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SPEECH LEVEL AND HONORIFIC SYSTEM IN JAVANESE

Tri Mastoyo Jati Kesuma
Keywords: speech level, honorific system, Javanese ,

Abstract

The article describes speech level and honorific system in Javanese. It aims at
investigating the influence of speech levels on the honorific system in Javanese. The investigation
was conducted based on empirical data of Javanese utterances in Javanese society. It used the
research results on speech level in Javanese by Poedjosoedarmo et al. (1979) and the addressing
system in Javanese by Suhardi et al. (1986) as a frame of reference.
The results show a correlation between speech level and the honorific system in
Javanese. It can be assumed that speech level influences the honorific system. In
communication, the use of honorifics is by the speech level used. For example, the honorific
address eyang ‘grandmother’ is only used in a polite speech, such as Eyang, mbok length
wae. ‘Grandmother, please sit down.’. However, the honorific address kang ‘elder brother’ (a
clipped-form of taking ‘older brother’) can be used not only in the polite speech, like Badhe
tindak pundit Kang? ‘Where are you going, Brother?’, but in less polite speech, such as
Dhuwite and Kang? ‘Where is the money, Brother?. Based on the previous examples, it is
clear that the use of honorifics, such as in terms of address, is influenced by the speech levels.