Krama Inggil: How Polite Are You?

Using Javanese in my daily communication does not guarantee that I’m also fluent using Krama Inggil. In Javanese, it is known that the way we speak to an elder will be totally different with the way we speak to a younger person. You will be considered impolite using Ngoko to an elder. There are three levels in Javanese: Ngoko, Krama Madya, and Krama Inggil. Krama Inggil is considered as the highest level. We are urged to speak using Krama Inggil to an elder. Therefore, how polite you are can be seen from how well you use Krama Inggil to an elder.

Krama Inggil is known as a formal style. Different from Ngoko which is more casual, when we speak using Krama Inggil, it implies that we respect the person whom we are talking to. It will be quite strange when we use Krama Inggil to our close friends although this matter is not forbidden. Sometimes, our statement will be longer when we are speaking through Krama Inggil. For example, Asmanipun panjenengan sinten? (What’s your name?). When we use Ngoko, we only need to speak Jenengmu sopo? One more example is Mugi tansah diparingi kasarasan(Good health!) whereas when we use Ngoko, we only speak mugo sehat terus. Do you see the difference? Otherwise, not all statements in Krama Inggil are longer than Ngoko. In Javanese, there is a term called njawani. It can be interpreted as Javanese people who can speak Krama Inggil perfectly and have a high respect to the old generation.

3 comments on “Krama Inggil: How Polite Are You?

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