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Jakarta Field Station > Collaborative Projects > The Phonology of Jakarta Indonesian

The Phonology of Jakarta Indonesian

Outside Scientists:
Caro Struijke (Free University, Amsterdam)

MPI Scientist:
Uri Tadmor

Of all varieties of Malay-Indonesian, Jakarta Indonesian probably has the largest number of native speakers. It is based on Betawi, the language of the indigenous inhabitants of Jakarta, but has been influenced by formal Indonesian. In addition to serving as an interethnic koine in and around Jakarta, it is also the first language of most people born in the city since the middle of the 20th century. Jakarta Indonesian is now rapidly becoming the language of choice for educated urban speakers throughout Indonesia, and is also widely used on radio and television as well as in films. A written style of Jakarta Indonesian is used in youth magazines, Internet chats, and even a daily newspaper.

Given the importance of Jakarta Indonesian, it is surprising that its phonology has never been systematically described and analyzed. This new project aims to correct this situation. It should be emphasized, however, that in addition to its intrinsic importance, Jakarta Indonesian also exhibits a number of unique phonological patterns not attested in other varieties of Malay-Indonesian. Often, these patterns are due to the influence of neighboring languages, such as Javanese and Sundanese. We aim to describe the inventory of segments, allophonic and morpho-phonemic alternations, and prosodic system, as well as the major phonological processes of Jakarta Indonesian. Particular attention will be paid to patterns of variation.

Last modified: 29 January 2004
Location: ji_phonology.php.html