Language management and minority language maintenance in (eastern) Indonesia: strategic issues

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    This paper discusses strategic issues in language 'management' (Spolsky 2009; Jennudd and Neustupný 1987) and its complexity in relation to the maintenance of minority languages in contemporary Indonesia. Within Indonesia it is argued that language can be managed and that it should be managed as part of a national language policy framework (among other means). This is especially pertinent in the case of threatened minority languages. The discussion focuses on how categorizing an issue as either a 'threat' or an 'opportunity' has affected the priorities and the motivations in strategic decisions and implementations of language policies in Indonesia. These labels have symbolic and instrumental values, and both can be potentially exploited to achieve positive outcomes for language survival. However, the complexity and uncertainty of the problems in dealing with minority languages and their speech communities call for a sophisticated interdisciplinary model of language management. The problems will be illustrated using cases from (eastern) Indonesia, showing how Categorization (Cognitive) Theory and Organisational Theory (Rosch 1978; Rosch and Mervis 1975; Dutton & Jackson 1981) are useful for conceptualizing strategic issues by decision makers at different levels - individuals, families, traditional organizations (adat), and government institutions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)74-105
    JournalLanguage Documentation and Conservation
    Issue number2013
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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