Language, Identity, and Marginality in Indonesia

Language, Identity, and Marginality in Indonesia : The Changing Nature of Ritual Speech on the Island of Sumba

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Indonesia's policy since independence has been to foster the national language. In some regions, local languages are still political rallying points, but their significance has diminished, and the rapid spread of Indonesian as the national language of political and religious authority has been described as the 'miracle of the developing world'. Among the Weyewa, on the island of Sumba, this shift has displaced a once vibrant tradition of ritual poetic speech, which until recently was an important source of authority, tradition, and identity. But it has also given rise to new and hybrid forms of poetic expression. This first study to analyse language change in relation to political marginality argues that political coercion or cognitive process of 'style reduction' may partially explain what has happened, but equally important in language shift is the role of linguistic ideologies.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 19 b/w illus. 3 maps
  • 1139241311
  • 9781139241311

Table of contents

Introduction; 1. Place, identity, and the shifting forms of cultivated speech: a geography of marginality; 2. Towering in rage and cowering in fear: emotion, self, and verbal expression in Sumba; 3. Changing forms of political expression: the role of ideologies of audience completeness; 4. Ideologies of personal naming and language shift; 5. From miracles to classrooms: changing forms of erasure in the learning of ritual speech; 6. Conclusions.
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Review quote

'Neatly orchestrating his analysis with admirable concision and lucidity, Kuipers has composed an insightful study that is thoroughly accessible to any reader interested in the shifting nexus between language and power.' Benjamin G. Zimmer, The Times Literary Supplement
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