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Jakarta Field Station > Projects > Javanese Dialectology

Javanese Dialectology

Javanese Dialect Mapping

Project Description:

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:

  • make naturalistic recordings of each targeted dialect, including a range of speakers across age, gender, religious, and socio-economic classes
  • transcribe and translate these recordings
  • create a searchable database, tagged with dialect specific and construction specific markers
  • make this database openly available to any interested party

Our five member team is currently running projects in:

  • Banyumasan: spoken in the southwest of Central Java, specifically the four administrative districts (kebupaten) of Banyumas, Purbalingga, Banjarnegara, and Cilacap.
  • Pesisir Lor: Spoken in the northwest of Central Java, including Pemalang, Tegal, and Pekalongan.
  • Malang/Pasuran in East Java
  • Lumajang in East Java
  • Tengger: in the Bromo-Semeru highlands of East Java
  • Semarang and Semarangan: the native Javanese dialect of the Central Java city of Semarang, and the local variety spoken by the native Chinese community of Semarang
  • Madiun – Kediri Dialect: located on the western side of East Java Province, near the border between East Java and Central Java
  • Osing Dialect: located in the far southeast of East Java, across the strait from Bali

General Classification of Javanese Dialects

MMalayu (termasuk B. Indonesia)
JWWest Javanese
JWKAWest Javanese Krama Andhap
JWKIWest Javanese Krama Inggil
JWHWest Javanese Krama (Halus)
JWMDWest Javanese Madyo
JWBBanten Javanese
JCCentral Javanese
JCKACentral Javanese Krama Andhap
JCKICentral Javanese Krama Inggil
JCHCentral Javanese Krama (Halus)
JCMDCentral Javanese Madyo
JCPPesisir Dialects
JEEast Javanese
JEKAEast Javanese Krama Andhap
JEKIEast Javanese Krama Inggil
JEHEast Javanese Krama (Halus)
JEMDEast Javanese Madyo
JETRRanu Pane
JOOuter Javanese
JOPPapuan Javanese

The five member team comprises the following people:

We would like to expand our projects in the near future to include both Osing, the dialect of Javanese spoken in the extreme southeast of East Java, and Banten, where a community of Javanese speakers exists in Banten Province, on the western end of Java.

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 isloj1.php.html.

Last modified: 22 Apr 2007, London, UK
Location: javanese_dialectology.php.html