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Bandung is the capital of West Java province in Indonesia, and the country's fourth largest city. Located 768 meters above sea level, Bandung has relatively year-around cooler temperature than most other Indonesian cities. The city lies on a river basin and surrounded by volcanic mountains. This topology provides the city with a good natural defense system, which was the primary reason of Dutch East Indies government's plan to move the colony capital from Batavia to Bandung.

Sundanese people
Bandung is located in the heard of the Sunda area

The Sundanese are an ethnic group in the western part of the Java island in Indonesia, numbering approximately 31 million. The Sundanese are Muslim. They speak a distinct language which is known locally as Basa Sunda or in English the Sundanese language. The oldest historical record containing the term "Sunda" is the Kebonkopi 2 stone inscription dated from 536 AD, refers to the Sunda kingdom. The word "Sunda" may originate from Sanskrit, in which case it might mean either 'light' or 'water'.

The Sundanese language is spoken by approximately 27 million people and is the second most widely-spoken regional language in Indonesia, after Javanese. This language is spoken in the southern part of the Banten province, and most of West Java - excepting the northern coastal areas which has seen significant urbanization, and eastwards as far as the Pamali River in Brebes in Central Java.

There are several dialects of Sundanese, from the Sunda-Banten dialect to the Sunda-Central Javanese dialect which mixes elements of Javanese. Some of the most distinct dialects are from:

  • Banten
  • Bogor
  • Priangan
  • Cirebon

Due to the influence of the Javanese culture during the reign of the Islamic Mataram kingdom, the Sundanese language - especially in the Parahyangan area - have different layers starting from the most formal, or halus version, to the everyday loma or lancaran version and the informal or harsh version. However, in the mountainous regions and most of Banten, the loma version is the most dominant. By contrast, this version is considered "harsh" by people from Bandung. In Central Java, Sundanese is spoken in the Cilacap region.

All text in this article is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License
Last revised on September 25, 2009
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