Before the Use of The Roman Alphabet, Was There An Indigenous Script for Bahasa Indonesia?

If you are learning Indonesian some of you might wonder if there are any indigenous script that dated long before any Roman alphabet in Indonesia. Does Indonesia have a special script or an indigenous script like in Thailand or Myanmar?

So, the answer to the question: Before the use of the Roman alphabet, was there an indigenous script for Bahasa Indonesia? Is yes. Yes, there is a form of indigenous script that dated back before the Roman alphabet comes to Indonesia and it used by the ancient kingdom of Indonesia.

To discuss this question, we will need to take you back for historical lessons about indigenous script long before the Roman alphabet come in the shore of Indonesia.

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Historical backgrounds

So before there is the Roman alphabet in Indonesia, there are already written language in Indonesia. If we want to talk about ancient script used as a written language before the Roman alphabet we will mostly talk about Aksara Jawa (Ancient Javanese script dating back around 8 to 9 centuries. This written language is used as the means of administration, manuscript, written records, poetry and many more.

Aksara Jawa is an ancient script created by Aji Saka, the legendary king of Medang Kamulan kingdom in Java. The tale Aji Saka comes from Javanese poetry and it is said that he is a king that create this ancient script. The legend said that he came from India to spread Hinduism in Indonesia and in doing so create a kingdom called Medang Kamulan. Aji Saka is warrior king and his tale is legendary.

This ancient script is used as a form of written language in the kingdom of Medang Kamulan. They used it to record anything from poetry, administration, records, religion, carve relics in the temple, and many more.

After that, the usage of this script is spread to many other kingdoms in Island of Java like Mataram and Majapahit. Did we answer you on this question: Before the use of the Roman alphabet, was there an indigenous script for Bahasa Indonesia?

After the coming of the Roman alphabet

There wasn’t any clear source stating when is the first time Indonesia adapting to use the Roman alphabet as their written language. There are no clear records on when, where or how Indonesian came to adopt the Roman alphabet as their written language too.

However, by looking on Indonesian geography and history, at least we can say that the Roman alphabet spread in Indonesia through trade with Arabs and Indian Merchant.

Indonesia is choke point of Indian ocean trade routes so no wonder there is a lot of merchant coming through. Through trade, it was a very convenient way of spreading culture such as Roman alphabet written the language.

To this day, you can see the practice of using Aksara Jawa in many places on the island of Java and Bali. Indonesian government implements compulsory subject of this script in every school in a certain part of Java island especially in Central Java and Special Region of Yogyakarta where the culture and Javanese language is still deeply implemented.

That’s it on our article of Before the use of the Roman alphabet, was there an indigenous script for Bahasa Indonesia?