Preference for English and Young Indonesians’ Language Identity

Author: Anita Lie, Ignatius Harjanto (Widya Mandala Catholic University)
Speaker: Anita Lie, Ignatius Harjanto
Topic: Language contact and change
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2019 General Session


English has been regarded as the key to better education, more prospective career opportunities, and more enriching life experiences.  Therefore, the use of English among teenagers has been more widespread in Indonesia.  Furthermore, preference for Western popular cultures have been so massive among Indonesian secondary school students in urban areas that the increasing use of English might diminish their Indonesian language use and identity.  This study aims to investigate how English learning affects young urban Indonesians’ language identity.  Specifically, this research looks into the correlation between English learning and use at home, school, and social community and the young urban Indonesians’ language identity.  Using a mixed-methods design, this study used a survey, Focus Group Discussions, and interviews. Through cooperation with several high schools in Surabaya, Malang, Semarang, and Jakarta, an online questionnaire was administered to 1400 students aged 15-18 years old.  The questionnaire includes multiple choice items and an essay exploring their language use and the effects of home, school, and community on young Indonesians’ language identity.  Results from the questionnaire were stratified by family income, parents’ education level, and ethnicity.  Based on this stratification, random sampling from each stratified group in each school was conducted to obtain selected participants for FGD/interview.  Findings reveal that of the three variables, school seems to have more positive correlations than home and community with students’ language identity.

Keywords: language preference, language identity, young urban adolescents, Indonesia