Madurese language

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Bhâsa Madhurâ
بَهاسَ مَدورا
Native toIndonesia
RegionIsland of Madura, Sapudi Islands, Java, Singapore and Malaysia (as Boyanese)
Native speakers
6.7 million (2011)[1]
Latin script
Carakan script
Pegon alphabet
Official status
Official language in
 East Java (with Javanese and Indonesian)
Language codes
ISO 639-2mad
ISO 639-3Either:
mad – Madurese proper
kkv – Kangean
Madurese in Javanese script

Madurese (Madurese: Bhâsa Madhurâ; Carakan: ꦧꦱꦴꦩꦝꦸꦫꦴ; Pegon: بَهاسَ مَدورا) is a language of the Madurese people of Madura Island and Eastern Java, Indonesia; it is also spoken on the neighbouring small Kangean Islands and Sapudi Islands, as well as by migrants to other parts of Indonesia, namely the eastern salient of Java (comprising Pasuruan, Surabaya, Malang to Banyuwangi), the Masalembu Islands and even some on Kalimantan. The Kangean dialect may be a separate language. It was traditionally written in the Javanese script, but the Latin script and the Pegon script (based on Arabic script) is now more commonly used. The number of speakers, though shrinking, is estimated to be 8–13 million, making it one of the most widely spoken languages in the country. Bawean, a variant of Madurese, is also spoken by Baweanese (or Boyan) descendants in Malaysia and Singapore.

Madurese is a Malayo-Sumbawan language of the Malayo-Polynesian language family, a branch of the larger Austronesian language family. Thus, despite apparent geographic spread, Madurese is more related to Balinese, Malay, Sasak and Sundanese, than it is to Javanese, the language used on the island of Java just across Madura Island.

Links between Bali–Sasak languages and Madurese are more evident with the vernacular form (common form).[citation needed]


Latin letters are given according to the 2008 orthography.[2]


Madurese vowels
Front Central Back
unrounded rounded
Close /i/
Mid /ɛ/
ꦄꦼ ⟨e⟩
ꦄꦼꦴ ⟨â⟩
Open /a/


Madurese consonants
Labial Dental/
Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal /m/
Plosive voiceless /p/
voiced /b/
aspirated //
Fricative /s/
Trill /r/
Approximant central /j/
lateral /l/

Madurese has more consonants than its neighboring languages due to it having voiceless unaspirated, voiceless aspirated, and voiced sounds. Similar to Javanese, it has a contrast between dental and alveolar (even retroflex) stops.[3][4]

The letters ⟨f⟩, ⟨q⟩, ⟨v⟩, ⟨x⟩, and ⟨z⟩ are used in loanwords.[5]


Madurese nouns are not inflected for gender and are pluralized via reduplication. Its basic word order is subject–verb–object. Negation is expressed by putting a negative particle before the verb, adjective or noun phrase. As with other similar languages, there are different negative particles for different kinds of negation.[6]

Common words[edit]

Madurese Indonesian English
lalake laki-laki male
babine perempuan female
iya iya yes
enja tidak no
æng air water
are matahari sun
mata mata eye
engko aku/saya I/me
bana kamu/engkau you


Madurese Indonesian English
settong satu one
duwa dua two
tello tiga three
empa empat four
lema lima five
ennem enam six
petto tujuh seven
ballu delapan eight
sanga sembilan nine
sapolo sepuluh ten

Sample text[edit]

From the Article 1 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Sâdhâjâna orèng lahèr mardhika è sarenge dhrâjhât klabân ha'-ha' sè padâ. Sâdhâjâna èparèngè akal sareng nurani bân kodhu areng-sareng akanca kadhi tarètan.

"All Human Beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."


  1. ^ Madurese proper at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
    Kangean at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
  2. ^ see Davies (2010), p. 59
  3. ^ Davies (2010), p. 59
  4. ^ Stevens, Alan (2001). "Madurese". In Garry, J.; Rubino, C. (eds.). Facts About the World's Languages. New York: H. W. Wilson.
  5. ^ Ejaan Bahasa Madura yang Disempurnakan (in Indonesian). Departemen Pendidikan Nasional, Pusat Bahasa, Balai Bahasa Surabaya. 2008. p. 3.
  6. ^ see Davies (2010), p. 273-275


  • Davies, W. D. (2010). A Grammar of Madurese. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
  • Kiliaan, H. N. (1897). Madoereesche Spraakkunst (in Dutch). Batavia: Landsdrukkerij.