Native Languages

Dec 23rd, 2006, in Society, by

Traditional native languages are dying out.

Dr. Ninuk Kleden, speaking at a seminar on the 21st hosted by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), lipi said that the increasing use of Malay/Indonesian was threatening the existence of traditional languages in the country.

The domination of Bahasa Indonesia, despite its function to unite the people, has diminished the existence of traditional languages.

Ninuk as quoted by Jakarta Post said deep values embedded in local tongues, especially among minority groups, could vanish if people no longer spoke traditional languages.

If there is only 1,000 people who speak a traditional language in one village, then that traditional language is on the verge of extinction.

The national education curriculum stipulates that elementary to junior high schools should offer traditional language classes, according to the languages spoken in each area.

In Alor, East Nusa Tenggara, a class could have five traditional languages. This poses a problem as to which language to choose. Alor regency, with a population of 171,187 in 2004, has 17 languages.

Excluding Papua Indonesia has around 130 native or traditional languages. In Papua there are different traditional languages and dialects in each subdistrict.

She said the "victor" among these competing languages usually was the one with the largest number of speakers, often the language spoken in markets or at social meetings.

We have to establish a cultural center where people can speak and study traditional languages and dialects.

The economic aspects of a language may determine which language is used, but that fails to preserve the moral lessons that comes from a traditional language.

In big cities, she said, traditional languages also have to compete with English.

Globalization cannot be avoided. The solution now is to find a balance between the foreign languages, traditional languages and Bahasa Indonesia.

Meanwhile national education ministry spokesman Bambang Wasito Adi said that in elementary and junior high schools each class studied traditional languages for two hours a week, compared to six hours for Indonesian.

The ministry aims to protect traditional languages by placing requirements in local school curriculums. We are keeping them from vanishing by teaching their values in the classroom.

We emphasize traditional languages in the basic nine-year education curriculum. Once they are in high school, other subjects, such as science, will replace traditional languages.

He said that in Papua traditional languages could not be taught in classrooms because of a lack of qualified teachers and the multitude of traditional languages in each regency.


4 Comments on “Native Languages”

  1. avatar 1ndra says:

    Yeah, nowadays there’re too much hard lesson to give : IPA, IPS, Indonesian and English language.
    No wonder traditional native languages dying out. As they’re considered useless.

    At least I still have my Javanese language and used it on daily communication, unfortunately, my sisters arent.

  2. avatar Enda says:

    Every time I read that somebody claimed some cultures, languages etc is dying I introduce them to that thing we called the Internet.

    Not only in Indonesia, 5 years ago many small language speaker communities thought that their languages are dying, but instead they found that their numbers are increasing, but why?

    The answer is Internet. Just posted everything about your language to Internet, vocabs, grammar, how to learn it, pronunciation, everything so everybody can try to use and speak the language as well.

  3. avatar 1ndra says:

    That’s a very good idea enda, we need some special sites running for maintaining and introducing our cultures to the world wide.

  4. avatar sgn says:

    Dr. Ninuk Kleden, speaking at a seminar on the 21st hosted by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), [1] said that the increasing use of Malay/Indonesian was threatening the existence of traditional languages in the country.

    The domination of Bahasa Indonesia, despite its function to unite the people, has diminished the existence of traditional languages.

    Dear Patung,
    I don’t agree with you. Bahasa Indonesia must not be translated to “Malay/Indonesian”. Even though bahasa Melayu was the root of bahasa Indonesia (and the wikipedia says they are very similar), in my observation, bahasa Indonesia is not the same as bahasa Melayu (Malay) anymore. Their grammars are different, too.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indonesian_language
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malay_language

    sgn

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