How to Address People in Javanese – Rules – Structures – Vocabularies

People always socialize with the others in their daily life. They greet and talk to the others. During their communication, they have to address people they talk to. Each country has different way of addressing the other people. In English, it is more simple to address the others.

But in Indonesia, there are a lot of provinces with different dialect and different way to communicate, especially in Java. In java, there are a lot of ways to address people. The differentiation is to show respect and politeness to the others, especially the older ones.

During intercourse with someone who is younger than them, Javanese tend to use ‘dek’ before they adress their name. ‘Dek’ is used for male or female. However, it is different when they meet older people on the street or any other places. Javanese use the term ‘mas’ for male and ‘mbak’ for female. ‘Mas’ and ‘mbak’ can be used in formal and informal situation. It can be used to address a friend, family, collage, and strangers that they meet on the street, market, or any other places. Another way to address older people is using the term ‘kang’.

How to Address People in Javanese:

  • Mba = Sister (Said to someone older or strangers to show politeness)
  • Mas = Brother (Said to someone older or strangers to show politeness)
  • Pak = Sir (Said to someone older or strangers to show politeness)
  • Bu = Mam (Said to someone older or strangers to show politeness)
  • Dek (Adek) = Kid (Girl or boy, to address children)

However, the speakers who use this term is male ones. ‘Kang’ is usually used to adress older brother and someone who is close to them. It is used in informal situation. Well, let’s learn more about Javanese Slang Words 

Take a look at the example below.

1. Dik Ana wes madang? ( have you eaten, Dik Ana?) informal situation.
2. Dik Ana sampon maem? ( Have you eaten, Dik Ana?) formal situation.
3. Mbak, piro iki regane tomate? ( Mbak, how much is this tomato cost?) informal situation.
4. Mbak, pinten regane tomat niki? ( Mbak, how much is this tomato cost?) formal situation.
5. Kang Toso wes muleh. ( Kang Toso is going home.)

People who do not address the others with mbak, mas, or kang are considered rude. However they may get offended when they are called with ‘mbak’ or ‘mas’ while they are younger. Well, let’s learn more about Javanese Slang Words

Besides addressing older and younger people, Javanese also has their way to address their family and relatives. While English has the same way to call their parents’ sibling with aunt and uncle, in Javanese, it is more complex. A niece or nephew has to address their uncle and aunt based on the age of their parents’ family. Moreover, a niece or nephew has to know whether their parents were born after or before their aunt and uncle. Well, let’s learn more about Indonesian Simple Phrases 

Here’s some way of addressing an uncle and an aunt.

1. If their parents are younger than their uncle, they have to adress their uncle with ‘pakdhe’ short term of ‘Bapak gede’.
2. If their parents are older than their uncle, they have to adress their uncle with ‘paklek’ short term of ‘bapak cilik’.

The same rules are applied to address their aunt.

1. If their aunt is younger than their parents, they have to adrress their aunt with ‘bulek’ short term of ‘Ibu Cilik’.
2. If their aunt is older than their parents, they have to address their aunt with ‘budhe’ short term of ‘Ibu Gedhe’. 

Here’s the example of the conversation.

Ani : Bulek, arep nyandi? (Where are you going Bulek?)
Bulek : Bulek arep neng pasar. ( I am going to the market.)
Javanese normally use short term to call parents’ sibling instead of long term. It all applies in formal or informal situation.

Besides the explained examples, javanese parents have different way to address their son or daughter, especially to their beloved child. To address their son they use ‘nang’ short term of ‘anak lanang’ or ‘le’ short term of ‘tole’. Whereas to address their daughter, they use ‘ndhok’ short term of ‘anak wedhok’. Well, let’s learn more about Indonesian Personal Pronoun

Here’s some example of Javanese parents addressing their child.
“ Nang, tumbasne ibu gulo neng warung.” ( Honey, buy some sugar for me in the market.)
“ Ndhok, pakmu neng endi?” (Honey, where’s dad?)

For children, there are a lot of term to address their parents. It depends on how their parents want to be addressed. Usually, each parents teach their child to address them since their child learn how to speak. Until then, their child do not address them with different term. Some Javanese parents are more comfortable when they are addressed with ‘bapak’ or ‘ibu’. Well, that’s how to address people in Javanese language.

These terms are common to address the parents. However some of them choose to be addressed ‘pak e’ for father. Whereas for mother they want to be addressed ‘emak’, ‘mak e’, ‘mamak’, or ‘ simbok’.