The Making of Language: Developmentalism in Indonesia

1990_50_Sept_PRISMA The Making of Language-c

“Development was not only unknown and unspoken of in the pre-colonial communities of what is now Indonesia. It was simply unthinkable. So was the idea of ‘language.’ In fact, the introduction of the two concepts and the practices to which they refer were inseparable. Once these communities constituted a nation, the work of ‘Developing the nation’ has been persistently accompanied by the task of ‘Developing the national language’.”

“Significantly, Javanese has one verb, (ng)gawe, to refer to two opposite notions in English or Bahasa Indonesia: ‘to produce’, membuat, and ‘to consume’, memakai. But even to say that (ng)gawe is both ‘to produce and consume’ is inappropriate. The expression nduwe gawe, ‘to have a gawe,’ does not simply refer to some physical behaviour, but to a religious ritual and festivity.”

Heryanto, Ariel (1990) “The Making of Language: Developmentalism in Indonesia”, Prisma; The Indonesian Indicator, 50: 40-53.

keywords: bahasa, developmentalism, Indonesia, Javanese, language, Malay, Prisma, vernacular

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