The Indonesian Language

Topics: Indonesia, Malay language, Indonesian language Pages: 13 (2984 words) Published: September 20, 2011
[pic] |Bahasa Indonesia: The Indonesian Language |  | |
|  |by | | |[pic] |Dr George Quinn | | |[pic] |Head, Southeast Asia Centre, | | |[pic] |Faculty of Asian Studies, | | |[pic] |Australian National University | | |[pic] |What Is Indonesian? | | |[pic] |Indonesian is a 20th century name for Malay. Depending on how you define a language and| | |[pic] |how you count its number of speakers, today Malay-Indonesian ranks around sixth or | | |[pic] |seventh in size among the world's languages. With dialect variations it is spoken by | | |[pic] |more than 200 million people in the modern states of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and| | |[pic] |Brunei. It is also an important vernacular in the southern provinces of Thailand, in | | |[pic] |East Timor and among the Malay people of Australia's Cocos Keeling Islands in the | | |[pic] |Indian Ocean. It is understood in parts of the Sulu area of the southern Philippines | | |[pic] |and traces of it are to be found among people of Malay descent in Sri Lanka, South | | |[pic] |Africa and other places. | | | |Malay is just one of many scores, perhaps hundreds, of different languages in the area | | | |now occupied by the Republic of Indonesia. In 1928 the Indonesian nationalist movement | | | |chose it as the future nation's national language. Its name was changed to Bahasa | | | |Indonesia, literally: "the language (bahasa) of Indonesia". In English we call the | | | |language "Indonesian": it is not correct to call it simply "Bahasa". | | | |Indonesian is not related, even remotely, to English. Nor is it related to the inland | | | |languages of New Guinea, the Aboriginal languages of Australia or the Sino-Tibetan | | | |languages of China and continental Southeast Asia. Indonesian belongs to the | | | |Austronesian language family which extends across the islands of Southeast Asia and the| | | |Pacific. Other languages in this family include Malagasy (spoken on Madagascar off the | | | |coast of Africa), Javanese (famous for its extraordinarily elaborate system of | | | |honorific speech levels), Balinese (the language of the beautiful Hindu island of | | | |Bali), Tagalog or Filipino (the national language of the Philippines), and Maori (the | | | |language of the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand). Some Indonesian words | | | |have been borrowed into English, among them the common words gong, orangoutang and | | |...
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