Betawi (Bahasa Betawi)

Betawi is a Malay-based creole spoken in the Jakarta region of Indonesia by about 5 million people, according to the 2000 census. It contains vocabulary from Malay, Hokkien, Arabic, Portuguese and Dutch, and is also known as Betawi Malay, Jakartan Malay, Batavi, Batavian Malay, Melayu Betawi or Melayu Jakarte. The name Betawi comes from Bativia, the name for Jakarta during Dutch colonial times.

Betawi developed during the 19th century from a Malay-based creole spoken by the descendants of Balinese women and Chinese men in Batvia. It later borrowed from Javanese and Sundanese.

There are two main dialects of Betawi: Betawi Kota and Betawi Udik. Both are spoken in Jakarta, and Betawi Udik is also spoken in West Java.

Betawi is used in poetry, radio, films and TV, particularly for Jakarta TV soap operas.

Betawi alphabet and pronunciation

Betawi alphabet and pronunciation

Download an alphabet chart for Betawi (Excel)

Sample text in Betawi

Semue orang ntu dilahirin bebas ame punye martabat dan hak-hak yang same. Mereka ntu dikasih akal ame ati nurani dan kudu bergaul satu ame lainnye dalem semangat persaudaraan.

Hear a recording of this text by Chaidar Ammar, provided by Moshe Ash.


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Sample videos in Betawi


Information about the Betawi languages

Creole languages

Betawi, Bislama, Cape Verdean Creole, Chavacano, Chinook Jargon, Dominican Creole French, Fanagalo, French Guianese Creole, Guadeloupean Creole, Guinea-Bissau Creole, Haitian Creole, Jamaican, Kituba, Manado Malay, Mauritian Creole, Nagamese, Ndyuka, Norfuk, Nubi, Palenquero, Papiamento, Pijin, Réunion Creole, Sango, Saramaccan, Seychelles Creole, Sierra Leonean Creole, Singlish, Sranan, Saint Lucian Creole, Tok Pisin, Torres-Strait Creole

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 23.04.21


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