The Urban Gorontalese Language Choice and Language Attitudes, and Implications for Language Maintenance in the Region of Gorontalo Province


In a multilingual society like Indonesia, people often utilize multiple languages, each for different purposes. Their language choice might indicate their attitudes towards each language (Romaine, 1995). This study investigates language choice and language attitudes among the Gorontalese who reside in the Gorontalo province of Indonesia. The urban Gorontalese (n:331) from a variety of age groups, gender, and educational backgrounds participated in an online sociolinguistic survey that explored: demographic background, language use of English, Bahasa Indonesia, and Gorontalo language in different domains, and language attitudes to each. Descriptive statistics analysis shows that Bahasa Indonesia is used predominantly in many different domains by 85.5% of Gorontalese, and only 39.5 % of the participants can produce some words and simple sentences in Gorontalo. The study also reveals that most Gorontalese have positive attitudes toward their mother tongue. More than half of the participants agree about the importance of 1. knowing and using their local language, 2. maintaining and teaching the language to their children, 3. acknowledging the language as a part of their identity, and 4. keeping their language alive. This study also describes the implications of the community language choices and language attitudes towards the maintenance of the Gorontalo language and draws into question Indonesia’s language education policy, a law created after signing the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous peoples (UNDRIP).

Author Information
Rahmawaty Kadir, University of Alberta, Canada

Paper Information
Conference: OCE2020
Stream: Challenging & Preserving: Culture

This paper is part of the OCE2020 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by amp21