Other Indonesians: Nationalism in an Unnative Language

Other Indonesians: Nationalism in an Unnative Language

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Author/Contributor(s): Errington, Joseph
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Date: 09/09/2022
Binding: Paperback
Condition: NEW
In 1928, members of a young subaltern Indonesian elite pirated the language of the Dutch empire, bringing the Indonesian language into being along with its nation. Today, Indonesian is the language of two hundred and forty million citizens but is the native language of no one.

Through rich analysis focused on the interplay of language varieties in two remote Indonesian provinces, Other Indonesians describes the unique language dynamic which has enabled the development of modern, democratic Indonesia. Complicating binaries that pit low against high Indonesian, or standard against mixed, J. Joseph Errington argues that it is precisely the un-ethnic, non-territorial quality of Indonesian that enables its speakers to express themselves as members of a national community. This detailed account locates Indonesian not only within the institutions which give it distinctive value in the nation, but also in the biographies of its young, educated speakers. With a nuanced understanding of national identity, this book shows how careful analysis of Indonesia can provide insight into broader dynamics of postcolonial nationalism in a globalizing world.