Language & Culture

When I practice my IELTS in reading, I found an interesting article about language. It said that many languages extinct because not many youth generation used its, and it happened in many region. More interesting when it said if one community changes their language it will changes their community too. It made me think, how come language have significantly impact to change of culture too?

I just think about many metropolis Indonesian youth who more proud speak and write in English. Even when I saw Indonesian novel, half of the book contain English conversation, even it told about Indonesian people and also consume by them. I’m afraid that it will change our culture too?

I can’t answer my own question but my experiences bring me to believe that language exactly reflect their community! When I do research for my undergraduate thesis, I faced difficulty in translated ‘mourning’ ‘grief’ and ‘bereavement’. That three words have different meaning but Indonesia just have ‘kedukaan’ to explain those three words. English also have different word related to ‘dead’, but in Indonesia we just know about ‘mati/meninggal’. Based on my research, I understand it happen because we have different culture. In Indonesia, it taboo when you speak death in clearly action, we must to show silent mourning, and even it better when we are not cry and sincere with that *just in some culture in Indonesia, we can show our expression of grief clearly, but almost culture didn’t*.

Another example is we just have one word for woman who legally separated with her husband and woman who his husband was dead, it is ‘janda’. But differently, in English, they separated that word, ‘divorced’ for woman who legally separated with her husband and ‘widower’ for woman who his husband was dead. It represented in community behavior. ‘Janda’ have negative label, even when she got that status because her husband was dead. It different in any country that use English, they have different treatment for ‘divorced’ and ‘widower’. The other way, Indonesia have rich vocabulary in other aspect, like in farmer field, *but I am not expert to explain the meaning for any term*, it proof that Indonesia are agriculture country.

So, I thought language can reflect their community, but I don’t know new language we used that replace old language will change old culture too. I don’t want it happened because I love Indonesian culture. I thought now we can use Indonesia and English in appropriate place and time. The world is shrink, so we must to practice English because it international language, to communicate with other people from other nation. But we must to use Indonesian language in daily life. Don’t you think?


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