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Project Members

  • David Gil 
  • Uri Tadmor
  • Peter Cole (University of Delaware)
  • Gabriella Hermon (University of Delaware)
  • Bambang Kaswanti (Universitas Katolik Atma Jaya)

Language Contact in Indonesia

Nearly 800 languages are spoken in Indonesia, in addition to Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia), the national language. The great majority of Indonesians are therefore proficient in at least two languages, their local home language and Indonesian. This makes Indonesia an ideal location in which to study language contact.

In cases where the local language is a variety of Malay/Indonesian, this local variety coexists in diglossia with forms of standard Indonesian. Stable situations of partial or full societal bilingualism, often with a variety of Malay/Indonesians but also among other languages, have existed in many areas for centuries, perhaps millennia. 

Our Language Contact project studied languages and dialects spoken throughout Indonesia, which exhibit salient language contact phenomena. These phenomena may be the result of various processes such as substratum influence (interference through shift); superstratum influence, cultural borrowing, and other types of borrowing; and contact languages which are the results of pidginization and creolization. Priority was given to varieties of Malay/Indonesian, or languages which have been strongly influenced by Malay/Indonesian. Languages/dialects studied:

  • Semarangan
  • Ketapang Malay
  • Cina Benteng Malay
  • Sarang Lang
  • Makassarese Malay
  • Kualan and Samandang
  • Bandung Indonesian