How Common Is It for People in Jakarta to Use Javanese Language?

Urbanization is making Jakarta, the capital city, be a multi-ethnic city with plural societies. Speaking about ethnic, the biggest majority ethnic in Indonesia is Javanese.

Conducted ethnic census in 2000 suggested that around 44 percent of the population in Indonesia is Javanese. By lookin at the number, no wonder why Javanese Language is one a major language spoken in Indonesia.

And now, how common is it for people in Jakarta to use Javanese language?

The native ethnic in Jakarta is actually Betawi. It has its own culture and language. But because on how plural society in Jakarta, most daily conversation, either personal or formal occasion, are done in Indonesian. While in informal occasion, it can be done in the mix of Indonesian and Betawi Language (most common: “Lo” =  you, and “Gue” =  I)

So apparently, Javanese Language is not too common for people to use in here. But by looking at how major the percentage of Javanese population, we can easily spot  the Javanese people in Jakarta and see how its language influence the daily conversation.

For instant, Javanese word that commonly uses and mixes up with Indonesian is ‘Mas’ and ‘Mba’ which are titled to address a person in formal ways to an older, slightly younger, or same age. So practically, it’s basic and a ‘safe’ word when you don’t have any idea about the age. You use ‘Mas’ to address man and ‘Mba’ to woman by adding these in front of the name.

For example: Mas Adam, Mba Nina

Using it without adding their name is also okay and you can put it in front or in the back of the sentence. For example, when you order a coffee in a coffee shop:

  • “Mas, kopinya 1, ya”  (One coffee, please)
  • “Bisa tambah gula, Mba?” (Can I have more sugar, please?)

Read more about How to Address People in Javanese here.

In informal ways, ‘banget’ or ‘sangat’, which means very,  commonly used in daily conversation and actually a Javanese word but use along with Indonesian. For example:

  • “Jakarta hari ini cuacanya panas banget!” (Jakarta’s weather is very hot today!)
  • “Ujian tadi susah banget” (The exam is so hard)
  • “Ya ampun, kucingnya lucu banget!” (OMG, the cat is so cute!)

Besides that, ‘Aku’ or the informal word of ‘saya’, means I or me, is also Javanese word but mix a lot with Indonesian, for example:

  • “Aku akan pergi ke Senayan besok”  (I’m going to Senayan tomorrow)

Some basic Javanese phrases are also used often. Some even use as national popular meme! For example:

  • Piye Kabare? (Bagaimana kabarnya? =  How are you?)
  • Matur nuwun (Terima kasih = thank you)
  • Monggo (Silahkan = yes, please, or please, or go ahead)

So, how often is it for people in Jakarta to use Javanese language? Well, not that much. But learn some basic and common Javanese vocabularies can be useful when you live in a multi-ethnic city like Jakarta, right?

Read also about Javanese Slang Words and Javanese Swear Words here