Authored by: Alexander K. Ogloblin

The Austronesian Languages of Asia and Madagascar

Print publication date:  November  2004
Online publication date:  March  2013

Print ISBN: 9780700712861
eBook ISBN: 9780203821121
Adobe ISBN: 9781136755101


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The Javanese form the largest language community in the Austronesian language family. With about 80 million people at the end of the twentieth century, they make up about 40% of the Indonesian population. Their original habitat is Central and Eastern Java, but many Javanese live in Sumatra and elsewhere in Indonesia. There are also descendants of Javanese immigrants in Malaysia and Singapore (who tend to assimilate with Malays), Surinam, the Netherlands and New Caledonia. Outside Southeast Asia, their language is maintained best in Surinam, which had a Javanese community of about 50,000 members in 1980. With the Javanese outnumbering other ethnic groups in Indonesia and with the central position (in several respects) of Java in Indonesia, Javanese has had a considerable influence on Indonesian (the national language). On the other hand, more than half of the Javanese use Indonesian (particularly in formal situations). As a result, much Indonesian vocabulary is being borrowed into Javanese spoken and written language as well as Javanese mass media.

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