English in Indonesia

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With regards to many languages that live in Indonesia, it is interesting to see the position of these languages, i.e. Indonesian language or Bahasa Indonesia itself, vernacular languages, and foreign languages, such as Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, French, German, Dutch and of course, English, in Indonesia. Korean is relatively new; Japanese, French, and German are at the same position since last century. Dutch is spoken by the old generation and Arabic is used as far as religious activities are concerned.

Chinese is now booming and English is “the old timer.” It seems that the two foreign languages that are interesting enough to discuss, concerning their position in Indonesia, are English and Chinese. Before discussing the position of English among Chinese, Bahasa Indonesia, and vernacular languages, it is interesting to see the position of Bahasa Indonesia among the vernacular languages. The prominent position of Bahasa Indonesia against the vernacular languages has been proved since the beginning of the selection of a national language. Based on the census and survey conducted in 1980, 1990, 2000 (Montolalu and Suryadinata , 2007, p. 48), there are seven main vernacular languages, namely: Javanese, Sundanese, Madurese, Batak, Minangkabau, Balinese, Buginese; with Javanese as the greatest number in terms of speakers.

No single one of these vernacular languages won over the so-called-now Bahasa Indonesia, even the Javanese language which reached 47 per cent of speakers according to 1930 population census (p. 39). The reason given is because Javanese is a complicated and hierarchical language and it is only used by the Javanese (p. 39 and Suryadinata, 2000, p. 45). The chosen language was the Malay language which was later called Bahasa Indonesia for the first time at the second Indonesian youth congress (2007, p. 41), which, according to 1930 census (p. 40), only had 1.6 per cent speakers. Since that point of time, Bahasa Indonesia has been used as the official language.

Almost always becoming the sole language of public administration and instruction, the role of other languages is arrested.” According to Budianta (2007, p. 42), it “has become the most important identity for the Indonesians of various ethnic groups At least within the years to come, Bahasa Indonesia will remain the most popular site for Indonesian writers to express their visions and creativity.

The flourishing of Indonesian language newspapers and magazines is a strong basis for that direction.” Now that Bahasa Indonesia is used in all official, administrative, government, business, and also education, against the vernacular languages, Bahasa Indonesia does and will still hold the prominent position. This fact leads to the discussion of English against Bahasa Indonesia and Chinese. Since Chinese is relatively new compared to English, the following discussion will be about English and Bahasa Indonesia. Since independence, Indonesians “have been preoccupied with the search and maintenance of national identity” (Dardjowidjojo, 2003, p. 44). “The question is how to keep a balance between nationalism, on the one hand, and the use of a foreign language, namely, English, on the other.”

Dardjowidjojo (p. 57) emphasizes that English “has never been considered an official language coexisting with the national language English is now officially called ‘ the first foreign language of the country.’ ” The reason for adopting English as the first foreign language is because science and technology are the world culture and the means to acquire and keep up with the development of science and technology in Indonesia is English (Dardjowidjojo, p. 44). Since Chinese is now booming, it is interesting, therefore, to see whether English will be just one of the foreign languages besides Chinese or stays as the prominent foreign language; if it does, which English-among Englishes and varieties-Indonesian learners should learn and how far English influences Bahasa Indonesia. Crystal (2003, p. 123) lists several possibilities that can affect the position of English in a country, namely: political, economic, technological, and cultural power.

Among these four, the latter two are far more important (2003, p. 86): the media-the press, radio, advertising, especially television (2003, p. 91), cinema, popular music, and education. The discussion concerning the competing Chinese and English will be based on the four points mentioned above with the emphasis on the latter two. This discussion will be put under the following subheadings: business, education, and pop culture.

Name : Julia Eka Rini

Source : https://media.neliti.com/media/publications/231721-english-in-indonesia-53cc9af4.pdf