Javanese Politeness system

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Javanese Politeness


Javanese Politeness

Indonesia has an official language of Bahasa Indonesia but the government supports local languages, one such is Javanese. The main language Bahasa Indonesia is a form of Malay, but other widely spoken languages include English, Javanese and Dutch. There are also over three hundred local dialects spoken throughout the country and Indonesia has the most registered languages in the world. With just one language as an official language of the state or country, it would reflect a distinct identification of cultures and customs of the people. (Errengton, 1998) Indonesia currently is still in crisis where there are a few states who are demanding independence from the Indonesian government. This happened because there is no unity within the country, as the government did not emphasize the importance of the use of the official language Bahasa Indonesia. (Brouwer, 2006) This also results the huge diversification of cultures and customs.

By having an official language, government can convey their message where every citizen in the country would understand. If there are more than one official language, citizens of that particular state would not understand each other, and thus resulting not only chaos but disunity too. Governments have difficulty ruling over people that they cannot communicate with.

Indonesian Javanese language use depends on a social circumstance, includes three types of different accents, or registers. Each of these styles has their own grammar, vocabulary and even prosody. (Heryanto, 1995) This is not exceptional to Javanese; neighboring Austronesian languages as well as East Asian languages such as Japanese, Korean and Thai contribute to similar constructions.

In Javanese language these styles are as follows:


It is a casual speech, mostly communicated among relatives and friends. This language is used by people of upper class with lower status people, for example...