Language Policy in Superdiverse Indonesia: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Language Policy in Superdiverse Indonesia

1st Edition

By Subhan Zein


280 pages | 29 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367029548
pub: 2019-10-07
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Indonesia has an extreme diversity of linguistic wealth, with 707 individual living languages by one count, or 731 languages and more than 1,100 dialects in another estimate, spoken by more than 1,300 ethnics spreading across 17,504 islands in the archipelago. Smaller, locally used indigenous languages jostle for survival alongside Indonesian as 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 landscape of Indonesia that he conceptualises as superglossia. This offers an opportunity 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.


"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

Table of Contents

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. Conclusions

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. Conclusions

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. Conclusions

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. Conclusions

7. Conclusions

7.1. Introduction

7.2. Main Arguments

7.3. Directions for Future Research

About the Author

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 he is also editor of Teacher Education for English as a Lingua Franca: Perspectives from Indonesia (Routledge).

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Sociolinguistics

This series is our home for innovative research in the field of sociolinguistics. It includes monographs and targeted edited collections that provide new insights into this important and evolving subject area.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Language Experience Approach
EDUCATION / Teaching Methods & Materials / Language Arts
EDUCATION / Educational Policy & Reform / General
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Historical & Comparative
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Sociolinguistics