Worldwide Locations

Worldwide Locations

Bahasa Indonesian

Indonesian students (sektordua/flickr)

Indonesian students (sektordua/flickr)

Indonesian is a form of Malay, spoken in Indonesia. The term “Indonesian” is political rather than linguistic, as Indonesian Malay (called Bahasa Indonesia in Indonesia) is virtually identical with Bahasa Melayu, another variety of Malay, as spoken in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. The term “Indonesian” was adopted in the beginning of the 20th century, as Indonesian became the national language of Indonesia.

There are about 35,000,000 first language speakers of Indonesian, and about over 150,000,000 second language speakers. Outside Indonesia, Indonesian is spoken in the Netherlands, Phillipines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the US. (Source: http://www.lmp.ucla.edu/Profile.aspx?LangID=89&menu=004)

Bahasa Indonesian has been listed as a critical language by the American State Department since 9/11/2001 because of our strategic business and security interests in the Muslim world. Indonesia is the most populous nation of Southeast Asia (the fourth largest population in the world) and the most populous Muslim majority nation in the world. It is a resource and mineral rich nation. The bulk of its exports go to Japan and America. The American state department sees Indonesian prosperity and security as central to maintaining security in Southeast Asia. We work closely with the Indonesian government to promote democracy, develop the resource rich nation and prevent terrorism in Southeast Asia.

In 2007 the United States exported $4,235 million to Indonesia. This amount has increased by 432% since 1985. In 2007 the United States has imported $14,301 million in goods from Indonesia, an increase of 213% since 1985.

According to the 2000 census there are 46,698 Indonesian speakers in the United States. In 2006, 301 higher education students were studying Indonesian. There are no measurable amount of Indonesian language students in grades K-12.

Linguistic affiliation

Indonesian belongs to the Austronesian language family. The Austronesian language family is one of the largest linguistic families of the world. According to the most widely accepted classification of the Austronesian languages, Indonesian belongs to the Western branch of the Malayo-Polynesian group of the Austronesian family. According to Ethnologue, Indonesian is classified in the following way: Indonesian < Local Malay < Malayan < Malaic < Sundic < Western < Malayo-Polynesian < Austronesian. Related languages include Javanese, Madurese, and Sundanese.

Language variation

The dialectal differences among the speakers of Indonesian are insignificant, although there are some lexical differences between the two varieties of Malay, spoken in Indonesia on the one hand and Malaysia on the other hand. Indonesian Malay has been influenced to some extent by Javanese. Standard Indonesian pronunciation is based on the language of Jakarta.

Role in society

Indonesian is the official language of Indonesia. The standard dialect of Indonesia is that of the capital, Jakarta (island of Java). The Jakartan dialect has been influenced to some extent by Javanese and Sundanese, other two major languages of Indonesia. There is an 88.5% literacy rate.

History

It is believed that the homeland of Malay was in Sumatra (western Indonesia), and proto-Malay people came there shortly before the beginning of our era. The earliest texts, written in an archaic form of Malay, date back to the 7th century AD. These early texts (stone inscriptions) were written in the ancient Pallavi script, which evolved out of southern varieties of Indian Brahmi script. They were created in the early stages of the Srivijaya empire, a powerful Buddhist state, and one of the most powerful states and main cultural centers of that time. Its capital was Palembang, one of the largest cities of that time. In the course of time Srivijaya declined, and was succeeded by other empires, the most extensive of which was the one established by the successors of prince Vijaya, with the capital Majapahit. This empire underwent a major crisis in the middle of the 15th century, and gradually disintegrated. In the 15th century Indonesia adopted Islamic faith, and has been predominantly Islamic until the present day.

During the epoch of Srivijaya and other empires, Indonesia was an important trade center, and Malay emerged as the main trade language of the region. In the course of time, under influence from the languages of traders of non-Indonesian origins, such as Arabic, Chinese, later also Western European (Portuguese and Dutch), this language underwent major changes, becoming essentially a pidgin language. The Malay spoken by traders, was generally called “bazaar Malay”. On the contrary, the Malay as spoken in the Indonesian court remained more or less unaltered. Court Malay is considered “classical Malay” and is the language in which the large corpus of medieval Malay literature was written.

The beginning of the 20th century marked the beginning of a new era for the Indonesian language. In 1928, the Indonesian Youth Congress took place in Jakarta, and in this Congress it was decided that Indonesia should have an official national language, which would thenceforth be called “Indonesian” (bahasa Indonesia). As the base for this language, classical Malay was selected. The pronunciation of Jakarta was chosen as the standard Indonesian pronunciation. (Source:
Language Materials Project http://www.lmp.ucla.edu/Profile.aspx?LangID=89&menu=004)

Number of speakers worldwide: 190,000,000

Number of speakers in the United States: 46,698
The United States 2000 Census does not detail the number of Bahasa Indonesian speakers in its public online documents. The Use Foundation estimates there are 46,698 based on their analysis of the 2000 U.S. census (www.usefoundation.org/foundation/research/lia/findings)

Number of language learners in the United States

Modern Language Association data show that college and university enrollments in Indonesian have increased by 33.8% between 2002 and 2006, from 225 to 301. (Source: Enrollments in Languages Other Than English in United States Institutions of Higher Education, Fall 2006 by Nelly Furman, David Goldberg, and Natalia Lusin http://www.mla.org/2006_flenrollmentsurvey)

FLAS Allotments for 2007:
There are 7 National Resource Centers and 7 FLAS INSTITUTIONS that have received FLAS funding for South East Asian languages in 2007. 99 FLAS Fellowships have been allotted for South East Asian languages at these institutions totaling a budget of $1,853,000. Bahasa Indonesian is a common South East Asian language that is offered at all FLAS INSTITUTIONS under the South East Asian Studies Programs. (Source: http://www.ed.gov/programs/iegpsflasf/awards.html)

According to a survey conducted by the American Council on Teaching Foreign Languages entitled, Foreign Studies Enrollment in Public Secondary Schools, Bahasa Indonesian does not have a enough language learners to be featured as an individual category but rather it is a part of the Less Commonly Taught languages category that they have titled “Other.” According to this category, 66,623 7-12 students are studying languages other than French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, SNS, African Languages, ASL, Arabic, Czech, Chinese, Cantonese, Greek, Haitian, Hebrew, Korean, Native American, Polish, Portuguese, or Vietnamese. This indicates that 1% of all 7-12 language students studied a language other than those listed in detail here. 71,948 K-6 students studied a language other than French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian or Spanish. Report available at: http://www.nvtc.gov/lotw/months/november/USschoollanguages.htm

According to the website of Less Commonly Taught Languages, 0 Primary and Secondary schools teach Bahasa Indonesian:
http://db.carla.umn.edu/lctl/FMPro

America’s business relationship with Indonesia

Bahasa Indonesian is the official language of Indonesia.
In 2007 the United States exported $4,235 million to Indonesia. This amount has increased by 432% since 1985. In 2007 the United States has imported $14,301 million in goods from Indonesia, an increase of 213% since 1985.

To provide comparison, America’s exports for this same period to the five nations with English as their national language was $356,436 million, which has increased by 513% since 1985. In 2007 the United States has imported $434,481 million in goods from these countries, an increase of 446%. (Source: http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/index.html)

National security measure relating to language

In response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the National Foreign Language Center (NFLC) convened in January 2002 with the leaders from the intelligence, defense, diplomatic, and education communities to identify the deficiencies in language resources and establish the critical need for language learning to stem the war on terrorism. Increasing language acquisition of critical languages has been one of the main approaches to bolstering security since 2001. The National Security Agency, the Pentagon, State Department and major intelligence units of the US government have cited Bahasa Indonesian as a critical language because of the central role it has played in geo-politics in the last quarter century. Indonesia is the most populous nation of Southeast Asia (the fourth largest population in the world) and the most populous Muslim majority nation in the world. It is a resource and mineral rich nation. The bulk of its exports go to Japan and America. The American state department sees Indonesian prosperity and security as central to maintaining security in Southeast Asia. We work closely with the Indonesian government to promote democracy, develop the resource rich nation and prevent terrorism in Southeast Asia.

Critical languages have been promoted by the National Security Language Initiative since 2002. Due to its status as a critical language there are many scholarships to study Bahasa Indonesian including Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) scholarships, National Security Education Program (NSEP) scholarships and the Fulbright Language Enhancement Award as well as government assistance to programs like the National Capital Language Resource Center and the American Counsel for Teaching Foreign Language as well as $24 million earmarked for the department of education’s Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) in order to promote the teaching and learning of Arabic and other critical languages at the K-12 level. The US President requested $114 million in the national budget to promote critical languages in the US education system.

NFLC advertises that knowledge of critical languages like Bahasa Indonesian provide career opportunities such as communications (foreign correspondent, reporter, translator), international finance (international banker, international consultant, political risk analyst), industry (manager of government relations for oil company, market analyst for export company), government (foreign service officer, development program officer, intelligence analyst, government relations specialist, translator or interpreter, linguist), law (contractual and corporate consultant), and academia (teaching and research positions).

Sources:

http://www.nflc.org/policy_and_strategy/language_and_national_security

http://www.nvtc.gov/lotw/months/november/criticalLanguages.html

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2006/58733.htm

http://jakarta.usembassy.gov/irc/us-indo-relations.html

http://www.cdi.org/terrorism/priority.cfm

Useful Websites:

http://www.govtilr.org/Web_LCTL/malay_indo.htm

http://www.cal.org/resources/discoverlanguages

http://nclrc.org/teaching_materials/materials_by_language