Multilingualism of high school students in Yogyakarta, Indonesia: the language shift and maintenance
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 13:06 by Erna Andriyanti
This present study examines the language choices and attitudes of multilingual high school students in Yogyakarta and considers the impact of factors, such as language prestige, ethnic and cultural identity, national pride, educational success and global competitiveness, on the maintenance or shift of their heritage language. Data were collected using student and teacher surveys, interviews with principals, observations and documents. The main participants were 12-18 year-old high school students. Yogyakarta’s population of 61,016 students across 149 schools (BPS, 2014b) is represented by a sample group of 1039 students from 10 schools. Examination of the languages used by the young multilinguals in six domains reveals that Javanese and Bahasa Indonesia compete in the home, in schools and on the street, especially in peer-to-peer interactions. However, despite its large number of speakers, use of Javanese in other domains is endangered. Statistical measures of language proficiency and the inner functions of bi- and multilingualism reveal the extent of the shift away from Javanese, and provide insight into the relationships between their choice of language and their perceived local and national identity. The factors that influence the shift include: the government’s national language policy which has gradually had a negative impact on local languages, including Javanese; exposure to languages in the home, school and media; settlement patterns; the difficulty of learning a language and its perceived benefits; and the attitudes toward particular languages. This present study also includes proposals to revitalise Javanese. The strategies stress the significant role of education in local government language policy. They also rely on intergenerational transmission, a focus rarely discussed in-depth by Indonesians, and the importance of raising parents’ awareness of family language planning, while maintaining the value of English so that young people become competent additive multilinguals.