Politeness in Japanese and Javanese

The theme of Cultural Discussion of the 10th Anniversary of the Faculty of Cultural Studies (FCS) Universitas Brawijaya (UB) on Tuesday (29/10/2019) is “The Politeness in Japanese and Javanese”. The topic was based on an article written directly by the speaker, Sri Aju Indrowaty, M.Pd., a lecturer in the Japanese Language Education Study Program who was also in the process of completing her post graduate in Uneversitas Sebelas Maret (UNS).

She claimed to be able to recognize many Javanese dialects, because there were many Javanese languages in her environment, ranging from Javanese Ngoko to Krama. This woman admitted that she had difficulty speaking Javanese even though it was her local language.

She tried to compare politeness in Japanese and Javanese. In this cultural discussion, it was stated that there are similarities between the two languages in terms of politeness. In general, Javanese people recognize three levels of politeness in language, namely Ngoko, Madya, and Krama. Likewise, in Japanese, there are also three levels of sonkeigo (polite language) in Japanese namely Teinego, Kenjougo, and Sonkeigo.

In addition to the similarities, Aju also said that there were differences in politeness acts between the two languages. “In Japanese, women often get polite language. It shows the position of women is more intense. In contrast to Javanese, men are treated more politely,” she said.

Moreover, the difference between Javanese and Japanese languages is also shown in the way of talking to parents. In Java, children must speak manners to their parents. In contrast to Japan who recognizes the culture of “insiders”, where close people do not need to use the Keigo language. (DT/MSH/Humas FIB)