Indonesian is the official language of Indonesia, as indicated in the Indonesian Constitution. Indonesian is the most widely used language in the country, be it in formal communication, media, administration or commerce. It is one of the most popular languages in the world with around 43 million native speakers in Indonesia, and another 156 million who use it as a second language.

Javanese: The Major Regional Language of Indonesia

There are over 700 living languages spoken in Indonesia today, however, most of which are Austronesian languages. Some of these include Javanese and Sundanese which have millions of native speakers.

Javanese is one of the major regional languages of Indonesia which is predominantly used among the Javanese people in the island of Java. It has around 98 million Indonesian people who identify as native Javanese speakers, making the language one of the most widely used in the country. Javanese is recognized as the official language in East Java and Central Java. Like Indonesian, Javanese is also categorized under the Austronesian language family. It is made up of three distinct dialects which include: Central Javanese, Western Javanese, and Eastern Javanese. In its written form, Javanese uses the Latin script instead of the Javanese script which was used in the past.

Sundanese: A Significant Regional Language of West Java and Banten

Another major regional language spoken in Indonesia is Sundanese. Sundanese is mainly used in West Java and Banten, where it is recognized as an official regional language. With around 42 million people who speak Sundanese in Indonesia, Sundanese speakers make up for about 15% of the total population of Indonesia. The language is made up of six main, geographically defined dialects, which include: the Southeast dialect, the Northeast dialect, the Mid-east dialect, the Priangan dialect, the Western dialect and the Northern dialect.

Other languages which can be heard in Indonesia include Musi and Minangkabau. Musi is a Malay language with around 3.1 million speakers which is predominantly used in the Palembang region of South Sumatra. The Minangkabau language is used by the members of the Minangkabau ethnic group, an estimated 5.5 million of them.