There are 726 languages spoken across the Indonesian archipelago in 2009 (dropped from 742 languages in 2007), the largest multilingual population in the world only after Papua New Guinea. Indonesian Papua which adjacent with Papua New Guinea has the most languages in Indonesia.

The official language is Indonesian (locally known as Bahasa Indonesia), a variant ofMalay,[2] which was used in the archipelago, — borrowing heavily from local languages of Indonesia such as Javanese, Sundanese, Minangkabau, etc. The Indonesian language is primarily used in commerce, administration, education and the media, but most Indonesians speak other languages, such as Javanese, as their first language.[1] Most, if not all, books printed in Indonesia are written in the Indonesian language.[citation needed]

Since Indonesia only recognizes a single official language, other languages are not recognized either at national level nor regional level, thus making Javanese the most widely spoken language without official status, and Sundanese the second in the list (excluding Chinese dialects).

Languages by family

Several prominent languages spoken in Indonesia sorted by language family are:

There are many additional small families and isolates among the Papuan languages.

Writing system

Like most writing systems in human history, Indonesia's are not rendered in native-invented systems, but devised by speakers of SanskritArabic, and LatinMalay, for example, has a long history as a written language and has been rendered in Indic, Arabic, and Latin scripts. Javanese has been written in the Nagari and Pallava scripts of India, as well as their derivative (known as Kawi and Javanese), in an Arabic alphabet called pegon that incorporates Javanese sounds, and in the Latin script.

Chinese characters have never been used to write Indonesian languages, although Indonesian place-names, personal names, and names of trade goods appear in reports and histories written for China's imperial courts.[15]