Monday, 22 February 2010

The International Mother Language Day


Look at the picture here! Can you spot the mistake? Yes, it is "check" in English, or "cek" in Bahasa Indonesia. Yet, we've got "chek" instead...

The need to be able to communicate in English as the international language made our national schools compete to be national plus schools. "Plus" means that they provide English language and sometimes Mandarin (Chinese language). The problem is that our children is not mastering the national language, Bahasa Indonesia, yet. It's no wonder if sometimes youngsters are getting confused about their own language.

The billboard is surely a spelling mistake. I've found the same picture with the word "check" written on it. So, even without a spelling mistake the billboard was meant to be wrong (if we read it in Bahasa Indonesia).

While our national language is struggling to survive in its own land, the dialects of the Indonesian ethnic groups face more challenges. My generation would probably more adapt to the ethnic dialects than the younger generation, especially those who are in my kids' age. These children knew English and Mandarin better than their traditional mother languages.

I speak Makasarese language orally, but I can't understand it's lontara scriptures. I try to find some blogs which use the traditional dialects. This Hariring kuring is a Sundanese blog, it's a pity that it seems to stop at the end of 2008. We do have Wikipedia Jawa, a special pages of wikipedia in Javanese language.

While expecting that googling the word Mangkasara will give me a blog in Makasarese language, I found that Mangkasara.com is written in Bahasa Indonesia. Another friend's blog is Simpang Limo Bengkulu, but the content is mostly in bahasa Indonesia, or somtimes a "gado-gado" of bahasa Indonesia, Bengkulu dialect, and I also trace Javanese dialect.

Indonesia has more than 500 traditional languages/dialects. And we are not going to keep it if the youngsters aren't able to use it. Gladly the social media like face book is now providing a space for us to use the dialects. As long as we know that we are using it to keep our own heritage, not to build another gap of languages, then we are using it for the better solution. We should use nationalism while pertaining those dialects as a part of our root and heritage.


Yes, we are facing the reality that the world's languages are in danger of disappearing. UNESCO put forward the dialogue of civilization as the basic of the International Year for rapprochement of cultures (2010).

There are experts who gather in Paris today and tomorrow (February 22 and 23), to attend the International Symposium: Translation and Cultural Mediation, to discuss topics including bridging global and local languages and Translation, Mutual Understanding and Stereotypes. It would really be wonderful if some expert over there are keeping their blogs and share the discussion topic with us.


I write this post as my contribution to the Bloggers Unite. I believe that together we are going to be stronger. I've known the importance of sharing languages. Through English and French languages I've found a lot of interesting readings. From those readings I developed a part of my knowledge of life. Blended with my real daily life they build my own power to face my life.

Yet, while trying to develop a better communication, we also need to guard our own languages. I write this blog in English as I would like to bridge the gap. As a bridge blog I tried to tell readers the information that came from Indonesian's newspapers and from Indonesian public. I have my other blogs in bahasa Indonesia. They are my more intimate blogs; my meditation blog, and my blog about being a mother. Actually I would like to write another blog in Makasarese (in phonetic writing, not the authentic lontara scriptures) but I need to balance my schedule first. It is difficult to live in the real world and in the cyber world in a balance time schedule.

The BOBs from the Deutsche Welle is now including blogs in Bahasa Indonesia. So in their map of blogs, Indonesia is now one of the eleven languages that could go for a competition to achieve category awards of the best blog.

The internet translation tools still need a lot of development before we could really speak (or write) in our own languages and be understood by others (who are not speaking our language). But, on the other side, the need to know the meaning will make us interested in learning other languages. Jadi, ingin belajar bahasa Indonesia?

6 comments:

ivanlanin said...

Saya lebih khawatir dengan nasib bahasa daerah daripada bahasa Indonesia. Bahasa Indonesia semakin hari semakin banyak mendapat perhatian dan ada Pusat Bahasa yang memang bertugas terus membina dan mengembangkannya. Bahasa daerah semakin lama semakin terpinggirkan menjadi hanya bahasa pergaulan yang tidak layak dipakai dalam tulisan atau forum formal.

Jadi, Mbak. Saya dukung sekali pembuatan blog berbahasa Makasarnya :) Saya sendiri, meskipun berbahasa ibu Minang, lebih fasih berbahasa Sunda. Jadi, baiklah. Nanti saya juga coba buat blog berbahasa Sunda deh :)

Rix said...

The same thing is happening in Brazil with indigenous languages as opposed to Portuguese the major language. Mean while Portuguese is full of alien words from USA English. Unfortunately this is linked to economic growth and imperialism in its many formats. We have to keep fighting to preserve the treasures of our cultures; this must be a intelligent fight. We have to transform our cultures as much as possible into commodities. I think the Japanese have mastered this. Last carnival, for example, I meet a Japanese lady visiting the Sambodromo in Sao Paulo and she was here in Brazil for a series of musical presentations of an ancient instrument that I don´t remember the name (sorry), but she goes from country to country visiting Japanese communities and show her art and the seed of their culture is kept. She gets paid to do that and the communities sell tickets and talk about it to the people surrounding them and this thing goes on and on reverberating.
www.glowbrazil.com – Antonio Carlos Rix

Retty N. Hakim said...

Terima kasih komentarnya mas Ivan, jadi penambah semangat untuk memulai blog berbahasa Makassar. Terus terang saya takut bisa memulai tapi sulit menjaga kesinambungannya.

Retty N. Hakim said...

Thank you for your comment Carlos. It would be nice to share stories to see how universal the world is. I've just read in Reader's Digest Indonesia that the Chinese people in China also have the same problem in pertaining their own dialects as the Mandarin language is used as their national language.

Suryadi van Batavia said...

Saya juga khawatir kalau bahasa daerah punah. Misalnya, berdasarkan yang pernah saya dengar, generasi muda Jawa saat ini lebih menguasai bahasa ngoko (kasar) ketimbang krama (halus). Kalau begini terus, lama-lama generasi berikutnya terutama yang tinggal di luar komunitas berbahasa Jawa tidak menggunakannya lagi, tidak cuma krama, ngoko sekalipun.

Sebaliknya, yang saya lihat, generasi tua dan menengah yang masih fasih berbahasa Jawa malah berlebihan menggunakan bahasa ibunya. Di forum resmi yang mestinya menggunakan bahasa Indonesia, malah bercampur baur itu bahasa Indonesia dan Jawa.

Saya yakin kasus-kasus tersebut terjadi juga pada penutur bahasa-bahasa daerah lain. Sebagai seorang Betawi, saya melihat bahasa ibu saya itu tergerus oleh gaya bicara anak-anak Jakarta yang secara berganti-ganti naik panggung, mulai dari bahasa prokem, bahasa gaul, dan kini bahasa alay.

Walaupun prihatin, sayangnya apa yang saya lakukan tidak mencerminkan sebagai pelestari bahasa Betawi.

Pertama, saya tidak mengajarkan dialek betawi ke anak-anak saya. Beberapa kosa kata masih secara alami tertularkan pada mereka, tapi selebihnya ya bahasa Indonesia.

Kedua, saya menolak dibuatnya wikipedia bahasa Betawi dengan alasan bahwa bahasa betawi itu lebih merupakan bahasa percakapan informal ketimbang bahasa tulis yang formal, sementara wikipedia punya pedoman penulisan baku sebagaimana kodratnya sebagai sebuah ensiklopedia.

Walaupun begitu, saya pengen banget menulis gaya Firman Muntaco, yakni narasi cerita pendek ditulis dalam bahasa Indonesia tapi dialog-dialognya dalam dialek Betawi. Format seperti itu lebih bisa menjangkau audiens yang lebih luas, tidak terbatas pada penutur bahasa betawi saja.

Nah, setelah baca artikel ini, keinginan Retty buat bikin blog berbahasa Mangkasara atau Ivan yang mau bikin blog berbahasa Sunda menggugah keinginan saya buat nulis pake bahasa Betawi juga. :D

Retty N. Hakim said...

Kemarin di Museum Nasional ketika menerangkan peta bahasa di Indonesia, saya juga tersentil sendiri betapa kita lemah pada budaya tulis. Narasumber tertulis kita lebih banyak berasal dari orang asing.