Palembang language

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Musi, Palembang Malay
Baso Palembang
Native toIndonesia
RegionSouth Sumatra
Native speakers
3.1 million (2000 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3mui

Palembang, also known as Palembang Malay (Baso Melayu Palembang), or Musi,[a] is a Malayic language primarily spoken in about two thirds of South Sumatra Province in Indonesia, especially along the Musi River. It consists of two separate but mutually intelligible dialect chains: Musi and Palembang.[1] The Palembang dialect is a koiné that was born in Palembang, the capital city of South Sumatra. It has become a lingua franca throughout major population centers in the province, and is often used polyglossically with Indonesian and other regional languages and dialects in the area.[3] Since parts of South Sumatra used to be under direct Javanese rule for quite a long time, the speech varieties of Palembang and its surrounding area are significantly influenced by Javanese, down to their core vocabularies.[4]


A girl speaking Musi

Dunggio (1983) lists 26 phonemes for the Palembang dialect; specifically, there are 20 consonants and 6 vowels.[5] However, another study by Aliana (1987) states that there are only 25 phonemes in Palembang, reanalyzing /z/ as and allophone of /s/ and /d͡ʒ/ instead.[6]


front central back
close i u
mid e ə o
open a

In closed syllables, /i/ and /u/ are realized as [ɪ] and [ʊ], respectively.[7]


bilabial alveolar postalv./
velar glottal
nasal m n ɲ ŋ
stop voiceless p t t͡ʃ k ʔ
voiced b d d͡ʒ g
fricative voiceless f s h
voiced z sj ɣ~r
approximant semivowel w j
lateral v l kh


An orthography has been made by the local office of Language Development and Fostering Agency that is closely related to the Indonesian Spelling System.[8]

Example Text[edit]

English Indonesian Malay (Malaysia) Minangkabau Palembang (Sari-Sari)
Universal Declaration of Human Rights Pernyataan Umum tentang Hak-Hak Asasi Manusia Perisytiharan Hak Asasi Manusia Sejagat Deklarasi Sadunia Hak-Hak Asasi Manusia Deklarasi Universal Pasal Hak Asasinyo Wong
Article 1 Pasal 1 Perkara 1 Pasal 1 Pasal 1
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. Semua orang dilahirkan merdeka dan mempunyai martabat dan hak-hak yang sama. Mereka dikaruniai akal dan hati nurani dan hendaknya bergaul satu sama lain dalam semangat persaudaraan Semua manusia dilahirkan merdeka dan mempunyai martabat dan hak-hak yang sama. Mereka mempunyai pemikiran dan hati nurani dan hendaklah bergaul antara satu sama lain dengan semangat persaudaraan. Sadonyo manusia dilahiakan mardeka dan punyo martabat sarato hak-hak nan samo. Mareka dikaruniai aka jo hati nurani, supayo satu samo lain bagaul sarupo urang badunsanak. Wong tu dilaherke merdeka galo, jugo samo-samo ado martabat dengen hak galo. Wong-wong beroleh karunia akal dengen nurani, dan mestinyo besuo samo yang laen dengen caro wong bedulur.


  1. ^ The name "Palembang" can refer both to the urban Palembang dialect, distinct from Musi dialect proper, or to the whole Palembang/Musi dialect group.[1] This term is also the most popular endonym for the language and is prominently used in the academic literature.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Musi language at Ethnologue (22nd ed., 2019)
  2. ^ Alsamadani, Mardheya; Taibah, Samar (2019). "Types and Functions of Reduplication in Palembang". Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society. 12 (1): 113.
  3. ^ McDonnell 2016, p. 13.
  4. ^ Tadmor, Uri (16–17 June 2001). Language Contact and Historical Reconstruction: The Case of Palembang Malay. 5th International Symposium on Malay/Indonesian Linguistics. Leipzig.
  5. ^ Dunggio 1983, pp. 7–10.
  6. ^ Aliana 1987, p. 14.
  7. ^ Dunggio 1983, pp. 21–22.
  8. ^ Trisman, Bambang; Amalia, Dora; Susilawati, Dyah (2007). Twilovita, Nursis (ed.). Pedoman Ejaan Bahasa Palembang [Palembang Spelling System Guidelines] (in Indonesian). Palembang: Balai Bahasa Palembang, Provinsi Sumatera Selatan, Pusat Bahasa, Departemen Pendidikan Nasional. OCLC 697282757.


  • Aliana, Zainul Arifin (1987). Morfologi dan sintaksis bahasa Melayu Palembang [The morphology and syntax of Palembang Malay] (in Indonesian). Jakarta: Pursat Pembinaan dan Pengembangan Bahasa, Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan.
  • Dunggio, P.D. (1983). Struktur bahasa Melayu Palembang [The structure of Palembang Malay] (in Indonesian). Jakarta: Pusat Pembinaan dan Pengembangan Bahasa, Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan.
  • McDonnell, Bradley (2016). Symmetrical voice constructions in Besemah: a usage-based approach (PhD Dissertation). Santa Barbara: University of California Santa Barbara.