Wikipedia:About the Javanese language
The Javanese language is part of the Austronesian family, and is therefore related to Bahasa Indonesia and Malay language | Malay. Many speakers of Javanese also speak Bahasa Indonesia for official and business purposes.
Javanese belongs to the Sundic language | Sundic sub-branch of the Western Malayo-Polynesian languages | Western Malayo-Polynesian (also called Hesperonesian) branch of the Malayo-Polynesian subfamily of the Austronesian super family. It is a close linguistic relative of Malay, Sundanese, Madurese, Balinese language|Balinese, and to a lesser extent, of various Sumatra | Sumatran and Borneo languages, including Malagasy.
Javanese is spoken in Central and East Java, as well as on the north coast of West Java. In Madura, Bali, Lombok and the Sunda region of West Java, Javanese is also used as a literary language. It was the court language in Palembang, South Sumatra until their palace was sacked by the Dutch in the late 18th century. Javanese is also spoken in Suriname where about 15% of the country's population are Javanese descendant.
Javanese can be regarded as one of the classical languages of the world, with a vast literature spanning more than 12 centuries. Scholars divide the development of Javanese language in four different stages:
- Old Javanese, from the 9th century
- Middle Javanese, from the 13th century
- New Javanese, from the 16th century
- Modern Javanese, from 20th century (this classification is not used universally)
Javanese is written with the Javanese writing system | script, (a descendant of the Brahmi script of India), Arabo-Javanese script, Arabic script (modified for Javanese) and Latin script.
Although not currently an official language anywhere, Javanese is by far the Austronesian language with the largest number of native speakers. It is spoken or understood by approximately 80 million people. At least 45% of the total population of Indonesia are of Javanese descent or live in an area where Javanese is the dominant language. Four out of five Indonesian presidents since 1945 are of Javanese descent. It is therefore not surprising that Javanese has a deep impact on the development of Bahasa Indonesia (or Indonesian), the national language of Indonesia, which is a modern dialect of Malay language|Malay.
There are three main dialects of Modern Javanese: Central Javanese, Eastern Javanese and Western Javanese. There is a dialect continuum from Banten in the extreme west of Java to Banyuwangi, in the foremost eastern corner of the island. All Javanese dialects are more or less mutually intelligible.