Petjo language

Peco' Creole
Native to Indonesia, Netherlands
Native speakers
"some" (2007)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 pey
Glottolog petj1238[2]

Petjo, also known as Petjoh, Petjok, Pecok, is a Dutch-based creole language that originated among the Indos, people of mixed Dutch and Indonesian ancestry in the former Dutch East Indies. The language has influences from Dutch, Javanese and Betawi. Its speakers presently live mostly in Indonesia and the Netherlands. The language is expected to become extinct by the end of the 21st century.

The language

As opposed to a mere pidgin, Petjok is an actual language owned by a social category, "with standardized word order and grammatical markers in pidgin missing".[3]

Just as the Indo (Eurasian) community historically originated from relationships between European males and Indonesian females, its language reflects this same origin. Typified as a mixed-marriage language, the grammar of Petjok is based on the maternal Malay language and the lexicon on the paternal Dutch language.

The main contact mechanisms responsible for the creation of Petjok are lexical re-orientation; selective replication and convergence. The original speakers of the language do not necessarily want to maintain their first language, but rather create a second one. These creative speakers of the language were probably bilingual, but more fluent in the dominant lingua franca i.e., native Malay language, than Dutch language.

In its overall split between grammar and lexicon, the structure of Petjok is very similar to the Media Lengua spoken in Ecuador by the Quechua Indians, with the critical difference that the much older language, Pecok, has undergone late system morphemes and syntactic blends.

The most important author that published literary work in this language is the Indo (Eurasian) writer Tjalie Robinson.[4]

Each urban area with a large Indo community had their own variation of Petjok. For example: the Petjok of Batavia was influenced by a form of Malay which contained many Chinese words, in Bandung, many Sundanese words were used, while in Semarang and Surabaya many Javanese words were in use.

Petjo should not be confused with Javindo, a different creole language spoken by Indos in the Dutch East Indies (Now: Indonesia).




  1. Petjo at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Petjo". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Steven Pinker, The Language Instinct (New York, 1994), Page 35.
  4. Website of Tjalie Robinsons Dutch biographer
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