Polyglossia - Binus Repository


Matakuliah : G0362/Sociolingustics

Tahun : 2007

Language Choice in a Community

Pertemuan 2

Learning Outcomes

Pada akhir pertemuan ini, diharapkan mahasiswa akan mampu :

• Memberi contoh tentang ‘alih kode’ (code switching) dan ‘campur kode’ (code mixing)

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Outline Materi

• Varietas dan Kode

• Diglossia dan Polyglossia

• Alih Kode dan Campur Kode

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Choosing your variety/code

• The social factors and dimensions mentioned in chapter one determine the language variety you choose

• The different varieties someone can use is called

‘linguistic repertoire’

• e.g.: someone whose parents are Javanese speak

Javanese with the parents, speak formal

Indonesian/English with the lecturers, and informal

Indonesian with friends.

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Domains of Language Use

• Domains, the term popularized by Joshua Fishman, are typical interactions in a speech community.

• E.g. typical family interaction involves

– Family members as participants

– Setting is at home

– Typical topics: family activities

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• (di= two; glossia, from ‘glossos’=language)

• In a community where two varieties/codes are used there can be separate domains where these languages are used. Usually one code is considered to be more formal and desirable ( High variety), whereas the other is considered informal or less desirable ( L variety).

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The use of H or L language

• In a diglossic situation usually the language used in

– Newspapers  high

– Medium of instruction at schools  high

– Official documents  high

– Radio/TV news  high

– Conversations between friends  low

– Bargaining at the market  low

– Weddings  high

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• ‘Poly’ means many.

• This is a situation where more than two languages are used in a community.

• Example of a polyglossic country is Singapore , where one can speak a dialect of Chinese to her/his parents or grandparents, speak English with friends at school, speak Mandarin with the shopkeeper at the market.

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• Code-Switch is where someone uses one language at one moment and then switch to another language in complete sentences.

• The reasons for code-switch:

– Change of Social Situation

– Change of topic

– Affective

– Metaphorical

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Change of social situation

• This reason of switching includes:

– The change of participants , e.g. when you speak to your friends, suddenly your boss arrives. So you change your code, from informal to formal.

– To show solidarity : signifying group membership and shared identity. For example, Javanese often use Javanese to each other to discuss their work in the office.

– To show different social status e.g. Someone purposely switch to use English to show that he/she is more educated than the hearers.

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Change of Topic


A and B are at school,

A: Eh, sudah buat PR belon?

B: Udah, tapi gue nggak ngerti nih …What is the difference between finite and non-finite verbs?

Other examples include:

– Quoting other people

– Quoting a proverb or a saying in another language

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Someone can change code because they feel happy or sad. The interlocutors do not need to understand what is being said, but from their expression or intonation they can get the meaning.

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• Metaphorical Switching

– switching happens when the speaker wants to impress people, to assert his/her position before the interlocutors.

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• Code-mix is a situation where someone inserts phrases or words in another language.

– For example:

• ‘Sepatunya enggak matching .’

• ‘Itu artinya lu nggak care…’

• ‘ Nilai ibu belum di posting, komputernya lagi hang!

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• The language you use depends on the four factors and dimensions mentioned in meeting 1.

• Linguistic Repertoire is the collection of languages that someone has and can use.

• In some countries there are High and Low variety which uses do not overlap (Diglossia)

• Polyglossia is when there are more than two codes available in that community.

• Code-mix or code-switch between languages are motivated by several reasons.3

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