|Native to||Java, Indonesia|
|Region||West Java, Banten, Jakarta, parts of western Central Java, southern Lampung, also spoken by the Sundanese diaspora all over Indonesia, some were recorded in Australia and throughout the world.|
|42 million (2016)|
|Latin script (present)|
Sundanese script (present; optional)
Old Sundanese script (14-18th centuries AD, present; optional)
Sundanese Cacarakan script (17-19th centuries AD, present; certain areas)
Sundanese Pégon script (17-20th centuries AD, present; religious use only)
Buda Script (13-15th centuries AD, present; optional)
Kawi script (historical)
Official language in
| Banten (regional)|
West Java (regional)
|Regulated by||Lembaga Basa Jeung Sastra Sunda|
Areas where Sundanese is a majority native language
Areas where Sundanese is a minority language
Sundanese (; Basa Sunda, Sundanese pronunciation: [basa s?nda], in Sundanese script: ) is a Malayo-Polynesian language spoken by the Sundanese. It has approximately 40 million native speakers in the western third of Java; they represent about 15% of Indonesia's total population.
According to American linguist Robert Blust, Sundanese is closely related to the Malayic languages, as well as to language groups spoken in Borneo such as the Land Dayak languages or the Kayan-Murik languages, based on high lexical similarities between these languages. It is more distantly related to Madurese and Javanese.
Sundanese is mainly spoken on the west side of the island of Java, in an area known as Tatar Sunda (Pasundan). However, Sundanese is also spoken in the western part of Central Java, especially in Brebes and Cilacap Regency, because these areas were previously under the control of the Galuh Kingdom. Many place names in Cilacap are still Sundanese names and not Javanese names such as Dayeuhluhur, Cimanggu, Cipari and so on.
Until 1600 AD, Sundanese was the state language in the kingdoms of Salakanagara, Tarumanagara, Sunda, Galuh, and Pajajaran. During this period, Sundanese was heavily influenced by the Sanskrit language as seen in the Batu Tapak Kaki Kiri Nyoreang inscription at the time of King Purnawarman, using the Pallava script. Sundanese at that time was used in the fields of state, art, and daily life, many religious books were written in Sundanese and used Old Sundanese script such as the Sanghyang Siksa Kandang Karesian Manuscript, Carita Parahyangan, Amanat Galunggung, and Guru Talapakan.
In addition, according to some Sundanese language experts until around the 6th century, the area of speech reached around the Dieng Plateau in Central Java, based on the name "Dieng" which is considered the name Sundanese (from the origin of the word dihyang which is an Old Sundanese word). Along with transmigration and immigration carried out by the Sundanese ethnics, speakers of this language have spread beyond the island of Java. For example, in Lampung, South Sumatra, Jambi, Riau, West Kalimantan, Southeast Sulawesi and even outside the country of Indonesia, such as Taiwan, Japan, Australia and other countries, a significant number of ethnic Sundanese live in areas outside the Pasundan.
Sundanese has several dialects, conventionally described according to the locations of the people:
The Priangan dialect, which covers the largest area where Sundanese people lives (Parahyangan in Sundanese), is the most widely spoken type of Sundanese language, taught in elementary till senior-high schools (equivalent to twelfth-year school grade) in West Java and Banten Province.
The language has been written in different writing systems throughout history. The earliest attested documents of the Sundanese language were written in the Old Sundanese script (Aksara Sunda Kuno). After the arrival of Islam, the Pegon script is also used, usually for religious purposes. The Latin script then began to be used after the arrival of Europeans. In modern times, most of Sundanese literature is written in Latin. The regional government of West Java and Banten are currently promoting the use of Standard Sundanese script (Aksara Sunda Baku) in public places and road signs. The Pegon script is still used mostly by pesantrens (Islamic boarding school) in West Java and Banten or in Sundanese Islamic literature.
Sundanese orthography is highly phonemic (see also Sundanese script).
There are seven vowels: a /a/, é /?/, i /i/, o /?/, u /u/, e /?/, and eu /?/.
According to Müller-Gotama (2001) there are 18 consonants in the Sundanese phonology: /b/, /t?/, /d/, /?/, /h/, /d?/, /k/, /l/, /m/, /n/, /p/, /r/, /s/, /?/, /t/, /?/, /w/, /j/; however, influences from foreign languages have introduced several additional consonants such as /f/, /v/, /z/ (as in fonem, qur'an, xerox, zakat). The consonantal phonemes are transcribed with the letters p, b, t, d, k, g, c (pronounced /t?/), j /d/, h, ng (/?/), ny /?/, m, n, s /s/, w, l, r /r~?/, and y /j/. Other consonants that originally appear in Indonesian loanwords are mostly transferred into native consonants: f -> p, v -> p, sy -> s, sh -> s, z -> j, and kh /x/ -> h.
Ephentetic semivowels /w/ and /j/ are inserted after a high vowel immediately followed by another vowel, as in the words:
Sundanese has an elaborate system of register distinguishing levels of formality. At the beginning of speech level development, it was known 6 levels of Sundanese language: basa kasar (rough), sedeng (medium), lemes (polite), lemes pisan (very polite), kasar pisan (very rough), and basa panengah (intermediate). But since the 1988 Congress of Sundanese Language in Bogor, the speech level has been narrowed to only two parts: basa hormat (respectful) and basa loma (fair). Besides that, the term was changed to "tatakrama basa" (language manners), although the substance remained the same. The hormat variant is a subtle language to respect, while the loma variant is fair, neutral and familiar use. This variety of loma language is then used as a kind of "standard" variety of written languages in Sundanese society. Sundanese magazines, newspapers, literary books and theses, mostly using the loma variant. Apart from the two previous levels, there is actually one more lowest level, namely cohag (rough). This level is only used when angry or intended for animals.
For many words, there are distinct loma and lemes forms, e.g. arék (loma) vs. badé (lemes) "want", maca (lomar) vs. maos (lemes) "read". In the lemes level, some words further distinguish humble and respectful forms, the former being used to refer to oneself, and the latter for the addressee and third persons, e.g. rorompok "(my own) house" vs. bumi "(your or someone else's) house" (the loma form is imah).
|English||Hormat / Lemes||Loma||Cohag|
expressing speaker's superiority)
hidep (for younger)
|he/she||mantenna (to be respected)
|we||abdi sadayana (informal)
sim kuring sadayana (formal)
hidep saréréa (for younger)
|English||Hormat / Lemes||Loma||Cohag|
|for other||for myself|
|go||angkat, jengkar||mios||miang, indit||jangkor|
|speak||nyarios, nyaur||nyanggem||nyarita, ngomong||ngabangus, ngacapluk|
|go home||mulih||wangsul||balik, mulang||mantog|
|home or house||bumi||rorompok||imah||gogobrog|
|father||tuang rama||pun bapa||bapa||babéh|
|mother||tuang ibu||pun biang||biang, ema||indung|
|have or has||kagungan||gaduh||boga||gableg, gadur|
|dead||palastra, pupus||ngantunkeun, nilar||maot||paéh, modar, kojor|
|no! or I don't want it!||teu kersa||alim, narah||embung|
|here||(palih) dieu||(beulah) dieu|
|there||(palih) ditu||(beulah) ditu|
|there is (there are)||nyondong||aya|
|there is no (there are no)||teu aya||euweuh|
|21||||||dua puluh hiji|
|31||||||tilu puluh hiji|
This section may need to be rewritten to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards. (February 2020)
|eat||dahar||tuang (for other)|
neda (for myself)
|forget||poho||lali (for other)
hilap (for myself)
|sit||diuk||linggih (for other)
calik (for myself)
|standing||nangtung||adeg (for other)
tatih (for myself)
Other Austronesian languages commonly use reduplication to create plural forms. However, Sundanese inserts the ar infix into the stem word. If the stem word starts with l, or contains r following the infix, the infix ar becomes al. Also, as with other Sundanese infixes (such as um), if the word starts with vowel, the infix becomes a prefix. Examples:
However, it is reported that this use of al instead of ar (as illustrated in (4) above) does not to occur if the 'r' is in onset of a neighbouring syllable. For example, the plural form of the adjective curiga (suspicious) is caruriga and not *caluriga, because the 'r' in the root occurs at the start of the following syllable.
The prefix can be reduplicated to denote very-, or the plural of groups. For example, "bararudak" denotes many, many children or many groups of children (budak is child in Sundanese). Another example, "balalageur" denotes plural adjective of "very well-behaved".
Most active forms of Sundanese verbs are identical to the root, as with diuk "sit" or dahar "eat". Some others depend on the initial phoneme in the root:
Dupi (for polite situation)/Ari (for formal situation)-(question)
|whose/whom||nu saha||kagungan saha||punya siapa|
|where||(di) mana||(di) manten||(di) mana|
teuas (hard), tiis (cool for water and solid objects), tiris (cool for air), hipu (soft), lada (hot/spicy, usually for foods), haneut (warm), etc.
Sundanese has three generic prepositions for spatial expressions:
To express more specific spatial relations (like 'inside', 'under' etc.), these prepositions have be combined with locative nouns:
|di jero||di lebet||inside|
|di luar||di luar||outside|
|di gigir||di gedeng||beside|
|di luhur||di luhur||above|
|di handap||di handap||below|
|di tukang||di pengker||behind|
|di hareup||di payun||in front|
Di gigir/luhur/handap/tukang/hareup (also ka gigir, ti gigir etc.) are absolute adverial expressions without a following noun. To express relative position, they have to add the suffix -eun, e.g.:
Di jero, di luar and the polite forms luhur & pengker can be used both with and without a following noun.