Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Bahasa Indonesia (was: One language for the world)

From:Roger Mills <romilly@...>
Date:Thursday, June 8, 2000, 20:55
From: Lassailly@AOL.COM <Lassailly@...>
Date: Thursday, June 08, 2000 4:58 AM

>Barry a crit : > >-------- >Question on Bahasa Indonesia: is the lexicon mainly from one Indonesian >language? In other words, how did they come up with the lexicon for the >language? >--------- > >they took vocab from Malay + Javanese + some other local langs. >that makes a lot of Arabic and Sanskrit/Pali words too.>
Yes. Plus some Portuguese and lots of Dutch (where peninsular Ml. has English -- e.g. BI potlot, Ml. pensil) Minor quibble with John Cowan's later post: BI was based on the version ("pure" i.e. more peninsular) spoken in the Riau Archipelago, politically part of Indonesia tho geographically closer to Malaysia. This was already the choice for a "standard Indonesian Malay" even before Independence. True, hardly anyone in the main islands spoke Riau dialect, tho some langs. of Sumatra are close (e.g. Ogan, with IIRC the sole difference Ml. /r/ > Ogan /x/).
>Same problem as for Tagalog : >
Ref. Barry's post. Yes, it seems Pilipino is mainly a lot of regional vocabulary on top of Tagalog grammar. A little like trying to combine Engl. and Dutch-- engl. words and pronunciation with Dutch grammar-- wouldn't satisfy anyone! Tagalog also probably didn't have the same widespread lingua franca status in the PI, as Malay (even bad forms) did in Indonesia.
>Bahasa Indonesia is felt a dominating >Javanese lang. I could hardly speak B. in Bali and Sumatra >because young people would immediately switch to English to train, >to show off and to avoid speaking B. although they were obviously fluent in
it.> That may be a more recent development than when I was there (71-2); maybe the idealism still hadn't worn off; and Suharto was just getting started. Never visited Sumatra, but I can see how distinct ethnic/ling. groups like Minang, Batak and Acinese might resent Javanese-laden BI, not to mention the heavy Javanese hand of the govt.
>But Javanese speak B. very readily ...>
Phonologically they're very close (unlike the others we've mentioned here)--- plus 2000 years of very close contact & occasional competition for dominance. There is at least as much Malay in Javanese as there is Jav. in BI. (snip....) that's why there is very little written in B. except for a host
>of legal stuff. the vocabulary is really messy now because people >use their own local vocabulary and don't know whether a local word is >also regular B. or not.>
Pre-war, there were some very fine novelists & poets using BI (many were Minangs); currently there's Pramoedya (Jav.)-- But they're about all we hear of, regrettably. Ml/BI is fine for narrative and poetry-- that's well within their tradition. It does fail badly in scientific/political/academic prose (that might be our Eurocentric view) where the lack of clear tense distinctions, difficulties in relativization, tendency to omit pronouns (or westernize by using too many), tendency nowadays to adapt an Engl. word rather than search the dictionary---etc. etc. makes this sort of stuff very hard going.
>OBCONLANG: >I think that B. is a good example of an auxlang experiment. >B. is easier than any other available lang including English, >the vocabulary is pretty large and mixes Arabic and Indian words >understood everywhere in the region. >but people would rather learn English because it is spoken by rich >foreigners. >you can make your own auxlang just as difficult as you want-- >as French, Russian, Latin, etc.-- provided it is the richest ones'. >or else make sure your people can't access rich countries' langs.
Agree, agree, agree. Even the Kash have borrowed most of their scientific vocab. from the Gwr; hardly anything in the other direction. A final disturbing fact: Some analysts suspect, and tradition/legendary history even suggests, that "Malay" itself is some kind of pidgin, or maybe better, koine. The story goes that when the trading center at Malacca was founded, nobody could understand the various langs., so they took "the best" from each and created a new language!!!