1st Edition

Language Policy in Superdiverse Indonesia

By Subhan Zein Copyright 2020
    288 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    288 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Indonesia has an extreme diversity of linguistic wealth, with 707 languages by one count, or 731 languages and more than 1,100 dialects in another estimate, spoken by more than 600 ethnicities spread across 17,504 islands in the archipelago. Smaller, locally used indigenous languages jostle for survival alongside Indonesian, which is the national language, regional lingua francas, major indigenous languages, heritage languages, sign languages and world languages such as English, Arabic and Mandarin, not to mention emerging linguistic varieties and practices of language mixing. How does the government manage these languages in different domains such as education, the media, the workplace and the public while balancing concerns over language endangerment and the need for participation in the global community?

    Subhan Zein asserts that superdiversity is the key to understanding and assessing these intricate issues and their complicated, contested and innovative responses in the complex, dynamic and polycentric sociolinguistic situation in Indonesia that he conceptualises as superglossia. This offers an opportunity for us to delve more deeply into such a context through the language and superdiversity perspective that is in ascendancy.

    Zein examines emerging themes that have been dominating language policy discourse including status, prestige, corpus, acquisition, cultivation, language shift and endangerment, revitalisation, linguistic genocide and imperialism, multilingual education, personnel policy, translanguaging, family language policy and global English. These topical areas are critically discussed in an integrated manner against Indonesia’s elaborate socio-cultural, political and religious backdrop as well as the implementation of regional autonomy. In doing so, Zein identifies strategies for language policy to help inform scholarship and policymaking while providing a frame of reference for the adoption of the superdiversity perspective on polity-specific language policy in other parts of the world.

    1. Introduction to Language Policy in Superdiverse Indonesia

    1.1. Introduction

    1.2. Indonesia: An Overview

    1.3. Language Policy in Superdiverse Indonesia

    1.4. Overview of the Book

    2. Linguistic Ecology and Language Policy

    2.1. Introduction

    2.2. Indonesian

    2.3. Indigenous languages

    2.4. Regional Lingua Francas (RLFs)

    2.5. Heritage and Sign Languages

    2.6. Foreign and Additional Languages

    2.7. English: From EFL to ELF

    2.8. Sociolinguistic Landscape

    2.9. Conclusion

    3. Status Planning

    3.1. Introduction

    3.2. Ideological Obfuscation and Status Planning

    3.3. Contemporary Status Planning

    3.4. Indonesian: From a National to an International Language?

    3.5. Conclusion

    4. Corpus Planning

    4.1. Introduction

    4.2. Corpus Planning of Indonesian

    4.3. The Badan Bahasa and Languages Other than Indonesian (LOTI)

    4.4. External Researchers and LOTI

    4.5. Conclusion

    5. Revitalisation Planning

    5.1. Introduction

    5.2. The Complexity of Language Endangerment

    5.3. Language Documentation

    5.4. Activities in Revitalisation Planning

    5.5. Conclusion

    6. Language-in-Education Policy

    6.1. Introduction

    6.2. Indonesia’s Management of Education: An Overview

    6.3. Policy on Teaching Indonesian

    6.4. Policy on Teaching Indigenous Languages

    6.5. Policy on Teaching "Imported" Languages

    6.7. Conclusion

    7. Conclusion

    7.1. Introduction

    7.2. Main Arguments

    7.3. Future Research


    Subhan Zein (PhD, Australian National University) teaches at The University of Queensland, Australia. He is the lead editor of Early Language Learning and Teacher Education: International Research and Practice and English Language Teacher Preparation in Asia: Policy, Research and Practice (Routledge) and also the editor of Teacher Education for English as a Lingua Franca: Perspectives from Indonesia (Routledge).

    "In the ninety years since the first Indonesian Youth Congress, conducted in Dutch, called for selection and development of a national language to overcome the superdiversity of languages, Bahasa Indonesia has come to fill that role. This pioneering study of language management is a book that must be read by all interested in language policy and in the effects on other language varieties of successful language planning."---Bernard Spolsky, Professor, Bar Ilan University, Israel

    "Subhan Zein’s approach to language policy and language revitalisation is erudite and original. Add to that his comprehensive knowledge of and proactive recommendations for cultivating and sustaining the rich, complex, dynamic language diversity of Indonesia. The result: an intellectual tour de force that will be a reference and resource for Indonesia and for language policy and planning scholarship for years to come."---Nancy H. Hornberger, Professor, University of Pennsylvania, USA

    "Language Policy in Superdiverse Indonesia not only mirrors Indonesia’s history but also echoes cultural integration in academic study. Zein’s book offers a holistic perspective that is reflected in the interaction between language history and language ecology… Overall, this book, at macro and micro levels, creatively contributes to linguistic research and policy-making under multicultural contexts, and it can also shed new light on the educational development of an emerging Indonesia."---Reviewed by Kezheng Chen, BA (Zhejiang University, China) in Language in Society, 2020, Volume 49, Issue, 5, DOI: 10.1017/S0047404520000391

    "Subhan Zein’s book Language Policy in Superdiverse Indonesia provides a substantial review of the dynamics of language, policy and language shift in Indonesia. There is no shortage of scholars praising Indonesia’s language planning. However, few books have investigated its underpinnings, and arguably none have done it as thoroughly as Zein has here. Each chapter examines aspects of the Indonesian planning ‘miracle’: the uniting of more than 600 ethnolinguistic groups through the Indonesian language. Zein casts a critical eye on this miracle—highlighting the diversity of Indonesia, and how this diversity has been understated, under-supported and politicised. He uses the lessons of the past, and observations about the present, to forge practical suggestions for Indonesia’s linguistic future."---Reviewed by Dr Howard Manns (Monash University, Australia) in Melbourne Asia Review, 2021, Edition 7, DOI: 10.37839/MAR2652-550X7.13

    "Subhan Zein’s Language Policy in Superdiverse Indonesia makes a valuable addition to the existing knowledge about LPP by drawing on the highly diverse linguistic ecology of Indonesia to examine the diversification of language practices within that ecology, and by employing a superdiverse perspective to investigate not only transitional language (e.g. national languages, indigenous languages) but also other forms of linguistic variety (e.g. dialects, registers) and practices of language mixing performed by people from diverse cultures, religions, and social classes... All in all, covering a wide range of themes and containing thorough discussions on many different practices, this systematic, in-depth, and integrated book offers well-structured and content-based insights about Indonesia’s language policy as well as the country’s linguistic ecology, and will be an important guide for researchers, teachers, and students with an interest in language policy and language planning."---Reviewed by Associate Professor Huiyu Zhang and Yao Ke, BA (Zhejiang University, China) in International Journal of Multilingualism, 2021, DOI: 10.1080/14790718.2021.1978452