Languages of Indonesia

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More than 700 living languages are spoken in Indonesia.[1] Most belong to the Austronesian language family, with a few Papuan languages also spoken. The official language is Indonesian (locally known as Bahasa Indonesia), a variant of Malay,[2] which was used in the archipelago, — borrowing heavily from local languages of Indonesia such as Javanese, Sundanese, Minangkabau, etc. The Indonesian language is primarily used in commerce, administration, education and the media, but most Indonesians speak other languages, such as Javanese, as their first language.[1] Most, if not all, books printed in Indonesia are written in the Indonesian language.[citation needed]

Since Indonesia only recognizes a single official language, other languages are not recognized either at national level nor regional level, thus making Javanese the most widely spoken language without official status, and Sundanese the second in the list (excluding Chinese dialects).

Languages by speakers[edit]

Several major ethno-linguistic groups of Indonesia


Largest languages in Indonesia[3]
(Figures indicate numbers of native speakers except for the national language, Indonesian)

Language Number (millions) Year surveyed Main areas where spoken
Indonesian/Malay 210 2010 throughout Indonesia
Javanese 84.3 2000 (census) Northern Banten, Northern West Java, Yogyakarta, Central Java and East Java
Sundanese 34.0 2000 (census) West Java, Banten
Madurese 13.6 2000 (census) Madura Island (East Java)
Minangkabau 5.5 2007 West Sumatra, Riau
Musi (Palembang Malay)[4] 3.9 2000 (census) South Sumatra
Manado Malay (Minahasan) 3.8 2001 Minahasa, North Sulawesi
Bugis 3.5 1991 South Sulawesi
Banjarese 3.5 2000 (census) South Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan
Acehnese 3.5 2000 (census) Aceh
Balinese 3.3 2000 (census) Bali Island and Lombok Island
Betawi 2.7 1993 Jakarta
Sasak 2.1 1989 Lombok Island (West Nusa Tenggara)
Batak Toba 2.0 1991 North Sumatra
Ambonese Malay 1.9 1987 Maluku
Makassarese 1.6 1989 South Sulawesi
Batak Dairi 1.2 1991 North Sumatra
Batak Simalungun 1.2 2000 (census) North Sumatra
Batak Mandailing 1.1 2000 (census) North Sumatra
Jambi Malay 1.0 2000 (census) Jambi
Mongondow 0.9 1989 North Sulawesi
Gorontalo 0.9 1989 Gorontalo (province)
Ngaju Dayak 0.9 2003 Southern Kalimantan
Nias 0.8 2000 (census) Nias Island, North Sumatra
Batak Angkola 0.7 1991 North Sumatra
North Moluccan Malay 0.7 2001 North Maluku
Chinese (Hokkien and Teochew) 0.7 1982 Northern Sumatra, Riau, Riau Islands and West Kalimantan
Chinese (Hakka) 0.6 1982 Bangka Belitung, Riau Islands and West Kalimantan
Batak Karo 0.6 1991 North Sumatra
Uab Meto 0.6 1997 West Timor (East Nusa Tenggara)
Bima 0.5 1989 Sumbawa Island (West Nusa Tenggara)
Manggarai 0.5 1989 Flores Island (East Nusa Tenggara)
Toraja-Sa’dan 0.5 1990 South Sulawesi, West Sulawesi
Komering 0.5 2000 (census) South Sumatra
Tetum 0.4 2004 West Timor (East Nusa Tenggara)
Rejang 0.4 2000 (census) Bengkulu
Muna 0.3 1989 Southeast Sulawesi
Basa Semawa 0.3 1989 Sumbawa Island (West Nusa Tenggara)
Bangka 0.3 2000 (census) Bangka Island (Bangka Belitung)
Osing 0.3 2000 (census) East Java
Gayo 0.3 2000 (census) Aceh
Tolaki 0.3 1991 Southeast Sulawesi
Lewotobi language 0.3 2000 Flores Island (East Nusa Tenggara)
Tae’ 0.3 1992 South Sulawesi

Comparison chart[edit]

Indonesian languages[edit]

Below is a chart of several Indonesian languages. Most of them belong to Austronesian languages family. While there has been misunderstandings on which ones should be classified as language and which ones should be classified as dialect, the chart confirms that most have similarities, yet are not mutually comprehensible. These languages are arranged according to the numbers of native speakers.

English one two three four water person house dog coconut day new we (inclusive) what and
Kutainese satu due tige empat ranam urang rumah koyok nyiur hari beru etam apa dengan
Indonesian/ Malay satu dua tiga empat air orang rumah anjing kelapa hari baru kita apa dan
Javanese siji loro têlu[5] papat banyu uwòng[6] omah asu kambìl[7] dinå[8] anyar/énggal[9] adhéwé[10] åpå[11]/anu lan
Sundanese hiji dua tilu opat cai/ci jalma imah anjing kalapa poé anyar urang naon jeung
Madurese settong dhuwa' tello' empa' âên oreng roma pate' nyior are anyar sengko apa ban
Minangkabau cie' duo tigo ampe' aie urang rumah anjiang karambia hari baru awak apo jo
Palembang Malay sikok duo tigo empat banyu wong rumah anjing kelapo siang baru kito apo dan
Buginese seqdi dua tellu eppa je'ne' tau bola asu kaluku esso ma-baru idiq aga na
Banjarese asa dua talu ampat banyu urang rumah hadupan nyiur hari hanyar kita apa wan
Acehnese sa dua lhèë peuët ureuëng rumoh asèë u uroë ban geutanyoë peuë ngon
Balinese sa dadua telu patpat yèh anak umah cicing nyuh dina mara iraga apa muah
Betawi atu' due tige empat aer orang rumeh anjing kelape ari baru kite ape ame
Sasak sa/seke' due telu mpat aik dengan bale acong/basong kenyamen/nyioh jelo baru ite ape dait
Batak Toba sada dua tolu opat aek halak jabu biang harambiri ari ibbaru hita aha dohot
Ambonese Malay satu dua tiga ampa air orang ruma anjing kalapa hari baru katong apa dan
Makassarese se're rua tallu appa' je'ne' tau balla' kongkong kaluku allo beru ikatte apa na
Batak Mandailing sada dua tolu opat aek halak bagas asu arambir ari baru hita aha dohot
Mongondow inta' dua tolu opat tubig intau baloi ungku' cekut singgai mo-bagu kita onda bo
Manado Malay satu dua tiga ampa aer orang ruma anjing kalapa hari baru torang apa deng
Dayak Ngaju ije' due' telu' epat danum uluh huma' asu enyuh andau haru itah narai en
Lampung say ʁuwa telu ampat way jelema nuwa asu nyiwi ʁani ampai ʁam api jama
Tolaki o'aso o'ruo o'tolu o'omba iwoi toono laika odahu sanggore oleo wuohu inggito ohawo ronga
Nias sara dua tolu ofa idano niha omo asu banio luo bohou ya'ita hadia ba

Challenge[edit]

There are 726 languages spoken across the Indonesian archipelago in 2009 (dropped from 742 languages in 2007), the largest multilingual population in the world only after Papua New Guinea. Indonesian Papua which adjacent with Papua New Guinea has the most languages in Indonesia.[12] Based on the EGIDS classification used by Ethnologue (formerly the Summer Institute of Linguistics), 63 languages are dying (shown in red on the bar chart, and subdivided into Moribund, Nearly Extinct, or Dormant), which is defined as "The only fluent users (if any) are older than child-bearing age, so it is too late to restore natural intergenerational transmission through the home."[13]

Language education policy[edit]

Indonesia's Minister of Education and Culture Muhammad Nuh affirmed in January 2013 that the teaching of local languages as school subjects will be part of the national education curriculum. Nuh stated that much of the public worry about the teaching of local languages being left out of the curriculum is misplaced and that the new curriculum will be conveyed to them. [14]

Languages by family[edit]

Several prominent languages spoken in Indonesia sorted by language family are:

There are many additional small families and isolates among the Papuan languages.

Sign languages[edit]

Writing system[edit]

Like most writing systems in human history, Indonesia's are not rendered in native-invented systems, but devised by speakers of Sanskrit, Arabic, and Latin. Malay, for example, has a long history as a written language and has been rendered in Indic, Arabic, and Latin scripts. Javanese has been written in the Nagari and Pallava scripts of India, as well as their derivative (known as Kawi and Javanese), in an Arabic alphabet called pegon that incorporates Javanese sounds, and in the Latin script.

Chinese characters have never been used to write Indonesian languages, although Indonesian place-names, personal names, and names of trade goods appear in reports and histories written for China's imperial courts.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Lewis, M. Paul (2009). "Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition.". SIL International. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  2. ^ Sneddon, James (2003). The Indonesian Language: Its history and role in modern society. Sydney: University of South Wales Press Ltd. 
  3. ^ http://www.ethnologue.com/show_country.asp?name=ID
  4. ^ Muhadjir. 2000. Bahasa Betawi:sejarah dan perkembangannya. Yayasan Obor Indonesia. p. 13.
  5. ^ Piwulang Basa Jawa Pepak, S.B. Pramono, hal 148, 2013
  6. ^ Piwulang Basa Jawa Pepak, S.B. Pramono, hal 148, 2013
  7. ^ Piwulang Basa Jawa Pepak, S.B. Pramono, hal 148, 2013
  8. ^ Piwulang Basa Jawa Pepak, S.B. Pramono, hal 148, 2013
  9. ^ Piwulang Basa Jawa Pepak, S.B. Pramono, hal 148, 2013
  10. ^ Piwulang Basa Jawa Pepak, S.B. Pramono, hal 148, 2013
  11. ^ Piwulang Basa Jawa Pepak, S.B. Pramono, hal 148, 2013
  12. ^ "90 Persen Bahasa Ibu di Dunia Terancam Punah". June 27, 2012. 
  13. ^ http://www.ethnologue.com/country/ID/status
  14. ^ http://m.antaranews.com/berita/351761/pelajaran-bahasa-daerah-tetap-ada
  15. ^ Taylor, Jean Gelman (2003). Indonesia: Peoples and Histories. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. p. 29. ISBN 0-300-10518-5. 

External links[edit]