Linguistic evidence in question of language and dialect for the Badui Tribe

Davin Rusady, Sri Munawarah

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Badui is a community who preserves their inherited culture by faithfully applying the customary rules of pikukuh, which has governed their lives over generations. Geographically, the Badui people of West Java live in two groups, the Inner and Outer Badui. It reflects differences in the degree to which people adhere to the customary law. The Inner Badui are strict in their commitment to following all the customary rules (pikukuh). For example, members of the Inner Badui avoid riding in vehicles while members of the Outer Badui do not. Observing such differences, the question has been raised as to whether these two groups have different origins and cultures. Because the cognition and culture of a community may be determined or influenced by their linguistic structure, this study uses language distribution to study the Badui cultural-linguistic situation to identify the significance of language variations that might have a bearing on the question. The purpose of this research is to obtain evidence that can answer whether the Inner and Outer Badui differ because they come from different origins. The data was gathered from participants in 14 villages and analyzed using dialectometric method. The results show that after the language used by Inner and Outer Badui in Swadesh's Basic Words, which are difficult to change, there is no indication of any significant language difference. Nonetheless, high level of differences are observed in the cultural vocabulary of the kinship system and cultural vocabulary of pronouns, greetings, and references. This phenomenon occurs because of the existence of undak usuk ("politeness speech levels") of the Sundanese used in Badui, which consist of polite Sundanese (basa lemes), friendly Sundanese (basa loma), and colloquial Sundanese (basa kasar). That contrasts with the theory asserted by Ekadjati, that is, the Sundanese language of the Inner and Outer Badui recognizes neither social level differences nor language levels in Sundanese. Therefore, the theory must be reviewed again in terms of relevancy. Notably, the difference is caused by the level of language; thus, it is concluded that the Inner and Outer Badui people continue to share the same language situation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSociolinguistics and Dialectological Studies in Indonesia
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9781536197365
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2021


  • Culture
  • Dialectology
  • Inner Badui
  • Outer Badui
  • Sundanese


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