Jakarta Field Station > Projects > Javanese Dialectology
Javanese Dialect Mapping
The Javanese mapping project is concerned with documenting and analyzing various aspects of a number of different Javanese dialects. 'Standard Javanese' is based on the dialects of Surakarta (Solo) and Yogyakarta (Yogya) in Central Java and DIY respectively. The dialects of these 'exemplary centers' provide the basis for most grammars and dictionaries, and is what is uniformly taught throughout the three provinces where Javanese is the majority language, Central Java, East Java, and DIY. This standard language has also been the focus of most major linguistic studies of Javanese. However, with over 100 million speakers, there is tremendous variation among sometimes non-mutually intelligible dialects of Javanese. Our project focuses on these non-standard dialects.
By focusing on these 'peripheral' languages, many unexpected patterns have emerged. For example it has become clear that in many respects, but particularly in terms of lexicon and phonology, the 'standard' language is in many ways the most innovative, with different innovations radiating out from this center. Vowel raising and harmony provide an excellent example.
In Solo/Yogya Javanese, /a/ becomes /ɔ/ in word final position, so that lima 'five' is pronounced [limɔ]. A suffix will block vowel raising: lima-né 'the five of them' [lima-ne]. This vowel raising feeds vowel harmony, and there will be regressive assimilation of an /a/ vowel in an immediately preceding open syllable, for example, mata 'eye' is pronounced [mɔtɔ], but mata-né is [mata-ne].
Both vowel raising and vowel harmony are unknown in Old and Middle Javanese, and turn out to be innovations of the Solo/Yogya dialect. These changes have spread out and now affect many other dialects in Java. However, the geographically disconnected dialects of Banten, Pesisir Lor, Banyumasan, Tengger, and Osing all maintain the original pattern.
Our project goals include:
Our five member team is currently running projects in:
General Classification of Javanese Dialects
The five member team comprises the following people:
We are also just beginning to use a digital mapping program, developed by Hans-Joerg Bibiko of the Max Planck Institute EVA in Leipzig. This program will allow us to map isoglosses, isolated phenomena, and track and map other germane dialect features in a modern graphic layout.
In addition to our ongoing projects here, we are hosting the first International Symposium on the Languages of Java, to be held in August 2007. For more information please see http://lingweb.eva.mpg.de/jakarta/isloj.php.
Last modified: 22 Apr 2007, London, UK