Javanese phrasebook

Sourced from Wikivoyage. Text is available under the CC-by-SA 3.0 license.

Jon Harald Søby
Javanese (basa Jawa / ꦧꦱꦗꦮ) is a significant language in Central and Eastern Java, in Indonesia. For the 100 million Javanese in Indonesia, it is their mother tongue, with Indonesian as a second language with more or less an equal level of proficiency. It is so widely spoken there are many words in Indonesian that are loaned from Javanese; prospective learners who understand at least some Indonesian can pick up Javanese with a little bit of effort. It works the other way too. As new generations are schooled in Indonesian, more and more areas of life are discussed in Indonesian. Changes in the way we live our lives require new vocabulary. Much of that, relating to computers, social media, for example, is influenced by English, with Indonesian coming a way behind. Javanese seems somewhat unaffected by the language developments needed to deal with with way we live our lives now. For that reason, a Javanese speaker now may pepper their speech with quite a lot of Indonesian (or English) to allow them to talk about cars, computers, the internet, and so on.
In the Javanese palaces of Yogyakarta and Surakarta, refined Javanese involves a wide range of interactive codes and sophisticated acknowledgement of social level in the usage of vocabulary. Another way to put it, status and position in relation to the person being spoken with, determines word use, and grammar.



Pronunciation guide

Phrase list