Mei 25, 2014

Language Use and Attitudes among the Jambi Malays of Sumatra

Kristen Leigh Anderbeck, "Language Use and Attitudes among the Jambi Malays of Sumatra" (SIL International, 2010).


Kajian ini meneliti penggunaan bahasa serta sikap terhadap bahasa dalam dua buah kampung Melayu Jambi dekat ibukota Provinsi Jambi di Sumatera. Di Sumatera, bahkan di seluruh Nusantara, semua bahasa minoriti terancam pergeseran dan kepupusan. Matlamat utama kajian ini adalah menerima atau menolak hipotesis nihil, iaitu ramai orang Melayu Jambi yang menggunakan bahasa ibunda mereka, setidak-tidaknya dalam bidang dan ruang sosial yang bersifat rendah; dan penutur ini bersikap positif terhadapnya. Matlamat kedua kajian ini adalah untuk mengenalpasti variabel independen, iaitu umur, jantina, tingkat pendidikan, dan jarak ke ibukota provinsi, yang mungkin mempengaruhi penggunaan dan sikap bahasa secara signifikan. Kaedah pengumpulan data terdiri dari kuesioner dan ujian matched guise dari sejumlah 293 orang, serta pemerhatian. Seterusnya, kaedah, yakni data dari kuesioner dan ujian matched guise dianalisis dengan menggunakan ujian statistik, untuk mengetahui kesignifikanan variabel-variabel dengan teliti. Dalam proses membuat kajian ini telah dikesan wujudnya bahasa mesolect di ibukota provinsi Jambi, yakni bahasa Indonesia Jambi. Berdasarkan data yang dijumpai, bahasa mesolect, bahasa Indonesia Jambi ini, bersama dengan basilect, bahasa Melayu Jambi, dan juga acrolect, bahasa Indonesia, membina satu situasi diglosia yang stabil di ibukota Jambi dan sekitarnya. Hasilnya juga menunjukkan bahwa variabel-variabel independen berpengaruh secara signifikan dalam penggunaan atau sikap terhadap bahasa, atau kedua-duanya. Terutamanya, golongan muda dan yang berpendidikan tinggi kurang menggunakan bahasa Melayu Jambi jika berbanding dengan golongan yang lain; dan sikap mereka terhadap bahasa Melayu Jambi adalah kurang positif. Bagaimanapun kaum perempuan menggunakan bahasa Melayu Jambi lebih sering daripada kaum lain, dan juga bersikap lebih positif terhadapnya. Kesimpulan-kesimpulan mengenai kekuatan bahasa Melayu Jambi dibincangkan, dan cadangan-cadangan tentang kajian yang lebih mendalam dan terfokus diberikan. (hlm. v)


The study examines language use and attitudes in two city Jambi Malay communities [Mudung Laut and Mudung Darat] near the capital city, Jambi, of Jambi Province in Sumatra, a region where many minority languages are at risk for language shift in the context of rapidly changing society. The main goal of the study is to accept or reject the null hypothesis, which states that usage of Jambi Malay (JM) is relatively high, at least in low domains, and attitudes toward it are positive. In addition, an aim of the study is to discover the impact of the independent variables age, sex, education level, and location relative to the capital city on Jambi Malay language usage and attitudes. Method used in data gathering consists of a questionnaire and a matched guise test from a total of 293 informants, as well as participant observation. Statistical tests are performed on data from the questionnaire and the matched guise test, primarily to assess whether the independent variables makes a statistically significant difference in language use and attitudes. The existence of a mesolect in the capital city is presented, and based on the data it is found that the mesolect (Jambi Indonesian), together with the basilect (Jambi Malay) and the acrolect (Indonesian), form a fairly stable diglossia situation in and around the city. It is also found that each of the independent variables significantly impacts either language usage or attitudes, or both. Especially noteworthy is the finding that the young and the educated generally have lower usage of JM and less positive attitudes towards it, while the women tend to have higher usage of JM and more positive attitudes towards it. Conclusions of Jambi Malay language vitality and recommendation for more focused research are given. (p. iv)


This study is merely an attempt to gauge language usage and attitudes in two communities in mid-2001. It would be necessary for another study of this kind to take place at a future time, in order to determine if usage is as high as it is currently in the Low domains discussed, or if encroachment of Indonesian usage is taking place even in Low domains. A comparison of attitudes towards Jambi Malay and Indonesian between now and future study may also prove helpful. Additionally, a future study would do well to include an examination of JM and SI language competency, at least reported competency, to get a better picture of bilingualism in Jambi.

A closer look at the mesolect, Jambi Indonesian, would be beneficial as well. For one thing, an assessment of its reach is needed, including whether it is also exists in order urban areas in Jambi Province. Obtaining JI texts and wordlist would provide more clarity in defining Jambi Indonesian and distinguishing it from Jambi Malay. Related to this, intelligibility testing between the variants would be interesting. Another question the needs addressing is how much mixing of JM and Indonesian is occurring and whether a particular direction is favored (i.e. JM assimilating to Indonesian). In this study, an examination of language attitudes towards Jambi Indonesian was not made, but that would be an interesting subject of the future study. Another "mixed language" in a small village was looked upon generally negatively by its speakers (see Mohammad Subakhir 1998); the case might be different in an urban "melting pot" environment. Also, investigating the history and conditions surrounding the development of Jambi Indonesian would be helpful.

Because of the some surprises or problems encountered in this study, further research may also help give clarification. For one thing, surprising results of slightly lower JM usage in Mudung Darat than in Mudung Laut were shown. Further study of the impact of location on language and attitudes might examine locations which are more polarized in the urban/rural distinction, optimally with a more equal sample of males/females and young/middle-age/old between the locations. Or perhaps more fruitful research may examine occupation or socioeconomic status rather than location, since that seems to be more of a determining factor of language use and attitudes.

Despite the inadequacies of this research, it is hoped that more light has been shed on the existing language vitality of the Jambi Malay language. Because of the increasing usage of one uniting language in a rapidly changing world, it is important that many more sociolinguistics studies be carried out among speakers of minority languages. Though it would be difficult at best to prevent language change or the forces that create it, it is helpful to document and try to understand what is occurring. (p.103)[]


This Anderbeck's report research is available here. Laporan penelitian Anderbeck dapat diunduh di sini.

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