Place-Name Spelling Issues

Throughout Indonesian history, many place names have been spelled in different ways at different times and in different contexts and in a few cases the same name refers to two or more places.

Users should bear this in mind generally but especially in their use of the index to place names found on the maps in the Digital Atlas. This index is not structured to provide the ‘correct’ spelling for any place name, but rather reflects historical usage. In the index, cross-references have been provided where different spellings of the same term are physically separated by other names (e.g. Aceh and Atjeh), but not where variant spellings are immediately adjacent, e.g. Lodaya, Lodojo and Lodoyo, Gorang-Gareng and Goranggareng, Pegaden and Pegadeng.

It may be useful to recall the most common patterns of spelling variation:

Modern Indonesian Dutch Often rendered in English as
c tj ch
i ij i, ie, y
kh ch h
j dj j
u oe o, oo, u
y j y
au auw ao, ow, o

Other common spelling variations are:

  • Long place names are sometimes broken up into two or more components, with or without hyphen (Tolitoli, Toli-toli, Toli Toli).
  • ‘e’, or occasionally ‘a’, is sometimes inserted between consonants, e.g. Peleihari, Pleihari, and Karawang, Krawang.
  • Doubling of the letters, especially ‘g’, ‘k’, ‘r’, ‘s’ and ‘t’ is often inconsistent (Tangerang and Tanggerang, Saumlaki and Saumlakki, Porong and Porrong, Poso and Posso, Sangata and Sangatta).
  • Final and medial ‘k’, ‘h’ or glottal stop (’) may be present or absent (Tapa Tuan and Tapak Tuan, Baa and Baah, Wajo and Wajo’).
  • ei, ai and e (é) are often interchangeable.
  • The Javanese letter corresponding to ‘a’ is pronounced similarly to ‘o’ and is sometimes spelled that way.