Language Attitude and Language Choice in Bilingual Academic Learning Environment

Pennycook (2010) has explained that English is too often assumed to be a language that holds out the promise of social and economic development to all who learn it, equal opportunity, and the world needs in order to communicate. The assumption is considered to be one of the motivations why people across the globe to learn English. English has become a world language, which is utilized in various aspects of international relations, tourism, global media, science, technology, and education. Aldosari (2010) has claimed that English is learned by over 150 million children in primary or secondary schools, as a foreign language, as a compulsory or an optional language in most countries. Thus, the use of English across context has always been an appealing topic to observe. This research focuses on the attitude and language choice in the bilingual academic learning environment in Indonesian universities.

Indonesia is considered as a proper object to conduct an observation of English using across context because it provides a clear illustration of a nonEnglish-speaking country, where English has become more popular in recent years. Lauder (1998) has noted that based on its function for educational purposes, English is positioned in third place after Indonesian as the main language and the regional vernaculars. Many people take an English course and join or enroll in the English department to learn English. The problem faced by many bilingual schools and English course in Indonesia is the condition where students do not use English outside or inside the classroom. For that reason, observation of students’ language attitude and choice in the bilingual academic environment is important to provide a context in designing an effective learning process to encourage students in practicing English. Indonesia is a country, which has more than 500 regional languages spoken all over the country. Indonesia is known for its highly multicultural and multilingual society, which Indonesian is the national language. Sneddon (2003) has assumed that the existence of English in Indonesia is seen as a representation of prestigious cultures.

The assumption is derived from the history of the existence of the language that was taught in secondary school during the Dutch colonization era. Thus, only rich and educated Indonesian people who got access to learn English. From this perspective, it is important to examine the relationship between the language attitudes of students and how it affects their language inside and outside the classroom. As mentioned by Padwick (2010), the nature of learning does not only depend on intellectual ability but also on the learners’ attitude toward the language. Attitude, in this case, refers to what Gardner (1985) defines as a person’s values and beliefs, which encourage or discourage the language choice they made. According to Jaspal (2009), language does not only serve the role as an instrument of communication but it also “constitutes an important marker of social identity at various levels of human interdependence, e.g., subcultural or national”.

Therefore the attitudes and values of users or non-users will influence language use and language choice. Crawford, Pablo, and Lengeling (2016) elaborates the individual attitudes towards a language will impact, for example, on the value places on the language, invariably, and how much of it may be used by first language speakers or learned by second language speakers. In other words, the status of the language in a particular society also influences the attitudes of speakers as well as non-speakers. It shows that language attitudes provide an explanation to determine the factor influencing language choice. Language choice is a reflection of speakers’ attitude toward a language. Positive language attitude will promote encouragement to the language use and the other way around. The objective of this research is to explore factors, which determine language choice of English Department students at Bina Nusantara University inside and outside the classroom. The factors will be observed by looking at their language attitude and motivation in learning their second language. English Department students at Bina Nusantara University are chosen to be an object of the research because they are considered as a sample of the bilingual community. The majority of the students speak Indonesian in their daily language and English as the foreign language. The data will be collected through questionnaires where 100 students will be asked related to language attitude and language choice. The questionnaire is designed to expose the students’ language attitude, which affects their language use and motivation to learn the language. The language attitude performed through the questionnaires by the students will reflect the factors that determine their language choice inside and outside the classroom.

METHODS The data of this research will be collected through the questionnaire. The questionnaires are distributed to 100 English Department students of Bina Nusantara University. The students are asked to fill specific questions related to their language practice and language attitude. The questions are structured to see whether the learning environment and their motivation of learning English affect their language practice, in this case the use of English. Asking the question about people’s opinion toward certain language variation and practice through questionnaire is an effective method to observe language attitude and ideology besides interviewing (Choi, 2003). This method is considered as a direct method, which includes “forms of overt questioning about the meanings of linguistic varieties” (Coupland, 2007). Thus, by using this method, researchers give the respondents form, which contains questions related to their language choice, practice, and ask the respondents to give their opinion about it. English Department students of Bina Nusantara University is selected as the sample to observe language choice and attitude based on their bilingual learning environment setting. The university situated in Jakarta where most of the population speak Indonesian only, local language in family setting for some immigrant, and English occasionally. English is only used for specific purpose (international school, international meeting, and English major classes).

English Department students of Bina Nusantara is seen as one social network which has similar language practice since they belong in the similar academic learning environment. The opinion given by the students further is analyzed to see whether the positive or negative attitude they reveal toward the use of English language affect their choice in academic learning environment. The proportion of language choice stated in the questionnaire by the students is the indicator of the attitude. The factors determining language choice is observed through the language practiced by everyone involved in the academic learning environment stated by the students. The correlation between these two indicators is used to determine factors determining language choice.

Name : Udiana Puspa Dewi, Criscentia Jessica Setiadi

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