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Bahasa Indonesia (was: One language for the world

From:Roger Mills <romilly@...>
Date:Sunday, June 11, 2000, 22:12
    Tom Wier wrote:
>I am not familiar with the details of the case, but I have to ask: to what
>was the language already _de facto_ an auxiliary language? >
As John Cowan points out in his post, "Bazaar Malay" was the lingua franca for centuries. (Mainly trade and inter-regional political dealings; doubtful whether it was written very much.) But it was a very simplified form of peninsular Malay, with many local variants, especially in the East (Ambonese-- "Spice Islands"area) The need to develop a more standardized, writeable, form probably arose in the mid/late 19th Cent., as the Dutch began to achieve more control over the outlying areas and instituted a real civil service; missionaries began to set up local schools; etc. By pre-WW2, writers began using Ml/BI. The pseudo-independence that resulted from the Japanese occupation (welcomed _at first_ by the nationalists) probably helped spread the use of this standardized (and almost always Romanized) version. >I know that Indonesia's
>population is heavily conecentrated in the Western reaches of the
archipelago, Java
>and Sumatra and such. If the language was already common in those areas,
it becomes
>relatively easy for one heavily populous region of the country to dominate
the others
>(cf. Kissinger's theory of hegemonic state systems).>
The interesting thing is that Ml (or what became BI) was the native language of _almost noone_ in Indonesia, but it was the 2nd lang. of most educated people, and Bazaar Malay was well known (and still is, though you're marked as provincial if you use it). Javanese was far and away the majority language, but only amongst the Javanese, and for various reasons was not, I think, even considered as a national language-- that would surely have been viewed as arrogant and imperialistic by all non-Javanese. So the decision to adopt BI was almost inevitable, and as it turns out, successful. Timor-Leste seems disinclined to continue using it officially, but if Indonesia should break up into several large regions, BI will probably continue to be the tie that binds. If it (foolishly, IMHO) breaks into small, very ethnically oriented mini-states, then I suppose all bets are off. (snip...)
>Do you mean in _A Study of History_? I have that on my shelf, but haven't >gotten around to reading it yet. Is there any part you suggest?>
Yes; and the brief answer is: all of it ;-)) If you have the 2-vol. version, not such a difficult read. If the 11 hefty paperbacks, well... Vol 1 will give an idea of what he's generally about, and it's possible to skim thru the others till you light on something that interests you. There are longeurs, but generally it's elegantly written, sometimes quite personal, and a remarkable life's work, synthesis from pre-history to modern (well, late 1950s) times. Some, tho not much, of his info is a little out of date, archeologically speaking. Personally I part company with his view that Christian/W.Eur civilization is the be-all and end-all-- but even here, he's wise enough to recognize that this too may pass away, as his general theory would suggest. Perhaps the North-South dichotomy is the "Challenge" facing this civilization, and our "Response" will determine the outcome.....? In the long run......... Roger.