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Language use and attitudes among the Jambi Malays of Sumatra

Author  Anderbeck, Kristen Leigh

This study examines language use and attitudes in two Jambi Malay communities 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 a 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. Methods used in data gathering consist 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 make 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 recommendations for more focused research are given.

  Language use and attitudes among the Jambi Malays of Sumatra
Published  2010
Language  Malay, Jambi [jax]
Country  Indonesia
Subjects  Language use
Keywords  mesolect; basilecty; Language use