Kelli Tesch

Written by Kelli Tesch

Modified & Updated: 17 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Sundanese is a fascinating language that is primarily spoken by the Sundanese people in the western part of Java, Indonesia. With over 40 million native speakers, Sundanese is the second most widely spoken language in Indonesia after Javanese. The language has a rich history and unique characteristics that set it apart from other languages in the region.

In this article, we will explore 11 astounding facts about Sundanese, ranging from its phonetic system to its cultural significance. Whether you are a language enthusiast or simply curious about the diversity of languages in the world, these facts will surely spark your interest and deepen your understanding of the Sundanese language.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sundanese is the second most spoken language in Indonesia with over 40 million native speakers and a unique script called “Aksara Sunda”.
  • Sundanese language has a rich oral tradition and has influenced Indonesian vocabulary and culture, adding a distinct flavor to the country’s linguistic diversity.
Table of Contents

Sundanese is the second most widely spoken language in Indonesia.

Sundanese, a language primarily spoken in the western part of Java, is the second most commonly spoken language in Indonesia after Indonesian. It is estimated that there are over 40 million native speakers of Sundanese.

Sundanese has its own unique script called “Aksara Sunda”.

Unlike many languages that use the Latin alphabet, Sundanese has its own script known as “Aksara Sunda”. It is derived from the ancient Brahmi script and is still used by some traditional communities in the region.

Sundanese has a complex system of noun affixes.

One of the unique features of Sundanese is its complex system of noun affixes. These affixes are added to the root words to indicate various grammatical functions such as possession, plurality, and specificity.

Sundanese borrows many words from Sanskrit and Javanese.

Due to its historical and cultural connections with Sanskrit and Javanese, Sundanese language has borrowed numerous words from these languages. This has enriched the vocabulary and added a distinct flavor to Sundanese.

Sundanese has a variety of dialects.

Within the Sundanese language, there are several dialects spoken in different regions of West Java. These dialects vary in pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar, but they are generally mutually intelligible to speakers of Sundanese.

Traditionally, Sundanese is written in a specific script called “Aksara Sunda”.

Written Sundanese is traditionally rendered using the Aksara Sunda script. This script is used to write not only Sundanese but also other languages spoken in the region, such as Baduy and Lampung.

Sundanese has a rich oral tradition.

Storytelling, poetry, and oral history play an important role in Sundanese culture. Sundanese language has a rich oral tradition, with various forms of traditional performances and recitations that showcase the beauty and expressive power of the language.

Sundanese has influenced Indonesian vocabulary and culture.

As one of the major languages in Indonesia, Sundanese has had a significant impact on Indonesian vocabulary and culture. Many Sundanese words and cultural practices have been adopted and incorporated into mainstream Indonesian society.

Sundanese is known for its melodious and rhythmic quality.

The Sundanese language is often described as having a melodious and rhythmic quality. This is attributed to the musicality of the Sundanese people and their deep appreciation for arts and culture.

Sundanese language has its own traditional musical instrument called “Angklung”.

The Sundanese people are well-known for their traditional musical instrument called “Angklung”. This unique instrument is made of bamboo tubes and creates a beautiful sound when shaken. It is often used in Sundanese cultural performances and has gained international recognition.

Sundanese has a strong connection to traditional dances and rituals.

Sundanese language is deeply intertwined with traditional dances and rituals of the Sundanese people. Many dance performances and rituals are accompanied by sung poetry in Sundanese, adding a deeper layer of meaning and cultural significance to these practices.


In conclusion, the Sundanese language is an truly fascinating and unique language with a rich history and cultural significance. It is spoken by millions of people in the Sundanese region of Indonesia, and boasts a variety of dialects and linguistic features that set it apart from other languages. From its beautiful script and poetic nature to its influence on local literature and traditions, Sundanese offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of its native speakers. Whether you are interested in linguistics, cultural studies, or simply want to explore a new language, learning about the Sundanese language is a rewarding and enriching experience.


1. How many speakers does Sundanese have?

Sundanese is spoken by approximately 39 million people in the Sundanese region of Indonesia.

2. Can I learn Sundanese if I don’t speak any Indonesian?

Learning Sundanese can be challenging without prior knowledge of Indonesian, as it is the primary language of communication in the region. However, with dedication and resources, it is possible to learn Sundanese as a standalone language.

3. Are there any resources available for learning Sundanese?

Yes, there are resources available for learning Sundanese, including books, online courses, and language exchange programs. You can also find native speakers who are willing to help you learn the language.

4. Is Sundanese a difficult language to learn?

Like any language, Sundanese has its own unique challenges. The grammar and pronunciation might be different from what you are familiar with, but with persistence and practice, it is definitely possible to learn and become proficient in Sundanese.

5. Can Sundanese be written in the Roman alphabet?

Yes, Sundanese can be written using the Roman alphabet, although traditionally it is written using the Sundanese script. Using the Roman alphabet can be helpful for beginners who are just starting to learn the language.

Sundanese, a captivating language with its unique script and melodious quality, shares fascinating connections with other languages and cultures. Explore the vibrant city of Bandung, the heart of West Java, where Sundanese thrives alongside Indonesian. Discover the similarities between Sundanese and Malay, both belonging to the Austronesian language family. Dive deeper into the rich tapestry of Indonesian languages, each contributing to the nation's linguistic diversity.

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