Banjarese language

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Bahasa Banjar
بهاس بنجر
Native toIndonesia
RegionSouth Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, and Central Kalimantan
EthnicityBanjar people
Native speakers
3.5 million (2000 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
bjn – Banjar
bvu – Bukit Malay
A Banjarese speaker.
Banjar language in a Jawi script sign of Lok Tamu village office in Mataraman subdistrict, Banjar Regency, South Kalimantan, Indonesia

Banjarese (Banjar: Bahasa/Basa Banjar, Indonesian: Bahasa Banjar, Jawi: بهاس بنجر) is an Austronesian language spoken by the Banjar people of South Kalimantan province of Indonesia. Since the Banjarese were historically nomadic merchants, Banjarese has been spoken throughout modern Indonesia and the Malay world.


Especially on the island of Kalimantan, Banjarese can be considered as a lingua franca, as it is used widely in three of the five provinces of Kalimantan: South Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, and Central Kalimantan; on West Kalimantan and North Kalimantan, Malay is more popular.

Relationship to Standard Malay[edit]

Although Banjarese is sometimes considered to be Malay,[1] it is not particularly close to other Malayan languages. It is divided into two major dialects: the upper river (Banjar Hulu) and down river (Banjar Kuala) dialects. The main differences between the two dialects can be found in phonology and lexicons, but slight differences in syntactic structure can also be noticed. Banjar Hulu has only three vowels, namely /i/, /u/, and /a/. When a word contains vowels other than the three, the foreign vowel will be replaced with one of them based on the closeness of height and other quality of the vowels.


A Banjarese speaker trying to pronounce the English word "logo" will sound like they are pronouncing the Indonesian word for innocent, "lugu". The Indonesian word "orang" for human will be pronounced "urang". The word "ke mana" (where) will be pronounced and even often spelled "ka mana". Other distinctive characteristics of the Banjar Hulu dialect is that words beginning with a vowel are most likely to be pronounced with an /h/ sound in front of the words. The addition of the /h/ sound can also be noticed in the spelling.



Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
voiceless p t k
voiced b d ɡ
Fricative s h
Lateral l
Rhotic r
Approximant w j


Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid ɛ o
Open a



a b c d é g h i j k l m n ny ng o p r s t u w y
Phonetic value
a b d ɛ g h i k l m n ɲ ŋ o p r s t u w j


A minor dialect, Bukit, is assigned a separate ISO code.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Banjar at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Bukit Malay at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b Hapip, Abdul Jebar (2006). Kamus Banjar Indonesia, Cetakan V.

External links[edit]