Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia, litterally the language of Indonesia) is a standardized variety of Malay, an Austronesian language used in the Indonesian archipelago for centuries as a lingua franca for commerce and travel. Malay has different official names: Bahasa Melayu in Singapore and Brunei, Bahasa Malaysia in Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia in Indonesia. Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysia are mutually intelligible and are considered by some linguists as ausbau languages, which exist for national and cultural identity reasons. They share 80% of their vocabulary, with the differences, mainly in pronunciation and vocabulary, having been caused primarily by historical circumstances: the English colonial past of the Malay Peninsula and the Dutch colonial past of the Indonesian archipelago have left their traces on the respective Malay varieties. Moreover, local languages spoken in Indonesia, such as Javanese and Sundanese, have greatly enriched and influenced Indonesian. Therefore, Malaysian Malay is claimed to be closer to classical Malay.
Most Indonesians speak also one of the more 700 indigenous languages spoken in the Indonesian archipelago. In Indonesia, there are approximately 43 million native speakers of Indonesian and another 155 million people who speak it as a second language alongside their local mother tongue. With 198 million speakers in Indonesia alone, Indonesian is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. In East Timor, a former Indonesian province, Indonesian is recognized as one of the working languages (English is the second one) alongside Tetum and Portuguese, which are the official languages of East Timor.
Indonesian acquired official status in 1945 when Indonesia declared its independence and the Indonesian language was successfully used in politics, education and for national identity building. It is a unifying language for the very many ethnic groups in Indonesia, with hundreds of local native languages.
Indonesian is written with the Latin script.
The ISO language code for Indonesian is id.
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