A language of Indonesia


Alternate Names
Batavi, Batawi, Betawi Malay, Jakarta Malay, Melayu Betawi, Melayu Jakarte
Language Maps

5,000,000 (2000 census). Population count imprecise due to vague ethnic and linguistic definition of ‘Betawi’.


Java island, Jawa Barat Province, Bogar, Bekasi, and Karawang regencies including Depok and Bekasi cities; Banten Province, from Tangerang recency and city; dominant in Jakarta special capital territory.

Language Status

6b (Threatened).


None known. A Malay-based creole distinct from both Indonesian [ind] and other Malay-based pidgins and creoles. It evolved mid-19th century. Unique phonological, morphological, and lexical traits. Influences from Peranakan Indonesian [pea] and Bali [ban]. Often not intelligible to Indonesian speakers not familiar with it (1989 R. Allen).

Language Use

Functions as a Low variety in a diglossic situation, but has covert prestige when used by the upper class.

Language Development
Poetry. Radio programs. Films. TV. Grammar.
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