The Languages and Dialects of Indonesia
There are 583 languages and
dialects spoken in the archipelago. They normally belong to different ethnic
groups of the population. Some of the distinctly different local languages
are: Acehnese, Batak, Sundanese, Javanese, Sasak, Tetum of Timor, Dayak,
Minahasa, Toraja, Buginese, Halmahera, Ambonese, Ceramese, and several
Irianese languages. To make the picture even more colorful, these languages
are also spoken in different dialects.
The national language of
Indonesia is "Bahasa Indonesia". Originally it was the Malay
language mainly spoken in the Riau Islands. In its spread throughout the
country, its vocabulary and idioms have been enriched by a great number of
local languages. To keep pace with religious, social and cultural progress,
many words and terms have been derived from foreign languages, including
Dutch, Chinese, Sanskrit, Arabic and, later, Portuguese.
Although Bahasa Indonesia has
become the lingua franca, local languages and dialects continue to be spoken
and will not be abolished.
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Information provided by the Directorate
of Foreign Information Services, Department of Information, Republic of