As English spreads, Indonesians fear for their language

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Suzan Piper  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:29
English to Indonesian
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English is trendier and more familiar Jul 28, 2010

It is a challenge and has been a topic of discussion on Indonesian language groups.. much like the French resistance to the slow creep of anglicised expressions into the French language. Indonesian is an extraordinary rich and dynamic language with many different variants across age groups and social circles. Thus the use of English is more a reflection of assumed prestige or higher familiarity with the English word than neologisms coined from within the Indonesian language to express new ideas and processes, e.g. surel (surat elektronik - electronic letter) for email.

Currently it is the hundreds of regional languages of Indonesia that stand a greater threat of extinction.

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:29
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
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It's the people's will! Jul 28, 2010

As a translator I might like it or not, but languages are the result of human evolution. If the trend is towards globalisation today and youngsters don't feel very interested in their seniors' culture, habits, expression of faith, and language, there is little we can do to keep them from pursuing their idea of life.

Political action and enforcement can only be pebble in the wheels of this trend, and a disturbingly expensive one as well. I think we must accept that minority languages will be on the losing side unless populations get isolated and split again, something that does not seem very likely. Changes that happen naturally are like water: you cannot stop them. It was that way with isolated populations and a much smaller population in the world, and it is that way today with a big, interconnected human population.

On the opposite side, political action and enforcement to protect, promote, and finally impose minority languages to a population are like petrol: as soon as the petrol is gone, the motor will immediately stop.

[Edited at 2010-07-28 08:11 GMT]

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As English spreads, Indonesians fear for their language

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