Jakarta Field Station > Projects > Language Contact > Semarangan
'Semarangan' is how the Chinese community of Semarang, a city on Java's north coast, refer to the way they speak. Their speech appears to be a mixture of Javanese and Indonesian, with the bulk of the syntax and phonology coming from Javanese, but the morpheme inventory (both content and function words, including affixes) fluctuating freely between Javanese and Indonesian. It is not clear yet whether Semarangan is simply a manifestation of code switching and mixing, an individual performance phenomenon, or whether it is crystallizing into a language. Initial findings suggest that we are dealing mostly with random code switching/mixing by bilingual speakers. However, Semarangan has a few unique features, not recorded in Indonesian or in the local Javanese dialect (as used by ethnic Javanese), for example the locative preposition da. This may be an indication that Semarangan is in the process of developing into a code in its own right.
Last modified: 3 June 2003