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More than 700 living languages are spoken in Indonesiamarker. Most belong to the Austronesian language family, with a few Papuan languages also spoken. The official language is Indonesian (locally known as Bahasa Indonesia), a modified version of Malay, which is used in commerce, administration, education and the media, but most Indonesians speak local languages, such as Javanese, as their first language.

Like most writing systems in human history, Indonesia's are not rendered in native-invented systems, but devised by speakers of Sanskrit, Arabic, and Latin. Malay, for example, has a long history as a written language and has been rendered in Indic, Arabic, and Roman writing systems. Javanese has been written in the Nagari and Pallava writing systems of India, in a modified Arabic system called pegon that incorporates Javanese sounds, and in the Roman alphabet. Chinese characters have never been used to express Indonesian languages, although Indonesian place-names, personal names, and names of trade goods appear in reports and histories written for Chinamarker's imperial courts.

Languages spoken in Indonesia

(Figures indicate numbers of native speakersexcept for the national language, Indonesian)

Largest Languages in Indonesia
Language Number (millions) Year surveyed Main areas where spoken
Indonesian 230 2008 throughout Indonesia
Javanese 84.3 2000 (census) Central Javamarker and East Java
Sundanese 34.0 2000 (census) West Javamarker
Madurese 13.6 2000 (census) Madura Islandmarker, East Java
Minangkabau 5.5 2007 Central Sumatramarker
Musi 3.9 2000 (census) Southern Sumatra
Bugis 3.5 1991 South Sulawesimarker
Banjarese 3.5 2000 (census) South Kalimantanmarker, East Kalimantanmarker, Central Kalimantan
Acehnese 3.5 2000 (census) Northern Sumatra
Balinese 3.3 2000 (census) Balimarker Island and Lombokmarker Island
Betawi 2.7 1993 Jakartamarker
Sasak 2.1 1989 Lombokmarker Island
Batak Toba 2.0 1991 Northern Sumatra
Makassarese 1.6 1989 South Sulawesimarker
Batak Dairi 1.2 1991 Northern Sumatra
Batak Simalungun 1.2 2000 (census) Northern Sumatra
Batak Mandailing 1.1 2000 (census) Northern Sumatra
Jambi Malay 1.0 2000 (census) Jambimarker (Central Sumatra)
Mongondow 0.9 1989 North Sulawesimarker
Gorontalo 0.9 1989 Gorontalo province (Northern Sulawesi)
Ngaju Dayak 0.9 2003 Southern Kalimantan
Lampung Api 0.8 2000 (census) Lampungmarker (Southern Sumatra)
Nias 0.8 2000 (census) off Western Sumatra coast
Batak Angkola 0.7 1991 Northern Sumatra
North Moluccan Malay 0.7 2001 North Maluku
Chinese 0.7 1982 Northern Sumatra and West Kalimantanmarker
Chinese 0.6 1982 Bangka Belitungmarker and West Kalimantanmarker
Batak Karo 0.6 1991 Northern Sumatra
Uab Meto 0.6 1997 West Timor
Bima 0.5 1989 Sumbawa Island
Manggarai 0.5 1989 Flores Island
Torajan-Sa'dan 0.5 1990 South Sulawesimarker, West Sulawesi
Komering 0.5 2000 (census) Southern Sumatra
Tetum 0.4 2004 West Timor
Rejang 0.4 2000 (census) Bengkulumarker (Southwestern Sumatra)
Muna 0.3 1989 off Southwestern Sulawesi coast
Basa Semawa 0.3 1989 Sumbawa Island
Bangka 0.3 2000 (census) Bangka Islandmarker
Osing 0.3 2000 (census) at Eastern end of Java
Gayo 0.3 2000 (census) Acehmarker
Tolaki 0.3 1991 Southeast Sulawesimarker
Lewotobi language 0.3 2000 Flores Island
Tae' 0.3 1992 South Sulawesimarker
Graph of Indonesian ethnolinguistics



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