Banyumasan language

Banyumasan language
Basa Banyumasan
Spoken in Western Part of Central Java (Indonesia)
Native speakers 12–15 million  (date missing)
Language family
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None

The Banyumasan language, spoken on the island of Java, is usually considered a dialect of Javanese in modern language classification.

The Banyumasan language is mainly spoken in the three areas of the island of Java: the Banyumasan region, located in westernmost Central Java Province and surrounding the Slamet mountain and Serayu River; a neighboring area inside West Java Province; and northern region of Banten Province. This area includes Majenang, Cilacap, Gombong, Kebumen, Banjarnegara, Purbalingga, Purwokerto, Bumiayu, Slawi, Pemalang, Tegal, and Brebes region.



Scholars divide the development of Javanese language into four different stages:

  • 9th–13th century, known as Old Javanese
  • 13th–16th century developed to Middle Javanese
  • 16th–20th century developed to New Javanese
  • 20th century: Modern Javanese.

The phases above were influenced by the emergence of empires in Java. In Javanese cultural history, empires yielded some distinct grades of language, each grade representing the social grade of the speakers (mainly nobles and populaces). Those grades of language are not of significant influence to Banyumasan people. In the Banyumasan region, high grades are usually used only when speaking to a stranger assumed to come from the eastern area of Java i.e. Yogyakarta / Surakarta etc, or on certain occasions. Surakartan and Yogyakartan style are usually considered the standard Javanese language.

Banyumasan has a lot of differences compared to standard Javanese, mainly in phonology, pronunciation and vocabulary. This happened due to cultural or character distinction and widely current usage of Old Javanese vocabulary. Another distinction is that the pronunciation of the vowels is not as complicated.

Vocabulary distinction basically found in:

  • Same word and phonetic but different meaning
  • Same word and meaning but different phonetic
  • Same phonetic and meaning but different pronunciation (changed on consonant or vowel).
Banyumasan Language Standard Javanese English
ageh ayo come on
ambring sepi quiet
batir kanca friend
bangkong kodok frog
bengel mumet dizzy
bodhol rusak broken
brug → Dutch loanwords kreteg bridge
bringsang sumuk heat
gering kuru thin
clebek kopi coffee
londhog alon slow
druni medhit stingy
dhonge/dhongane kudune should be
egin isih still
gableg duwe have
getul tekan arrive
gigal tiba fall
gili dalan road
gujih rewel fussy
jagong lungguh sit
kiye iki this
kuwe iku that
letek asin salty
maen apik good
maregi nyebeli badly


Javanese speech varies depending on social context, yielding three distinct styles, or registers. Each style employs its own vocabulary, grammatical rules and even prosody. This is not unique to Javanese; neighbouring Austronesian languages as well as East Asian languages such as Korean, Japanese and Thai share similar constructions.

In Javanese these styles are called:

  1. Ngoko is informal speech, used between friends and close relatives. It is also used by persons of higher status to persons of lower status, such as elders to younger people or bosses to subordinates.
  2. Madya is the intermediary form between ngoko and krama. An example of the context where one would use madya is an interaction between strangers on the street, where one wants to be neither too formal nor too informal.
  3. Krama is the polite and formal style. It is used between persons of the same status who do not wish to be informal. It is also the official style for public speeches, announcements, etc.

In Banyumasan region, Madya and Krama styles are rarely used, usually towards a stranger who is assumed to come from the eastern area of Java (wetanan) such as Yogyakarta, Surakarta etc or on certain occasions, an eastern style of language (basa wetanan) named bandhekan (from gandhek).

Dialects and sub-dialects

There are 3 main dialects of Banyumasan language: North area (Tegalan), South area (Banyumasan), and Banten. The Tegalan dialect is spoken in northern areas of Banyumasan: Tanjung, Ketanggungan, Larangan, Brebes, Slawi, Moga, Pemalang, Surodadi and Tegal. The Banyumasan dialect is spoken in southern areas: Bumiayu, Karang Pucung, Cilacap, Nusakambangan Island, Kroya, Ajibarang, Wangon, Purwokerto, Purbalingga, Bobotsari, Banjarnegara, Purwareja, Kebumen and Gombong. The Banten dialect is spoken in north Banten.

In addition, there are several sub-dialects spoken in Banyumasan, such as Bumiayu sub-dialect, Dayeuhluhur sub-dialect, and Ayah sub-dialect.

See also

External links

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