Teaching Javanese Respect Usage to Foreign Learners

George Quinn

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    With around 80 million speakers, Javanese is the biggest of Indonesia's regional languages. It has a written tradition stretching back 1,000 years and today exerts a powerful influence on Indonesia's national language, Bahasa Indonesia. Javanese has one of the most elaborate systems of respect usage of any recorded language. The compulsory tu-vous distinction of French is multiplied many hundreds of times over in all word classes of Javanese - even in affixes. In addition to the two basic respect levels (called ngoko or "low Javanese" and krama or "high Javanese"), there is an an augmented respect level with two aspects, called krama inggil and krama andhap. The respect levels of Javanese present special difficulties for teachers and learners of Javanese as a foreign language. Two difficulties stand out: how should teaching of respect levels be ordered, and how can teaching of respect levels be managed in the classroom when classroom practice may violate powerful conventions of linguistic interaction that apply in Javanese society at large? This paper sketches the dimensions of the two issues and suggests that a drama-based approach may best address these special problems.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)362-370
    JournalElectronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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