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Not to be confused with Sudanese.
ᮘᮞ ᮞᮥᮔ᮪ᮓ Basa Sunda
Native to Indonesia
Region West Java, Banten, Jakarta, parts of western Central Java, southern Lampung
Ethnicity Sundanese, Bantenese, Cirebonese, Badui
Native speakers
38 million  (2007)[1]
Cacarakan (historical)
Latin (present)
Pranagari (historical)
Pegon alphabet (religious use)
Sundanese script (present)
Vatteluttu (historical)
Official status
Official language in
 Banten (regional)
 West Java (regional)
Language codes
ISO 639-1 su
ISO 639-2 sun
ISO 639-3 Either:
sun – Sunda
bac – Badui
Glottolog sund1251[3]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Sundanese /sʌndəˈnz/[4] (Basa Sunda /basa sʊnda/, in Sundanese script ᮘᮞ ᮞᮥᮔ᮪ᮓ, literally "language of Sunda") is the language of about 39 million people from the western third of Java or about 15% of the Indonesian population.


Sundanese appears to be most closely related to Madurese and Malay, and more distantly related to Javanese. It has several dialects, conventionally described according to the locations of the people:

Priangan, which covers the largest area of Sunda (Tatar Pasundan 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.


Main article: Sundanese alphabet

Sundanese can be written in different writing systems, the Old Sundanese script (Aksara Sunda Kuno) and Pegon in historical times, and in modern times the Latin script and the modern Sundanese script.


Sundanese orthography is highly phonetic (see also Sundanese script). There are five pure vowel sounds: a /ɑ/, é /ɛ/, i /i/, o /ɔ/, u /ʊ/, and two neutral[clarification needed] vowels; e /ə/, and eu /ɤ/. The consonantal phonemes are transcribed with the letters p, b, t, d, k, g, c (pronounced /tʃ/), j, h, ng (/ŋ/), ny /ɳ/, m, n, s /s/, w, l, r (trilled or flapped), 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.

According to Yayat Sudaryat (1991,35) there are 16 consonants in Sundanese phonology: /b/, /tʃ/, /d/, /g/, /h/, /dʒ/, /k/, /l/, /m/, /n/, /p/, /r/, /s/, /ŋ/, /t/; /ɳ/, however, influences from foreign languages have introduced several additional consonants such as /f/, /v/, /z/ (as in fonem, qur'an, xerox, zakat).

There are also /w/ and /j/ as semi vowels, they function as glide sound between two different vowels, as in the words:

  • kuéh - /kuwɛh/
  • muih - /muwih/
  • béar - /bejar/
  • miang - /mijaŋ/

Phonemes /w/ and /j/ function as glide sounds between two different vowels as in the words:[clarification needed]

  • wa - rung
  • wa - yang
  • ba - wang
  • ha - yang
  • ku - ya

Basic grammar[edit]

Root word[edit]

Root verb[edit]

English Sundanese
eat .. dahar .. tuang ..(for other)
neda ..(for myself)
drink .. inum .. leueut ..
write .. tulis .. serat ..
read .. maca .. maos ..
forget .. poho .. hilap ..
remember .. inget .. emut ..
sit .. diuk .. calik .. linggih
standing .. nangtung .. adeg ..
walk .. leumpang .. papah ..

Plural form[edit]

If other Austronesian languages commonly uses replication (duplifix) to create its plural form, Sundanese language insert ar infix in stem word to create plural form. If the stem words contains r after the infix, or starts with l, the infix ar becomes al. Also, as with other Sundanese infix (such as um), if the word starts with vowel, the infix becomes prefix. Example:

  1. "Mangga A, tarahuna haneut keneh" (Please sir (offering), the tofus are still warm/hot), formed from tahu (tofu) inserted with ar to create plural form of tofus.
  2. "Barudak leutik lalumpatan" (Small children running around), formed from budak (child) inserted with ar and modified to barudak to create plural child (children), also lumpat (run) inserted with ar (becomes al because lumpat starts with l) to create plural form.
  3. "Ieu kaen batik aralus sadayana" (All of this batik clothes are beautiful), formed from alus (nice, beautiful, good) with infix ar that becomes prefix because alus starts with vowel. It denotes adjective "beautiful" on plural subjects/noun (batik clothes).
  4. "Siswa sakola eta mah balageur" (The students of that school are good-behaving), formed from bageur (good-behaving, nice, polite, helpful) inserted with infix ar (becomes al because of r in the end of the word) to denote adjective "good-behaving" on plural students.

The prefix can be repeated twice to denote very-, or plural of groups. For example, "bararudak" denotes many, many child or many groups of children ("budak" is child in Sundanese). Another example, "balalageur" denotes plural adjective of "very good-behaving".

Active form[edit]

Most of active form in Sundanese verb are in their root verb like 'diuk' or 'dahar'. Some other depend on first phonem in root verb:

  1. first phoneme in 'd' is eliminated and changed to prefix 'nga' like in 'ngadahar'
  2. first phoneme in 'i' is eliminated and changed to prefix 'ng' like in 'nginum'
  3. first phoneme in 'b' is eliminated and changed to prefix 'm' like in 'maca'


(to be written). "Abdi henteu acan neda". (I have not eaten yet.) Explanation: From the above example, "henteu" is used for negative term. "Buku abdi mah sanes nu ieu". (My book is not this one.) Explanation: From the above example, "sanes" is used for negative term.


(to be written).

Dupi -(question)



  • Dupi Bapa aya di bumi? (is your father at home?)
  • Dupi bumi di palih mana? (where do you live?)

Passive form[edit]

(to be written.) "Buku dibantun ku abdi". (The book is brought by me.) Explanation: "dibantun" (to be brought/passive) and "ngabantun" (active) The other examples: "Pulpen ditambut ku abdi". (The pen is borrowed by me.) "Soal ieu digawekeun ku abdi". (This problem is done by me.)


(to be written). example:

teuas (hard), tiis (cool), hipu (soft), lada (hot, usually for foods), haneut (warm), etc.



English Sundanese
above .. diluhureun .. diluhureun ..
behind .. ditukangeun .. dipengkereun ..
under .. dihandapeun .. dihandapeun ..
inside .. di jero .. di lebet ..
outside .. di luar .. di luar ..
between ..
and ..
di antara ..
jeung ..
di antawis ..
sareng ..
front .. hareup .. payun ..
back .. tukang .. pengker ..


English Sundanese
before saacan sateuacan
after sanggeus saparantos
during basa nalika
past baheula kapungkur


English Sundanese
from tina tina
for jang kanggo
Languages Spoken in Java

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nationalencyklopedin "Världens 100 största språk 2007" The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007
  2. ^ Karl Andebeck, 2006. 'An initial reconstruction of Proto-Lampungic'
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Sundanese". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  4. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundanese_language — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
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13 news items

Jakarta Post
Thu, 03 Jan 2013 22:45:00 -0800

For Cohn, the quality of the sound systems of the Sundanese language — spoken by an estimated 27 million speakers in West Java — is quite unusual, because many of the words in the language are pronounced with nasalization, or speech sounds that are ...

Jakarta Post

Jakarta Post
Thu, 13 Nov 2014 20:43:53 -0800

Preserving culture: Civil servants at the Bogor administration wear Sundanese attire while working on Wednesday. Bogor Mayor Bima Arya has instructed all civil servants to wear traditional attire on Wednesdays in a program called Rebo Nyunda or ...
Jakarta Post
Mon, 13 Apr 2009 00:00:00 -0700

At a time when most Indonesian scholars are paying little attention to the survival of the country's local dialects, Chaedar Alwasilah stands as a fervent guardian of the Sundanese language. The scholar's noble aim is to reinvigorate Sundanese cultural ...
Jakarta Post
Fri, 07 Nov 2014 18:37:30 -0800

The term jeprut, or “cut” in the Sundanese language, is used to describe art that acts as social commentary. Besides Isa, 12 other artists are also taking part in the program, in separate locations. Another artist-cum-teacher, Wawan Husin, invited ...

Jakarta Post

Jakarta Post
Thu, 22 May 2014 23:00:00 -0700

Paper Edition | Page: 21. Read also: · Sundanese language holds /rif together; · Andi finds his stage habit is hard to break. Post Your Say. Selected comments will be published in the Readers' Forum page of our print newspaper. Powered by Livefyre.
Wed, 15 Jan 2014 14:30:00 -0800

Local people held the site to be sacred and called it Gunung Padang, the name it still goes by today, which means “Mountain of Light”, or “Mountain of Enlightenment”, in the local Sundanese language. The summit, where the megaliths were found arranged ...
Jakarta Post
Sun, 10 Mar 2013 01:02:02 -0800

Yet, readers, especially those from other languages and cultures, may cast a suspicion that the book is too Sundanese-centric, exclusively exposing cases of the Sundanese language and culture and bringing varied perspectives from this language and ...

Jakarta Post

Jakarta Post
Mon, 19 Aug 2013 21:47:50 -0700

While studying Sundanese language at Padjadjaran University in Bandung, Mukti was a student activist who defended farmers. Owing to his preoccupation with farmers' affairs, he eventually dropped out and his songs have since been imbued with ...

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