2 Consonants

* 3 Morphology * 4 Syntax * 5 Vocabulary * 6 Registers

* 7 Dialects of modern Javanese

* 7.1 Phonetic differences * 7.2 Vocabulary differences * 7.3 Classification

* 8 History

* 8.1 Old Javanese * 8.2 Middle Javanese * 8.3 New Javanese * 8.4 Modern Javanese

* 9 Javanese script * 10 Demographic distribution of Javanese speakers * 11 Javanese today * 12 Basic vocabulary * 13 Numbers * 14 See also * 15 Notes * 16 Sources * 17 Further reading * 18 External links


The word Jawa ( Java
) written in Javanese script .

The language is spoken in Yogyakarta
, Central and East Java , as well as on the north coast of West Java
West Java
. It is also spoken elsewhere by the Javanese people in other provinces of Indonesia, which are numerous due to the government-sanctioned transmigration program in the late 20th century, including Lampung , Jambi
, and North Sumatra provinces. In Suriname, creolized Javanese is spoken among descendants of plantation migrants brought by the Dutch during the 19th century. In Madura, Bali, Lombok, and the Sunda region of West Java, it is also used as a literary language . It was the court language in Palembang , South Sumatra , until the palace was sacked by the Dutch in the late 18th century.

Javanese is written with the Latin script , Javanese script , and Arabic script . In the present day, the Latin script dominates writings, although the Javanese script is still taught as part of the compulsory Javanese language
Javanese language
subject in elementary up to high school levels in Yogyakarta, Central and East Java.

Javanese is the tenth largest language by native speakers and the largest language without official status . It is spoken or understood by approximately 100 million people. At least 45% of the total population of Indonesia
are of Javanese descent or live in an area where Javanese is the dominant language. All seven Indonesian presidents since 1945 have been of Javanese descent. It is therefore not surprising that Javanese has had a deep influence on the development of Indonesian, the national language of Indonesia

There are three main dialects of the modern language: Central Javanese, Eastern Javanese, and Western Javanese. These three dialects form a dialect continuum from northern Banten
in the extreme west of Java
to Banyuwangi Regency in the eastern corner of the island. All Javanese dialects are more or less mutually intelligible .


The phonemes of Modern Standard Javanese as shown below.










In closed syllables the vowels /i u e o/ are pronounced respectively. In open syllables, /e o/ are also when the following vowel is /i u/ in an open syllable; otherwise they are /ə/, or identical (/e...e/, /o...o/). In the standard dialect of Surakarta, /a/ is pronounced in word-final open syllables, and in any open penultimate syllable before such an .








STOP /AFFRICATE p b̥ t̪ d̪ ʈ ɖ̥ tʃ dʒ̊ k ɡ̊ ʔ




Approximant (Lateral )






The Javanese "voiced" phonemes are not in fact voiced but voiceless, with breathy voice on the following vowel. The relevant distinction in phonation of the plosives is described as stiff voice versus slack voice .

A Javanese syllable can have the following form : CSVC, where C = consonant , S = sonorant (/j/, /r/, /l/, /w/, or any nasal consonant ), and V = vowel . As with other Austronesian languages, native Javanese roots consist of two syllables; words consisting of more than three syllables are broken up into groups of disyllabic words for pronunciation. In Modern Javanese, a disyllabic root is of the following type: nCsvVnCsvVC.

Apart from Madurese , Javanese is the only language of Western Indonesia
to possess a distinction between dental and retroflex phonemes. The latter sounds are transcribed as "th" and "dh" in the modern Roman script, but previously by the use of an underdot : "ṭ" and "ḍ". Some scholars take this to be an influence from Sanskrit
, but others believe it could be an independent development within the Austronesian super-family.


Javanese, like other Austronesian languages, is an agglutinative language, where base words are modified through extensive use of affixes .


Modern Javanese usually employs SVO word order. However, Old Javanese sometimes had VSO and sometimes VOS word order. Even in Modern Javanese, archaic sentences using VSO structure can still be made.


* Modern Javanese: "Dhèwèké (S) teka (V) ing (pp.) karaton (O)". * Old Javanese: "Teka (V) ta (part.) sira (S) ri (pp.) -ng (def. art.) kadhatwan (O)".

Both sentences mean: "He (S) comes (V) into (pp.) the (def. art.) palace (O)". In the Old Javanese sentence, the verb is placed at the beginning and is separated by the particle ta from the rest of the sentence. In Modern Javanese the definite article is lost, and definiteness is expressed by other means if necessary.

Verbs are not inflected for person or number. There is no grammatical tense ; time is expressed by auxiliary words meaning "yesterday", "already", etc. There is a complex system of verb affixes to express differences of status in subject and object. However, in general the structure of Javanese sentences both Old and Modern can be described using the topic–comment model , without having to refer to conventional grammatical categories. The topic is the head of the sentence; the comment is the modifier. So the example sentence has a simpler description: Dhèwèké = topic; teka = comment; ing karaton = setting.


Javanese has a rich and varied vocabulary, with many loanwords supplementing those from the native Austronesian base. Sanskrit
has had a deep and lasting impact. The Old Javanese–English Dictionary contains approximately 25,500 entries, over 12,600 of which are borrowings from Sanskrit. Such a high number is no measure of usage, but it does suggest the extent to which the language adopted Sanskrit words for formal purposes. In a typical Old Javanese literary work about 25% of the vocabulary is from Sanskrit. Many Javanese personal names also have clearly recognisable Sanskrit

words are still very much in use. Modern speakers may describe Old Javanese and Sanskrit
words as kawi (roughly meaning "literary"); but kawi words may also be from Arabic
. Dutch and Malay are influential as well; but none of these rivals the position of Sanskrit.

There are far fewer Arabic
loanwords in Javanese than in Malay, and they are usually concerned with Islamic
religion. Nevertheless, some words have entered the basic vocabulary, such as pikir ("to think", from the Arabic
fikr), badan ("body"), mripat ("eye", thought to be derived from the Arabic
ma'rifah, meaning "knowledge" or "vision"). However, these Arabic
words typically have native Austronesian or Sanskrit
alternatives: pikir = galih, idhĕp (Austronesian) and manah, cipta, or cita (from Sanskrit); badan = awak (Austronesian) and slira, sarira, or angga (from Sanskrit); and mripat = mata (Austronesian) and soca or netra (from Sanskrit).

Dutch loanwords usually have the same form and meaning as in Indonesian, with a few exceptions:


pit sepeda fiets bicycle

pit montor sepeda motor motorfiets motorcycle

sepur kereta api spoor, i.e. (rail) track train

The word sepur also exists in Indonesian, but there it has preserved the literal Dutch meaning of "railway tracks", while the Javanese word follows Dutch figurative use, and "spoor" (lit. "rail") is used as metonymy for "trein" (lit. "train"). (Compare a similar metonymic use in English: "to travel by rail" may be used for "to travel by train".)

Malay was the lingua franca of the Indonesian archipelago before the proclamation of Indonesian independence in 1945; and Indonesian, which was based on Malay, is now the official language of Indonesia. As a consequence, there has been an influx of Malay and Indonesian vocabulary into Javanese. Many of these words are concerned with bureaucracy or politics.


A Javanese noble lady (left) would address her servant with one vocabulary, and be answered with another. (Studio portrait of painter Raden Saleh
Raden Saleh
's wife and a servant, colonial Batavia , 1860–1872.)

In common with other Austronesian languages, Javanese is spoken differently depending on the social context. In Austronesian there are often three distinct styles or registers . Each employs its own vocabulary, grammatical rules, and even prosody . In Javanese these styles are called:

* Ngoko (ꦔꦺꦴꦏꦺꦴ). Informal speech, used between friends and close relatives. It is also used by persons of higher status (such as elders, or bosses) addressing those of lower status (young people, or subordinates in the workplace). * Madya (ꦩꦢꦾ). Intermediate between ngoko and krama. Strangers on the street would use it, where status differences may be unknown and one wants to be neither too formal nor too informal. The term is from Sanskrit
madhya ("middle"). * Krama (ꦏꦿꦩ). The polite and formal style. It is used between those of the same status when they do not wish to be informal. It is used by persons of lower status to persons of higher status, such as young people to their elders, or subordinates to bosses; and it is the official style for public speeches, announcements, etc. The term is from Sanskrit
krama ("in order").

There are also "meta-style" honorific words, and their converse "humilifics". Speakers use "humble" words concerning themselves, but honorific words concerning anyone of greater age of higher social status. The humilific words are called krama andhap, while the honorifics are called krama inggil. Children typically use the ngoko style, but in talking to the parents they must be competent with both krama inggil and krama andhap. Some examples:

* Ngoko: Aku arep mangan. ("I want to eat.") * Madya: Kula ajeng nedha.

* Krama:

* (Neutral) Kula badhé nadhi. * (Humble) Dalem badhé nedhi.

The most polite word meaning "eat" is dhahar. But it is forbidden to use these most polite words for oneself, except when talking with someone of lower status; and in this case, ngoko style is used. Such most polite words are reserved for addressing people of higher status:

* Mixed usages

* (honorific – addressing someone of high status) Bapak kersa dhahar? ("Do you want to eat?"; literally "Does father want to eat?") * (reply to a person of lower status, expressing speaker's superiority) Iya, aku kersa dhahar. ("Yes, I want to eat.") * (reply to a person of lower status, but without expressing superiority) Iya, aku arep mangan. * (reply to a person of equal status) Inggih, kula badhé nedha.

The use of these different styles is complicated and requires thorough knowledge of Javanese culture, which adds to the difficulty of Javanese for foreigners. The full system is not usually mastered by most Javanese themselves, who might use only the ngoko and a rudimentary form of the krama. People who can correctly use the different styles are held in high esteem.


Susuhunan Pakubuwono X of Surakarta . Surakarta has been a center of Javanese culture, and its dialect is regarded as the most "refined".

There are three main groups of Javanese dialects , based on sub-regions: Western Javanese, Central Javanese, and Eastern Javanese. The differences are primarily in pronunciation, but with vocabulary differences also. Javanese dialects are all mutually intelligible.

CENTRAL JAVANESE (Jawa Tengahan) is founded on the speech of Surakarta and to a lesser extent of Yogyakarta
. It is considered the most "refined" of the regional variants, and serves as a model for the standard language. Those two cities are the seats of four Javanese principalities (heirs to the Mataram Sultanate) that once dominated the whole of Java
and beyond. This variant is used throughout Central Java
and Special Region of Yogyakarta , and there are many lower-level dialects such as Muria and Semarangan, as well as Surakarta and Yogyakarta
themselves. The variations in Central Java
Central Java
are said to be so plentiful that almost every administrative region (or kabupatèn ) has its own local slang; but those minor dialects are not seen as distinct by most Javanese speakers.

Central Javanese is also used in the western part of East Java province. For example, Javanese spoken in the Madiun region (along with Javanese spoken in Blitar
, Ponorogo , Pacitan , and Tulungagung , and central parts of Kediri ) bears a strong influence of Surakarta Javanese.

* MATARAMAN DIALECT / STANDARD DIALECT is spoken commonly in Yogyakarta
, Surakarta , Klaten , Karanganyar , Wonogiri , Sukoharjo , Sragen , and Boyolali . * PEKALONGAN DIALECT is spoken in Pekalongan and Pekalongan regency , and also in Pemalang . * KEDU DIALECT is spoken in the former Kedu residency , including: Temanggung , Kebumen , Magelang , and Wonosobo . * BAGELEN DIALECT is spoken in Purworejo . * SEMARANG DIALECT is spoken in Semarang
, Semarang
regency , and also Salatiga , Demak and Kendal . * EASTERN NORTH-COAST DIALECT, or dhialèk Muria , is spoken in Jepara , Rembang , Kudus , Pati , and also in Tuban and Bojonegoro . * BLORA DIALECT is spoken in Blora , the eastern part of Grobogan , and the western part of Ngawi . * MADIUNAN DIALECT is spoken mainly in western part of East Java province, including Madiun , Blitar
, Ngawi , Pacitan , Ponorogo , and Magetan .

WESTERN JAVANESE (Jawa Kulonan), spoken in the western part of the Central Java
Central Java
province and throughout the West Java
West Java
province (particularly on the north coast), includes dialects that are distinct for their Sundanese influences. It retains many archaic words.

* NORTH BANTEN DIALECT (Jawa Serang) is spoken in Serang , Cilegon
, and the western part of Tangerang regency. * CIREBON DIALECT (Cirebonan or Basa Cerbon) is spoken in Cirebon and Losari . INDRAMAYU DIALECT (or Dermayon), which is spoken in Indramayu , Karawang , and Subang , is sometimes included in Cirebonan. * TEGAL DIALECT, known as Tegalan or Dhialèk Pantura (North-Coast dialect), is spoken in Tegal , Brebes , and the western part of Pemalang regency. * BANYUMAS DIALECT, known as Banyumasan , is spoken in Banyumas , Cilacap , Purbalingga , Banjarnegara , and Bumiayu .

Some Western Javanese dialects such as Banyumasan dialects and Tegal dialect are sometimes referred to as basa ngapak by other Javanese.

EASTERN JAVANESE (Jawa Wétanan) speakers range from the eastern banks of Brantas River
Brantas River
in Kertosono, and from Nganjuk to Banyuwangi , comprising the majority of the East Java province excluding Madura island. However, the variant has been influenced by Madurese , and is sometimes referred to as Surabayan speech.

The most outlying Eastern Javanese dialect is spoken in Balambangan (or Banyuwangi ). It is generally known as Basa Using . Osing, a local negation word, is a cognate of tusing in Balinese .

* AREKAN DIALECT is commonly spoken in Surabaya
, Malang
, Gresik , Mojokerto , Pasuruan , Lumajang , Lamongan and Sidoarjo . Many Madurese people also use this dialect as their second language. * JOMBANG DIALECT * TENGGER DIALECT used by Tenggerese people , which is centered in thirty villages in the isolated Tengger mountains ( Mount Bromo
Mount Bromo
) within the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park in East- Central Java
Central Java
. * OSING DIALECT spoken in Banyuwangi .

SURINAMESE-JAVANESE is mainly based on Central Javanese, especially from the Kedu residency . The number of speakers of Suriname-Javanese in Suriname
was estimated at 60,000 as of 2012. Most Surinamese-Javanese are bi- or trilingual. According to the 2004 census, Surinamese-Javanese was the first or second language in 11 percent of households. In a 2012 study of multilingualism in Surinamese education by the Dutch Language Union, 3,497 out of 22,643 pupils (15 percent) in primary education indicated Surinamese-Javanese as a language spoken at home. Most of them were living in the Wanica and Paramaribo districts.

Not all immigrants from Indonesia
to Suriname
were speakers of Javanese. Immigration records show that 90 percent of immigrants were Javanese, with 5 percent Sundanese, 0.5 percent Madurese and 2.5 percent from Batavia. The ethnic composition of this last group was not determinable. Probably Sundanese, Madurese or Malay speaking immigrants were forced to learn Javanese during their stay in Suriname to adapt. In view of the language policies in Netherlands
Indies at the time of immigration, it is unlikely the immigrants had knowledge of the Dutch language prior to immigration to Suriname. Dutch today is the official language of Suriname.

Surinamese Javanese is somewhat different from Indonesian Javanese. In Surinamese-Javanese there is a difference between formal and informal speech. Surinamese-Javanese took many loanwords from languages like Dutch, Sranantongo , Sarnami and Bahasa Indonesia. The influence of the latter language, which is not spoken in Suriname, can be attributed to the Indonesian embassy and Islamic
teachers from Indonesia. Indonesian movies are popular, and usually shown without subtitles on Surinamese-Javanese television channels.


ngabrah abra over across

bakrah bakra blanke white man

blangkeman blakaman neger black man

pernangsi pernasi plantage plantation

sekaut skowtu schout (politieagent) policeman

In 1986, the Surinamese government adopted an official spelling for Surinamese-Javanese. It is seldom used as a written language, however.

In the 2012 survey, pupils who indicated Surinamese-Javanese as a language spoken at home, reported Dutch (97.9 percent) and Sranantongo (76.9 percent) also being spoken in the household.

Surinamese-Javanese speaking pupils report high proficiency in speaking and understanding, but very low literacy in the language. They report a low preference for the language in interaction with family members, including their parents, with the exception of their grandparents. Pupils where Surinamese-Javanese is spoken at tend at home to speak Dutch (77 percent) rather than Surinamese-Javanese (12 percent).


Phoneme /i/ at closed ultima is pronounced as in Central Javanese (Surakarta– Yogyakarta
dialect), as in Western Javanese (Banyumasan dialect), and as in Eastern Javanese.

Phoneme /u/ at closed ultima is pronounced as in Central Javanese, as in Western Javanese, and as in Eastern Javanese.

Phoneme /a/ at closed ultima in Central Javanese is pronounced as and at open ultima as . Regardless of position, it tends toward in Western Javanese and as in Eastern Javanese.

Western Javanese tend to glottalize every last vowel of a word as euphony , e.g.: Ana apa? "What happened?", Aja kaya kuwè! "Don't be like that!".


/i/ getih


/u/ abuh


/a/ lenga


/a/ kancamu/kancané kowé

your friend

Final consonant devoicing occurs in the standard Central Javanese dialect, but not in Banyumasan. For example, egg is pronounced in standard Central Javanese, but in Banyumasan. The latter is closer to Old Javanese .


The vocabulary of standard Javanese is enriched by dialectal words. For example, to get the meaning of "you", Western Javanese speakers say rika /rikaʔ/, Eastern Javanese use kon /kɔn/ or koen /kɔən/, and Central Javanese speakers say kowé /kowe/. Another example is the expression of "how": the Tegal dialect of Western Javanese uses kepribèn /kəpriben/, the Banyumasan dialect of Western Javanese employs kepriwé /kəpriwe/ or kepriwèn /kəpriwen/, Eastern Javanese speakers say ya' apa /jɔʔ ɔpɔ/ – originally meaning "like what" (kaya apa in standard Javanese) or kepiyé /kəpije/ – and Central Javanese speakers say piye /pije/ or kepriyé /kəprije/.


aku kite kita, isun inyong inyong aku I, me

kowé sire sira koen rika, kowè kon you

tenan pisan pisan temen temen temen truly

kepiyé keprimèn kepribèn, kepriwè kepribèn kepriwè yok apa how

ora ore ora, beli ora, belih ora ogak not

mlebu manjing manjing manjing, mlebu mlebu mlebu to enter

arep arep arep, pan pan arep apé will

saka sake sing sing sekang teka from

The Madiun–Kediri dialect has some idiosyncratic vocabulary, such as panggah 'still' (standard Javanese: pancet), lagèk 'progressive modal' (standard Javanese: lagi), and emphatic particles nda, pèh, and lé.


A preliminary general classification of Javanese dialects given by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology 's Department of Linguistics is as follows. Pesisir (Pemalang) and Tengger are considered to be among the most conservative dialects. The Banten
, Pesisir Lor, Banyumas , Tengger , and Osing dialects do not have the vowel raising and vowel harmony features that are innovations of the "standard" Solo and Yogyakarta


* Banten
* Cirebon


* Pesisir Lor dialects

* Tegal * Pemalang * Pekalongan

* Yogyakarta
* Surakarta /Solo * Semarang

* Banyumas

* Cilacap * Purwokerto
* Kebumen


* Surabaya
* Malang
* Madiun -Kediri - Nganjuk * Lumajang * Osing * Banyuwangi

* Tengger

* Ngadas * Ranu Pane


* Papuan Javanese



Main article: Old Javanese language Palm leaf manuscript of Kakawin Sutasoma
Kakawin Sutasoma
, a 14th-century Javanese poem.

While evidence of writing in Java
dates to the Sanskrit
"Tarumanegara inscription" of 450 AD, the oldest example written entirely in Javanese, called the "Sukabumi inscription", is dated 25 March 804. This inscription , located in the district of Pare in the Kediri regency of East Java, is actually a copy of an original that is about 120 years older; only this copy has been preserved. Its contents concern the construction of a dam for an irrigation canal near the river Śrī Hariñjing (present-day Srinjing). This inscription is the last known of its kind to be written using Pallava script
Pallava script
; all extant subsequent examples are written using Javanese script .

The 8th and 9th centuries are marked by the emergence of the Javanese literary tradition – with Sang Hyang Kamahayanikan, a Buddhist treatise; and the Kakawin Rāmâyaṇa , a Javanese rendering in Indian metres of the Vaishnavist Sanskrit
epic Rāmāyaṇa.

Although Javanese as a written language appeared considerably later than Malay (extant in the 7th century), the Javanese literary tradition has been continuous from its inception. The oldest works – such as the Kakawin Rāmâyaṇa and a Javanese rendering of the Indian Mahābhārata epic – are studied assiduously today.

The expansion of Javanese culture, including Javanese script and language, began in 1293 with the eastward push of the Hindu – Buddhist
East-Javanese Empire Majapahit
, toward Madura
and Bali
. The Javanese campaign in Bali
in 1363 had a deep and lasting impact, and Javanese replaced Balinese as the language of administration and literature. Though the Balinese people preserved much of the older literature of Java
and even created their own in Javanese idioms, Balinese ceased to be written until a 19th-century restoration. See also: Kawi language


The Majapahit
Empire saw the rise of Middle Javanese as effectively a new language, intermediate between Old and New Javanese, though Middle Javanese is similar enough to New Javanese to be understood by anyone who is well acquainted with current literary Javanese. A New Javanese inscription in Sholihin Mosque, Surakarta .

The Majapahit
Empire fell due to internal disturbances in the Paregreg civil war, thought to have occurred in 1405 and 1406, and attacks by Islamic
forces of the Sultanate of Demak on the north coast of Java. There is a Javanese chronogram concerning the fall that reads "sirna ilang krĕtaning bumi" ("vanished and gone was the prosperity of the World"), indicating the date 1478 AD, giving rise to a popular belief that Majapahit
collapsed in 1478, though it may have lasted into the 16th century. This was the last Hindu
Javanese empire.


In the 16th century a new era in Javanese history began with the rise of the Islamic
Central Javanese Mataram Sultanate , originally a vassal state of Majapahit. Ironically, the Mataram Empire rose as an Islamic
kingdom that sought revenge for the demise of the Hindu Majapahit
Empire by first crushing Demak , the first Javanese Islamic kingdom.

Javanese culture spread westward as Mataram conquered many previously Sundanese areas in western parts of Java; and Javanese became the dominant language in more than a third of this area. As with Balinese, the Sundanese language ceased to be written until the 19th century. In the meantime it was heavily influenced by Javanese, and some 40% of Sundanese vocabulary is believed to have been derived from Javanese.

Though Islamic
in name, the Mataram II empire preserved many elements of the older culture, incorporating them into the newly adopted religion. This is why Javanese script is still in use, as opposed to the writing of Old Malay for example. After the Malays were converted, they dropped their form of indigenous writing and changed to a form of the "script of the Divine", the Arabic

In addition to the rise of Islam, the 16th century saw the emergence of the New Javanese language. The first Islamic
documents in Javanese were already written in New Javanese, although still in antiquated idioms and with numerous Arabic
loanwords. This is to be expected: these early New Javanese documents are Islamic

Later, intensive contacts with the Dutch and with other Indonesians gave rise to a simplified form of Javanese and an influx of foreign loanwords.


Some scholars dub the spoken form of Javanese in the 20th century Modern Javanese, although it is essentially still the same language as New Javanese.


A modern bilingual text in Portuguese and Javanese in Yogyakarta . Main article: Javanese script

Javanese has been traditionally written with Javanese script . Javanese and the related Balinese script are modern variants of the old Kawi script
Kawi script
, a Brahmic script
Brahmic script
introduced to Java
along with Hinduism and Buddhism. Kawi is first attested in a legal document from 804 AD. It was widely used in literature and translations from Sanskrit
from the 10th century; by the 17th, the script is identified as carakan.

The Javanese script is an abugida . Each of the twenty letter represents a syllable with a consonant (or a "zero consonant") and the inherent vowel 'a' that is pronounced as /ɔ/ in open position. Various diacritics placed around the letter indicate a different vowel than , a final consonant, or a foreign pronunciation.

Letters have subscript forms used to transcribe consonant clusters, though the shape are relatively straightforward, and not as distinct as conjunct forms of Devanagari . Some letters are only present in old Javanese and became obsolete in modern Javanese. Some of these letter became "capital" forms used in proper names. Punctuation includes a comma; period; a mark that covers the colon, quotations, and indicates numerals; and marks to introduce a chapter, poem, song, or letter.

However, Javanese can also be written with the Arabic script and today generally uses Latin script instead of Javanese script for practical purposes. A Latin orthography based on Dutch was introduced in 1926, revised in 1972–1973; it has largely supplanted the carakan. The current Latin-based forms:


A B C D Dh E É
È F G H I J K L M N Ng Ny O P Q R S T Th U V W X Y Z


a b c d dh e é è f g h i j k l m n ng ny o p q r s t th u v w x y z

The italic letters are used in loanwords from European languages and Arabic.

Javanese script:


ꦲ ꦤ ꦕ ꦫ ꦏ ꦢ ꦠ ꦱ ꦮ ꦭ ꦥ ꦝ ꦗ ꦪ ꦚ ꦩ ꦒ ꦧ ꦛ ꦔ

ha na ca ra ka da ta sa wa la pa dha ja ya nya ma ga ba tha nga


See also: Javanese people

Javanese is spoken throughout Indonesia, neighboring Southeast Asian countries, the Netherlands, Suriname
, New Caledonia
New Caledonia
, and other countries. The largest populations of speakers are found in the six provinces of Java
itself, and in the neighboring Sumatran province of Lampung .

A table showing the number of native speakers in 1980, for the 22 Indonesian provinces (from the total of 27) in which more than 1% of the population spoke Javanese:


1. Aceh
province 6.7% 175,000

2. North Sumatra 21.0% 1,757,000

3. West Sumatra 1.0% 56,000

4. Jambi
17.0% 245,000

5. South Sumatra 12.4% 573,000

6. Bengkulu 15.4% 118,000

7. Lampung 62.4% 2,886,000

8. Riau
8.5% 184,000

9. Jakarta
3.6% 236,000

10. West Java
West Java
13.3% 3,652,000

11. Central Java
Central Java
96.9% 24,579,000

12. Yogyakarta
97.6% 2,683,000

13. East Java 74.5% 21,720,000

14. Bali
1.1% 28,000

15. West Kalimantan 1.7% 41,000

16. Central Kalimantan 4.0% 38,000

17. South Kalimantan 4.7% 97,000

18. East Kalimantan
East Kalimantan
10.1% 123,000

19. North Sulawesi 1.0% 20,000

20. Central Sulawesi
Central Sulawesi
2.9% 37,000

21. Southeast Sulawesi 3.6% 34,000

22. Maluku 1.1% 16,000

According to the 1980 census, Javanese was used daily in approximately 43% of Indonesian households. By this reckoning there were well over 60 million Javanese speakers, from a national population of 147,490,298. Madurese in Javanese script.

In Banten, the descendants of the Central Javanese conquerors who founded the Islamic
Sultanate there in the 16th century still speak an archaic form of Javanese. The rest of the population mainly speaks Sundanese and Indonesian, since this province borders directly on Jakarta.

At least one third of the population of Jakarta
are of Javanese descent, so they speak Javanese or have knowledge of it. In the province of West Java
West Java
, many people speak Javanese, especially those living in the areas bordering Central Java
Central Java
, the cultural homeland of the Javanese.

Almost a quarter of the population of East Java province are Madurese (mostly on the Isle of Madura
); many Madurese have some knowledge of colloquial Javanese. Since the 19th century, Madurese was also written in the Javanese script.

The original inhabitants of Lampung , the Lampungese, make up only 15% of the provincial population. The rest are the so-called "transmigrants", settlers from other parts of Indonesia, many as a result of past government transmigration programs . Most of these transmigrants are Javanese who have settled there since the 19th century.

In Suriname
(the former Dutch colony of Surinam ), South America, approximately 15% of the population of some 500,000 are of Javanese descent, among whom 75,000 speak Javanese. A local variant evolved: the Tyoro Jowo- Suriname
or Suriname


Distribution map of languages spoken in Java
, Madura
, and Bali .

Although Javanese is not a national language, it has recognized status as a regional language in the three Indonesian provinces with the biggest concentrations of Javanese people: Central Java, Yogyakarta, and East Java. Javanese is taught at schools and is used in some mass media , both electronically and in print. There is, however, no longer a daily newspaper in Javanese. Javanese language magazines include Panjebar Semangat, Jaka Lodhang, Jaya Baya, Damar Jati, and Mekar Sari.

Since 2003, an East Java local television station (JTV ) has broadcast some of its programmes in Surabayan dialect, including Pojok kampung (news), Kuis RT/RW, and Pojok Perkoro (a crime programme). In later broadcasts, JTV offers programmes in Central Javanese dialect (that they call basa kulonan, "the western language") and Madurese.

In 2005 a new Javanese language
Javanese language
magazine, Damar Jati, appeared. It is not published in the Javanese heartlands, but in Jakarta.



yes iya inggih

no ora boten

what apa menapa

who sapa sinten

how kapriyé or kepiyé kados pundi or pripun

why nangapa or ngapa kènging menapa

eat mangan nedha

sleep turu saré

here ing kéné ing riki

there ing kana ing rika

there is (there are) ana wonten

there is no (there are no) ora ana boten wonten

no! or I don't want it! emoh wegah

make a visit for pleasure dolan amèng-amèng


Main article: Javanese numerals


0 ꧇꧐꧇ nol nol derived from Dutch

1 ꧇꧑꧇ siji satunggal

2 ꧇꧒꧇ loro kalih

3 ꧇꧓꧇ telu tiga

4 ꧇꧔꧇ papat sakawan

5 ꧇꧕꧇ lima gangsal

6 ꧇꧖꧇ enem enem

7 ꧇꧗꧇ pitu pitu

8 ꧇꧘꧇ wolu wolu

9 ꧇꧙꧇ sanga sanga

10 ꧇꧑꧐꧇ sapuluh sadasa

11 ꧇꧑꧑꧇ sawelas satunggal welas

20 ꧇꧒꧐꧇ rong puluh kalih dasa

21 ꧇꧒꧑꧇ salikur satunggal likur

22 ꧇꧒꧒꧇ ro likur kalih likur

23 ꧇꧒꧓꧇ telu likur tiga likur

24 ꧇꧒꧔꧇ pat likur sakawan likur

25 ꧇꧒꧕꧇ salawé salangkung

26 ꧇꧒꧖꧇ enem likur enem likur

27 ꧇꧒꧗꧇ pitu likur pitu likur

28 ꧇꧒꧘꧇ wolu likur wolu likur

29 ꧇꧒꧙꧇ sanga likur sanga likur

30 ꧇꧓꧐꧇ telung puluh tigang dasa

31 ꧇꧓꧑꧇ telung puluh siji tigang dasa satunggal

40 ꧇꧔꧐꧇ patang puluh sakawan dasa

41 ꧇꧔꧑꧇ patang puluh siji sakawan dasa satunggal

50 ꧇꧕꧐꧇ sèket sèket

51 ꧇꧕꧑꧇ sèket siji sèket satunggal

60 ꧇꧖꧐꧇ sawidak sawidak

61 ꧇꧖꧑꧇ sawidak siji sawidak satunggal

70 ꧇꧗꧐꧇ pitung puluh pitung dasa

80 ꧇꧘꧐꧇ wolung puluh wolung dasa

90 ꧇꧙꧐꧇ sangang puluh sangang dasa

100 ꧇꧑꧐꧐꧇ satus satunggal atus

HUNDREDS atusan atusan

1000 ꧇꧑꧐꧐꧐꧇ sèwu satunggal èwu

THOUSANDS éwon éwon


* Indonesia

* Banyumasan language * Hans Ras * List of languages without official status * Java
* Javanese alphabet * Javanese literature * Johan Hendrik Caspar Kern


* ^ Mikael Parkvall, "Världens 100 största språk 2007" (The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007), in Nationalencyklopedin * ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Javanesic". Glottolog 2.7 . Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. * ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student's Handbook, Edinburgh * ^ Kewarganegaraan, Suku Bangsa, Agama dan Bahasa Sehari-hari Penduduk Indonesia
- Hasil Sensus Penduduk 2010. Badan Pusat Statistik. 2011. ISBN 978-979-064-417-5 . * ^ Van der Molen (1983:VII-VIII). * ^ Sukarno
has a Javanese father and a Balinese mother, Habibie has a father of Gorontalo descent and a Javanese mother, while Megawati is Sukarno
's daughter through his wife, who is from Bengkulu . * ^ A B C D Brown, Keith; Ogilvie, Sarah (2008). Concise encyclopedia of languages of the world. Elsevier. p. 560. ISBN 9780080877747 . Retrieved 2010-05-24. Madurese also possesses aspirated phonemes, including at least one aspirated retroflex phoneme. * ^ Ladefoged, Peter ; Maddieson, Ian (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-19814-8 . * ^ A sibilant before a retroflex stop in Sanskrit
loanwords is pronounced as a retroflex sibilant, whereas in modern Indian languages it is pronounced as a palatal sibilant. Though Acehnese and Balinese also possess a retroflex voiceless stop, this is merely an allophone of /t/. * ^ Piwulang Basa Jawa Pepak, S.B. Pramono, hal 148, Babad Hanacaraka, 2013 * ^ The Old Javanese spelling is modified to suit Modern Javanese spelling. * ^ Zoetmulder (1982:IX). * ^ Uhlenbeck (1964:57). * ^ A B Wolff, John U.; Soepomo Poedjosoedarmo (1982). Communicative Codes in Central Java. Cornell Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Program. p. 4. ISBN 0-87727-116-X . * ^ For example Pigeaud's dictionary in 1939 is almost exclusively based on Surakarta speech (1939:viii–xiii). * ^ This area of Java
has the island of Bali
immediately to the east, and was formerly under the control of Balinese kings and warlords. * ^ A B http://taalunieversum.org/sites/tuv/files/downloads/meertaligheid_in_het_onderwijs_in_suriname.pdf * ^ A B http://www.dbnl.org/tekst/goba001suri01_01/goba001heri01_01.pdf * ^ A B https://web.archive.org/web/20110513144247/http://lingweb.eva.mpg.de/jakarta/banyumas.php * ^ A B https://web.archive.org/web/20110514131153/http://lingweb.eva.mpg.de/jakarta/madiun.php * ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20110513144247/http://lingweb.eva.mpg.de/jakarta/javanese_dialectology.php * ^ A B https://web.archive.org/web/20110514131142/http://lingweb.eva.mpg.de/jakarta/pemalangan.php * ^ http://lingweb.eva.mpg.de/jakarta/docs/Standard_vs_Peripheral_Javanese_Dialects,_Thomas_Conners.pdf * ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20110514131202/http://lingweb.eva.mpg.de/jakarta/osing.phpp * ^ The data are taken from the census of 1980 as provided by James J. Fox and Peter Gardiner and published by S. A. Wurm and Shiro Hattori, eds. 1983. Language Atlas of the Pacific Area, Part II: (Insular South-East Asia), Canberra. * ^ In 1980 this included the now separate Banten
province. * ^ According to James J. Fox and Peter Gardiner (Wurm and Hattori, 1983). * ^ Collins Concise Dictionary Plus (1989). * ^ The distribution of persons living in Javanese-speaking households in East Java and Lampung requires clarification. For East Java, daily-language percentages are as follows: 74.5 Javanese, 23.0 Madurese, and 2.2 Indonesian. For Lampung, the official percentages are 62.4 Javanese, 16.4 Lampungese and other languages, 10.5 Sundanese, and 9.4 Indonesian. The figures are somewhat outdated for some regions, especially Jakarta; but they remain more or less stable for the rest of Java. In Jakarta
the number of Javanese has increased tenfold in the last 25 years. On the other hand, because of the conflict the number of Javanese in Aceh
might have decreased. It is also relevant that Banten
has separated from West Java
West Java
province in 2000. * ^ Pigeaud (1967:10-11). * ^ Many commuters to Jakarta
live in the suburbs in Banten, among them also Javanese speakers. Their exact number is unknown. * ^ Unfortunately, the aspirated phonemes of Madurese are not reproduced in writing. The 19th-century scribes apparently overlooked the fact that Javanese script does possess the required characters. * ^ Bartje S. Setrowidjojo and Ruben T. Setrowidjojo Het Surinaams-Javaans = Tyoro Jowo-Suriname, Den Haag: Suara Jawa, 1994, ISBN 90-802125-1-2 . * ^ Piwulang Basa Jawa Pepak, S.B. Pramono, hal 148, 2013


* Elinor C. Horne. 1961. Beginning Javanese. New Haven: Yale University Press. * W. van der Molen. 1993. Javaans schrift. Leiden: Vakgroep Talen en Culturen van Zuidoost-Azië en Oceanië. ISBN 90-73084-09-1 * S. A. Wurm and Shiro Hattori , eds. 1983. Language Atlas of the Pacific Area, Part II: (Insular South-east Asia), Canberra. * P. J. Zoetmulder. 1982. Old Javanese–English Dictionary. 's-Gravenhage: Martinus Nijhoff. ISBN 90-247-6178-6


* Errington, James Joseph (1991), Language and social change in Java : linguistic reflexes of modernization in a traditional royal polity, Ohio University, Center for International Studies, retrieved 18 February 2013 * Errington, James Joseph (1998), Shifting languages : interaction and identity in Javanese Indonesia, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-63448-9 * Horne, Elinor Clark (1963), Intermediate Javanese, Yale University Press, retrieved 18 February 2013 * Horne, Elinor Clark (1974), Javanese-English dictionary, Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0-300-01689-5 * Keeler, Ward (1984), Javanese, a cultural approach, Ohio University Center for International Studies, ISBN 978-0-89680-121-9 * Robson, S. O. (Stuart Owen); Wibisono, Singgih (2002), Javanese English dictionary, Periplus Editions (HK) ; North Clarendon, VT : Tuttle Pub, ISBN 978-0-7946-0000-6 * Robson, S. O. (Stuart Owen); Monash University. Monash Asia Institute (2002), Javanese grammar for students (Rev. ed.), Monash Asia Institute, Monash University, ISBN 978-1-876924-12-6 * Robson, S. O. (Stuart Owen); Monash University. Centre of Southeast Asian Studies (1991), Patterns of variation in colloquial Javanese, Centre of Southeast Asian Studies, Monash University, ISBN 978-0-7326-0263-5 * Siegel, James T (1986), Solo in the new order : language and hierarchy in an Indonesian city, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0-691-00085-5 * Uhlenbeck, E. M; Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde (Netherlands) (1964), A critical survey of studies on the languages of Java
and Madura, Martinus Nijhoff, retrieved 18 February 2013 * Uhlenbeck, E. M; Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde (Netherlands) (1978), Studies in Javanese morphology, Martinus Nijhoff, ISBN 978-90-247-2162-7


JAVANESE EDITION of , the free encyclopedia

Wikivoyage has a phrasebook for JAVANESE .

* International Symposium On The Languages Of Java * Javanese in Suriname
strive to preserve origins Jakarta
Post article * Javanese Writing System * The Javanese alphabet ( Unicode
A980—A9DF) * Javanese Phonation Types, Consonants

* v * t * e

Javanese language
Javanese language


* Language * History * Romanization * Influence on other languages