History and standardization
Since Sundanese people have utilized many different scripts, there were several requirements considered in the standardization of the Sundanese script for modern usage: (a) a script that can record Sundanese language; (b) period of usage; (c) area of usage; (d) simplicity; (e) shows Sundanese identity.
The government of West Java Province has announced Peraturan Daerah (Local Regulation) no. 6 1996 about the Sundanese language, literature and script. The regulation was motivated by Keputusan Presiden (President's Decision) no. 082/B/1991, 24 July 1991.
As follow up to the local regulation, on Tuesday, 21 October 1997 in the main hall of Japanese Language Study Centre, Universitas Padjadjaran, Jatinangor; a seminar entitled "Lokakarya Aksara Sunda", in cooperation with the government of West Java Province and the Faculty of Literature Padjadjaran University, was held and attended by delegations from local communities and cities in West Java. Several discussion results were achieved:
- Historical facts from the 5th century until now have shown that there were seven scripts used in the West Javanese area: Pallawa, Pranagari, Sunda Kuno (Old Sundanese), Javanese (Carakan), Arabic (Pegon), Cacarakan, and Latin, with the following timeline:
- Pallawa and Pranagari: 5th–7th centuries (three centuries)
- Sunda Kuno (Old Sundanese Script): 14th–18th centuries (five centuries)
- Javanese (Carakan): 11th century and 17th–19th centuries (four centuries)
- Arabic (Pegon): 17th – middle of the 20th centuries (three centuries)
- Cacarakan: 19th–present (three centuries)
- Latin script: end of the 19th century – present (two centuries)
- "Sundanese Script" shall fulfill the following criteria: "Sundanese Script is an orthographical system created by the people of West Java which include script and writing system for writing Sundanese language." (Article 1.k of Local Government Regulation (Perda) no. 6 1996)
- From the basic requirements: simplicity, timeline, area of usage, usage (to write Sundanese), law (President's Decision no. 082/B/1991 24 July 1991 and Perda no. 6 1996), percentage of Sundanese people creativity, it can be concluded that the suitable script fulfilling those requirements is the Aksara Sunda Kuno (Old Sundanese script). And now it is also agreed upon scholars that the script can simply be called Aksara Sunda (Sundanese script).
- Since there were several variants in writing due to materials (stone, metal, skin, leaves, knives, ink, pen, hammer), timeline, and techniques, there shall be another criteria to choose for modern usage. And, considering the completeness and practicality, the variant found in soft-material-documents shall be used for modern usage.
- There was a tendency to name Cacarakan script as Sundanese script by some people before. However, it can be traced back that the earliest source was a book written by G. J. Grashuis, "Handleiding voor Aanleren van het Soendaneesch Letterschrift" (Learning Sundanese Script) in year 1860. The book taught to write "Sundanese Script" but using "Cacarakan". The Cacarakan script itself only contains around 10% of innovation by Sundanese people, especially by reducing and simplifying the sounds in Javanese (Carakan) to suit Sundanese language (tongue).
- From the cultural point of view, Sundanese script is one part of Sundanese civilization and culture. Therefore, (re)spreading and (re)utilizing Sundanese script shall integrate with the task to maintain and conserve Sundanese culture as a whole. Thus, it will have broader scope as wide as the scope of the people itself.
- Re-spreading and re-utilizing Sundanese script shall be done in several steps since it was not well known by the community within the last three centuries. These steps are:
- Tahap Pawanohan (Introduction)
- Tahap Palomaan (Utilizing)
- Tahap Pangagulan (Pride)
- Tahap Pamibandaan (Ownership)
Next, the existence and function of Sundanese Script in the social and cultural life of West Javanese people in modern life is supported by the West Javanese Governor's Decision no. 434/SK.614-Dis.PK/99 about "Standardization of Sundanese Script", Local Government's Regulation no. 5 2003 about "Conservation of Local Language, Literature, and Script", and Governor's Decision no. 3 2004.