Monday, April 8, 2013

Language Profile: Sunda

The Institute of Technology in Bandung, the largest
city in the Indonesian province of West Java. 
This week's language profile is on Sunda, an Austronesian language with 34 million native speakers. It is spoken by about 15% of the population of Indonesia. Sunda, also known as Sundanese, is an official regional language of West Java, Indonesia's most densely populated province. It is also spoken in Banten province, which was considered to be a part of West Java until 2000.

Sunda is thought to be most closely related to the Malay and Madurese languages. It is also more distantly related to Javanese, which is spoken in the central and eastern parts of the Indonesian island of Java. 

The Sunda language also has several regional dialects. The most-spoken dialect is Pringan, which is used to teach Sunda to schoolchildren from primary school until the start of high school in both the West Java and Banten provinces.

"Sunda" in Sundanese script.
Historically, Sunda was written using Sundanese script, which nowadays is used only by a select few in Indonesia. It was standardized in the 1990s, but has fallen out of use due to the popularity of using Latin script instead. The script looks quite unlike any others we've seen before... it appears to use lots of interesting 7's if we're being honest!