Susanto, Djoko (2007). CODESWITCHING IN INDONESIAN ISLAMIC RELIGIOUS DISCOURSE: A SOCIOLINGUISTIC PERSPECTIVE PhD Thesis, School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies , University of Queensland.

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Author Susanto, Djoko
School, Centre or Institute School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies
Institution University of Queensland
Publication date 2007
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr Helen Creese
Abstract/Summary This study examines the reasons for codeswitching among Indonesian, Javanese and Arabic in religious meetings, called musyawarah, held by the members of an Indonesian Islamic Da’wah Association (IIDA) in Malang, East Java, Indonesia. The study is based on the collection and analysis of 13 hours of recording of naturally occurring conversational data, which reflect issues central to the social and religious life of this community. In this context, codeswitching is examined to understand why it occurs, and what it tells us about the social and linguistic interactions occurring in this community. As a basis for understanding codeswitching, this study draws on sociolinguistic perspectives to analyse the data, including the Situational and Metaphorical approaches (Blom & Gumperz, 1972), the Markedness Model (Myers-Scotton, 1993), and Politeness Theory (Brown & Levinson, 1987). To collect the data for the present study, observations, questionnaires and interviews were employed. This study finds that the reasons for codeswitching are influenced by situational and metaphorical factors. From the situational point of view, the reasons for codeswitching are influenced by such unmarked factors as participant, setting and topic. Among these factors, the participant plays the most important role influencing codeswitching to Javanese madya ‘mid level’ and krama ‘high level’. Despite the fact that the participants come from a wide range of social backgrounds, and vary by age, level of education, wealth, occupation and status in society, within the IIDA community, however, the role of the participants is constrained only by particular social positions. Participants of higher social status, such as an imam, although he may be relatively young, will receive respectful treatment from the participants. This imam is respected not simply because of his age, but also because of his hierarchical position, and thus, requires the participants to use a polite language to respect the imam. This is also made possible by the fact that Javanese speakers consider empan ‘material or topic’, papan ‘setting’ and adepan ‘interlocutor’ as important Javanese norms before initiating a conversation. These factors affect whether a certain topic should be addressed to a certain person in a particular setting. In the present study, the decision to use a particular language or variety is determined not only by considering what language is used to whom, how and where, but also by taking into consideration for what aim. Thus, the reason for using Javanese krama (what language) to a younger imam (to whom), for example, is influenced not only by the fact that the participant is speaking to an imam, but more importantly it is also driven by the participant’s understanding that using refined language to an imam will accrue religious merit. From the metaphorical point of view, the participants’ perception of switching to Javanese is to maintain individual relationships, such as (1) to express politeness, (2) to be more intimate, and (3) to show solidarity. Indonesian, however, is used when discussing topics pertaining to formality, such as a meeting. From the metaphorical perspective, Indonesian is used because the participants feel more confident and fluent than in Javanese krama or Arabic. In this case, Indonesian serves as an avoidance strategy, that is, to avoid using the Javanese honorifics due to speaker’s insufficient Javanese ability. Indonesian is also used to maintain the personal distance from other participants, to feel more confident, and to create equality and neutrality. The participants admit that they use Arabic because they (1) need to convince the audience of the importance of their utterance, (2) need to emphasise what they say, (3) want to help others understand religious teachings, (4) cannot find a term which is equivalent in another language, (5) want to remind the audience that the musyawarah is a place of religious activities, and (6) more importantly they believe that the use of some Arabic expressions bring religious blessings. Overall, this finding confirms the hypothesis that codeswitching is used to express the participants’ unique combined worldview of the Islamic norms and Javanese cultures.

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Created: Fri, 21 Nov 2008, 16:21:57 EST