Sabtu, 19 Agustus 2023

by Yanti Riswara

The old adage says, "Language shows the nation." At first glance, this proverb looks very simple, but actually has a very broad meaning. Language, in the form of utterances or utterances, is often the primary clue in identifying a person. In Indonesia, for example, a person's ethnic identity—besides being identified by the language used—can also be easily identified by their speech: in general, Batak people cannot pronounce /e/ pepet sound fluently; the Acehnese and Balinese are not fluent in pronouncing the sound /t/; Malays are not fluent in pronouncing the sound /r/; etc.

As one of the markers of identity, it turns out that language also reflects the speaker's position in his social order. That is why, in sociolinguistic studies, it is believed that language cannot be separated from the conditions and social background of its speakers. The social background of speakers who are different will make the language they use different too. For speakers with higher education, for example, you will see differences in the character of their language use with speakers with no education/low education, even if they use the same language.

In general, highly educated speakers will see the use of language that is good and right: in accordance with the situation of use and the rules of the language. Their accent tends to be standard (does not show the characteristics of a particular group/tribe) and the choice of words is appropriate according to the context. Conversely, speakers who are not educated tend to show the use of language that ignores the rules. Their accent is medok, showing the characteristics of a certain group/tribe. The choice of words (diction) seems to be what it is (not creative).

In many cases, language is often used by certain groups to reinforce their group identity so that it seems (more) exclusive. These groups usually commit "language violations" as a form of expression which they believe will differentiate them from other groups. Celebrity groups, for example, like to use foreign terms/words (especially English). In fact, some of them speak Indonesian with a foreign accent, English-English.

Meanwhile, transgender groups carry out "manipulation" of linguistic elements with a certain system (which only members of the group are likely to understand). As a result, "new languages" emerged: such as Gaul and Alay. I don't know what the reason is, now the two new languages, with their various variations, are rapidly growing in use among teenagers. Recently, in fact, another new “type of language” has appeared: Baby Talk 'Baby Baby'. That said, the use of language that mimics the accent of toddlers is actually loved by adults.

In the last few decades, a study has developed in the academic world that links the use of language with the cultural background of society. This study (known by several names: anthropology of language, anthropolinguistics, or ethnolinguistics) focuses its analysis on the use of language in relation to the culture of the group of speakers, especially on the cultural values ​​shown through the use of language. The way of expressing (through the use of language) the cultural values ​​of a particular community/tribe is usually not the same as that of other people/ethnic groups.

The way in which the Minangkabau people/tribe express politeness and/or politeness values, for example, is different from the way that the Batak people/tribe do. In general, the Minangkabau people/tribe prefer to use indirect speech to convey certain intentions, while the Batak people/tribe prefer to use direct speech. When visiting, for example, the Minangkabau people will insinuate the host by saying, "It's really hot here," or "This place is really far," so that they are served a drink right away. Things like that are not commonly done by the Batak people/tribe because their habits don't like small talk. In this case, the Batak people/tribe do not feel reluctant/ashamed to say they are thirsty or hungry to their host.

Thus, through language, all aspects of human life (both personally and communally) can be read. This is where the saying: Language shows the nation finds its relevance. Like a mirror, language is able to show everything that is in front of it perfectly. In other words, language is a portrait of its users.

Well, what about the Indonesian people? Has this nation had full awareness that language shows the nation? The answer must be varied. In closing, let's reflect on the meaning of the following thimble.

The kurik one is kundi, the red one is saga.

The good is mind, the beautiful is language . n

Yanti Riswara , Language Center Officer of Riau Province

Source: Riau Pos , Sunday, 31 March 2013

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