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Jakarta Post

The perseverance of Betawi language in Jakarta

  • The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, June 21 2008   /  12:22 pm

Among Indonesia's estimated 746 indigenous languages, Betawi is one of the most widely-spoken. Also known as Batavi, Betawi Malay, Jakarta Malay and Melayu Jakarte, this language is listed as one of the country's active local languages. The term Betawi is etymologically derived from Batavia, the original and official name given to Jakarta by the Dutch. Spoken by about 2.7 million people in Greater Jakarta, the language, native to Betawi Asli people, or those originating from Jakarta, has also become modern, trendy and colloquial among youngsters living in the capital. Although Jakarta is a melting pot for religions, languages, cultures and ethnicities, the Betawi dialect flourishes among the young as well as the old and, as such, undergoes continuous evolution. Historically, the Betawi language was used as a lingua franca with a mixture of several languages,...