Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation in the world. Of its large population, the majority speak Indonesian, making it one of the most widely spoken languages in the world with 43 million native speakers and 156 million L2 speakers. Malay is spoken in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, East Timor, Singapore, parts of Thailand and southern Philippines. Indonesia regulates its own normative variety of Malay, while Malaysia and Singapore use the same standard.
Indonesian (bahasa Indonesia [baˈhasa indoˈnesia]) is the official language of Indonesia. It is a standardized register of Malay, an Austronesian language that has been used as a lingua franca in the multilingual Indonesian archipelago for centuries. Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation in the world. Of its large population, the majority speak Indonesian, making it one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.
Most Indonesians, aside from speaking the national language, are fluent in at least one of the more than 700 indigenous local languages; examples include Javanese, Sundanese and Balinese, which are commonly used at home and within the local community. However, most formal education, and nearly all national mass media, governance, administration, judiciary, and other forms of communication, are conducted in Indonesian.
The Indonesian name for the language (bahasa Indonesia) is also occasionally found in English and other languages.
When the Dutch East India Company (VOC) first arrived in the archipelago, the Malay language was a significant trading and political language due to the influence of Malaccan Sultanate and later the Portuguese. However, the language had never been dominant among the population of the Indonesian archipelago as it was limited to mercantile activity. The VOC adopted the Malay language as the administrative language of their trading outpost in the east. Following the bankruptcy of the VOC, the Batavian Republic took control of the colony in 1799 and it was only then that education in and promotion of Dutch began in the colony. Even then, Dutch administrators were remarkably reluctant to promote the use of Dutch compared to other colonial regimes. Dutch thus remained the language of a small elite: in 1940, only 2% of the total population could speak Dutch. Nevertheless, it did have a significant influence on the development of Malay in the colony: during the era of colonization the language that would be standardized as Indonesian absorbed a large amount of Dutch vocabulary in the form of loanwords.
Birth of the Indonesian language.
Volksraad session held in July 1938 in Jakarta, where Indonesian was formally used for the first time by Jahja Datoek Kajo.
The nationalist movement that ultimately brought Indonesian to its national language status rejected Dutch from the outset. However, the rapid disappearance of Dutch was a very unusual case compared with other colonized countries, where the colonial language generally has continued to function as the language of politics, bureaucracy, education, technology, and other important areas for a significant time after independence. Soenjono Dardjowidjojo even goes so far as to say that "Indonesian is perhaps the only language that has achieved the status of a national language in its true sense" since it truly dominates in all spheres of Indonesian society. The ease with which Indonesia eliminated the language of its former colonial power can perhaps be explained as much by Dutch policy as by Indonesian nationalism, though. In marked contrast to the French, Spanish and Portuguese, who pursued an assimilation colonial policy, or even the British, the Dutch did not attempt to spread their language among the indigenous population. In fact, they consciously prevented the language from being spread by refusing to provide education, especially in Dutch, to the native Indonesians so they would not come to see themselves as equals. Moreover, the Dutch wished to prevent the Indonesians from elevating their perceived social status by taking on elements of Dutch culture. Thus, until the 1930s, they maintained a minimalist regime and allowed Malay to spread quickly throughout the archipelago.
Dutch dominance at that time covered nearly all aspects, with official forums requiring the use of Dutch, although since the Youth Congress (1928) the use of Indonesian as the national language was agreed on as one of the tools in the pro-independence struggle. As of it, Mohammad Hoesni Thamrin inveighed actions underestimating Indonesian. After some criticism and protests, the use of Indonesian was allowed since the Volksraad sessions held in July 1938. By the time they tried to counter the spread of Malay by teaching Dutch to the natives, it was too late, and in 1942, the Japanese conquered Indonesia and outlawed the use of the Dutch language. Three years later, the Indonesians themselves formally abolished the language and established Bahasa Indonesia as the national language of the new nation.
Adoption as national language
The Pledge was the result of second Youth Pledge held in Batavia in October 1928. On the last pledge, there was an affirmation of Indonesian language as a unifying language throughout the archipelago.
The adoption of Indonesian as the country's national language was in contrast to most other post-colonial states, as neither the language with the most native speakers (in this case, Javanese) nor the language of the former European colonial power (in this case, Dutch) was to be adopted, but rather a local language with many fewer native speakers than the most widely spoken local language (nevertheless, Malay was the second most widely spoken language in the colony after Javanese, and had many Language 2 speakers using it for trade, administration, and education).
In 1945 when Indonesia declared its independence, Indonesian was formally declared the national language, although then it was the native language of only about 5 per cent of the population, whereas Javanese and Sundanese were the mother tongues of 42–48 percent and 15 percent respectively.[ It was a combination of nationalistic, political, and practical concerns that ultimately led to the successful adoption of Indonesian as a national language. In 1945, Javanese was easily the most prominent language in Indonesia. It was the native language of nearly half the population, the primary language of politics and economics, and the language of courtly, religious, and literary tradition. [ What it lacked, however, was the ability to unite the diverse Indonesian population as a whole. With thousands of islands and hundreds of different languages, the newly independent country of Indonesia had to find a national language that could realistically be spoken by the majority of the population and that would not divide the nation by favoring one ethnic group, namely the Javanese, over the others. In 1945, Indonesian was already in widespread use; in fact, it had been for roughly a thousand years. Over that long period of time, Malay, which would later become standardized as Indonesian, was the primary language of commerce and travel. In addition, it was the language used for the propagation of Islam in the 13th to 17th centuries, as well as the language of instruction used by Portuguese and Dutch missionaries attempting to convert the indigenous people to Christianity. The combination of all of these factors meant that the language was already known to some degree by most of the population, and it could be more easily adopted as the national language than perhaps any other. Moreover, it was the language of the sultanate of Brunei and of the future Malaysia, on which some Indonesian nationalists had claims (see Greater Indonesia).
Over the first 53 years of Indonesian independence, the country's first two presidents, Sukarno and Suharto constantly nurtured the sense of national unity embodied by Indonesian, and the language remains an important component of Indonesian identity today. Through a language planning program that made Indonesian the language of politics, education, and nation-building in general, Indonesia became one of the few success stories of an indigenous language effectively overtaking that of a country's colonizers to become the de jure and de facto official language.[ It is a unique and somewhat unusual story, especially considering the historical dominance of Javanese; a diverse collection of peoples were able to compromise to hold the nation together. Today, Indonesian continues to function as the language of national identity as the Congress of Indonesian Youth envisioned, and it also serves as the language of education, literacy, modernization, and social mobility. Despite still being a second language to most Indonesian citizens, it is unquestionably the language of the Indonesian nation as a whole, as it has had unrivaled success as a factor in nation-building and the strengthening of Indonesian identity.
Filipinos consider Malays as being the natives of the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Consequently, Filipinos consider themselves Malay when in reality, they are referring to the Malay Race. José Rizal, the Philippines' most regarded national hero is often called the "Pride of the Malay Race".
Do Indonesians understand the Malay language?
Indonesian is like Spanish, what is written is exactly like what its spoken mostly with flat tone, Malaysian Malay is like British English, what is written is not what is spoken, plus with up and down tone, so it is confusing for a Javanese or a Sundanese, who never learns Malaysian accent. For example:
Written Indonesian or Malay :
____________________Saya duduk bersama adik tapi Ada rambut yang gugur
Spoken indonesian : Saya duduk bersama adik tapi Ada rambut yang gugur (flat tone)
Spoken Malaysian : Saye dudok besame adek tapi Ade rambot yang gugo (with up and down tones)
Most Javanese would find it hard to understand spoken Malaysian Malay, despite they would understand it, if it is being written. This due to difference in dialect.
Malay-Indonesian Language Learning Pack