28 July 2010

Bahasa Indonesia under threat





By ASSOCIATED PRESS/THE STRAITS TIMES, July 26, 2010

Paulina Sugiarto's three children played together at a mall here the other day, chattering not in Indonesia's national language, but English. Their fluency often draws admiring questions from other Indonesian parents Mrs Sugiarto encounters in this city's upscale malls.

But the children's ability in English obscured the fact that, though born and raised in Indonesia, they were struggling with the Indonesian language, known as Bahasa Indonesia. Their parents, who grew up speaking the Indonesian language but went to college in the United States and Australia, talk to their children in English. And the children attend a private school where English is the main language of instruction.

'They know they're Indonesian,' Mrs Sugiarto, 34, said. 'They love Indonesia. They just can't speak Bahasa Indonesia. It's tragic.' Indonesia's linguistic legacy is increasingly under threat as growing numbers of wealthy and upper-middle-class families shun public schools where Indonesian remains the main language, but English is often taught poorly. They are turning, instead, to private schools that focus on English and devote little time, if any, to Indonesian.

For some Indonesians, as mastery of English has become increasingly tied to social standing, Indonesian has been relegated to second-class status. In extreme cases, people take pride in speaking Indonesian poorly.

The global spread of English, with its sometimes corrosive effects on local languages, has caused much hand-wringing in many non-English-speaking corners of the world. But the implications may be more far-reaching in Indonesia, where generations of political leaders promoted Indonesian to unite the nation and forge a national identity out of countless ethnic groups, ancient cultures and disparate dialects.

The government recently announced that it would require all private schools to teach the nation's official language to Indonesian students by 2013. Details remain sketchy, though.

4 comments:

  1. hehehe... menarik banget artikel ini. Orang Indonesia bangga kalau bahasa Indonesianya buruk. bahasa indonesia turun kelas menjadi bahasa kelas dua. memang gak seekstrim artikel ini, tapi udah lama ada gejala2 ke sana.

    freddy, kupang

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  2. bhs inggris memang bhs internasional yg sangat dahsyat di era globalisasi. dan itu membuat bahasa2 di seluruh dunia KALAH pengaruh karena semua orang berkiblat ke bhs inggris. betul, bhs indonesia lama2 akan tergusur dan kalah kelas.

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  3. Saya kira artikel ini jadi semacam peringatan kepada kita, anak bangsa, yang sejak dulu sering lupa bahasa dan kebudayaan sendiri. Bahasa Indonesia sih menurut saya tidak terancam punah. Yang gawat justru bahasa-bahasa daerah di Nusantara.

    Di Jawa Timur saja, media berbahasa Jawa hanya dua: Panjebar Semangat dan Jayabaya. Itu pun pembacanya sangat terbatas dan makin sulit bersaing di pasar. Sangat jarang anak-anak muda di Jawa menekuni bahasa dan budaya tradisionalnya. Jawa saja begitu, apa lagi etnis-etnis minoritas di tanah air.

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  4. BAng Hurek,
    Saya setuju dengan pendapat anda. Bahasa Indonesia walau mungkin kualitasnya tidak baik, tapi akan tetap jadi bahasa komunikasi di negara ini. Tidak akan punah.

    Yang menyedihkan memang nasib bahasa daerah. Contohnya saya. Saya sekarang tidak bisa berbahasa Jawa, juga Sunda, hanya jadi pengguna pasif saja, karena sejak kecil orang tua saya menggunakan bahasa Indonesia sebagai pengantar. Masih bagus bahasa Indonesia saya cukup baik. Kalau saya saja begini situasinya, apalagi anak saya. Bahasa Indonesia pun bercampur bahasa Melayu (karena dia belajar bahasa itu di sekolah)

    Bahasa Jawa saya masih bisa bertanya pada ibu saya. Untuk bahasa Sunda, saya menyerah, sejak bapak saya tidak ada. Saya kurang bersentuhan dengan bahasa daerah ini.

    Mungkin perlu ada dokumentasi serius terhadap bahasa2 daerah di Indonesia, sebelum mereka mengalami kepunahan. Tapi yang terpenting, bahasa ini harus terus digunakan. Menurut saya itu kuncinya.

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