Javanese language

Austronesian language

Javanese language (Javanese: ꦧꦱꦗꦮ, romanized: Basa Jawa; Pegon: باسا جاوا) is the native language of Javanese people which originated from the island of Java. Being the most populous island in the world, a lot of community in Java island could understand the Javanese language naturally despite not having a Javanese-ethnic identity. The Javanese language is recognized as one of the regional languages (a.k.a. the native or indigenous languages) in Indonesia with the largest speakers concentrated in the provinces of Yogyakarta, Central Java, and East Java. The Javanese language also recognized as one of the minority languages in some countries worldwide, mainly in Suriname, Netherlands, New Caledonia, Hong Kong, Australia, Carribean, Sri Lanka, and neighbouring Southeast Asian countries.

Javanese: ꦧꦱꦗꦮ, romanized: Basa Jawa, lit.'Javanese language'
Aksara Jawa - basa.svg
Basa (language) written in the Javanese script
Pronunciation[bɔsɔ dʒɔwɔ]
Native toJava (Indonesia)
Native speakers
94 million (2013)[1]
Early forms
Proto Javanese
  • Old Javanese / Ancient Javanese
    • Classical Javanese
      • Middle Javanese
Standard forms
Kawi (Early standard form)
Surakartan Javanese (Modern standard form)
DialectsJavanese dialects
— Javanese New Caledonian
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-1jv
ISO 639-2jav
ISO 639-3Variously:
jav – Javanese
jvn – Caribbean Javanese
jas – New Caledonian Javanese
osi – Osing
tes – Tenggerese
kaw – Kawi
Javanese language distribution.png
Dark green: areas where Javanese is the majority language. Light green: where it is a minority language.
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Demographic distribution of Javanese speakersEdit

Javanese is spoken throughout Indonesia, neighboring Southeast Asian countries, the Netherlands, Suriname, New Caledonia and other countries. However, the greatest concentration of speakers is in the six provinces of Java itself, and in the neighboring Sumatran province of Lampung.

Below, a table with the number of native speakers in 1980 is provided.[2]

Indonesian province % of the population Javanese speakers (1980)
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[3] 13.3% 3,652,000
11. 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 10.1% 123,000
19. North Sulawesi 1.0% 20,000
20. Central Sulawesi 2.9% 37,000
21. Southeast Sulawesi 3.6% 34,000
22. Maluku 1.1% 16,000


  1. Mikael Parkvall, "Världens 100 största språk 2007" (The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007), in Nationalencyklopedin
  2. The data is 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
  3. In 1980 this included the now separate Banten province
  1. not to be confused with the Sundanese language; the native language of Sundanese people who inhabited the West Java region, who are a distinct group from West Javanese (the sub-ethnic of Javanese in West Java)

Other websitesEdit