Contemporary Indonesian Phonology and Morphology: Some Evidence of Language Change and Innovations

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Contemporary Indonesian Phonology and Morphology: Some Evidence of Language Change and Innovations

The Roundtable Meeting, Leiden University, Leiden, 26' 28 March 2008

Bambang Kaswanti Purwo
Atma Jaya Catholic University

Abstract

For almost half a century Indonesian cannot refrain from having to bear with the mass and rapid influx of English loanwords. Since 1970s there has been a strong pressure, initiated by Pusat Bahasa (the Language Center), for the change from Dutch-soundlike loanwords, such as tradisionil, universil, komersiil, into English-soundlike loanwords, such as tradisional, universal, komersial, respectively. Although some Dutch-based forms like riel are much more likely to be used than the more English-soundlike real, forms like terealisir have been replaced by terealisasi, terorganisir by terorganisasi, memproklamirkan by memproklamasikan. The Dutch-based forms are “prefix plus verb-root”, while the English-based forms are “prefix + noun-root”. A great number of verbalized English loanwords following this pattern (e.g. merevisi, mengklasifikasi, melegitimasi) are productive, while the native Indonesian verbs with this pattern, verbs whose base is a noun, are not productive: e.g. mengelas, mengetik (the transitive type, the noun being instrumental) and membatu, mendarat (the intransitive type, the noun being the destination). With these examples to illustrate, the present paper is interested to see to what extent the mass and rapid influx of English loanwords has shaken the Indonesian phonology and morphology.

1. Introduction

For almost half a century Indonesian cannot refrain from having to bear with the mass and rapid influx of English loanwords. There have been two sequential strong streams of external influence on Indonesian: Portuguese and Dutch first, then English. The Dutch influence took place soon after Indonesian independence until the end of the sixties, and English took over the dominance. The stream has not only had an affect upon the phonology, but also the morphology of Indonesian.

2. Phonology

The basic (base) word constructions in Indonesian is of twelve types (Halim 1974, as quoted in Lauder 1995a). One of the striking features is that there is no consonant clusters.

|Nomor |Konstruksi Kata |Contoh | |1. |KV-KV |lu-pa | |2. |KV-KVK |ma-kan | |3. |KV-VK |ka-in | |4. |KV-V |ma-u | |5. |KVK-KV |tan-da | |6. |KVK-KVK |lom-pat | |7. |VK-KV |ang-ka | |8. |VK-KVK |ar-wah | |9. |V-KV |i-ni | |10. |V-KVK |a-nak | |11. |V-VK |a-ir | |12. |V-V |i-a |

(Halim 1974:182)

A sequence of two consonants is possible, as exemplified in constructions 5' 8, but in restricted combinations. Halim’s study of 500 words of two-syllable structure reveals that the permissible sequence of two consonants is of two types. The first type (70% of the occurrences), exemplified in 5' 7, is a nasal followed by its homorganic consonant. The second type (30%) is initiated with a trill (e.g. arti), sibilant-like consonants (e.g. pasti, bahwa) or voiceless velar (e.g. paksa, waktu).

The basic syllable structure is V, VC, CV, CVC. Lauder’s (1995b) frequency counting reveals that CV and CVC are predominant. Of 32.489 base words (entries) in Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia (KBBI) 1993 CV occurs 49.52%, CVC 33.48%, VC 5.05%, and V 4.92%. The consonant clusters emerging up to 1990s only reach 3.65%. The highest syllable structure with...
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