Residents obliged to speak Javanese to preserve culture
Residents of Central Java will be obliged to spend at least one day a week speaking Javanese in official business.
The regulation was announced following approval by the provincial legislative council of bylaw No. 17/2012 on Javanese language, literature and script. The bylaw will become effective next year.
Provincial councilor Muhammad Zain said that the obligation to speak Javanese one a day a week was a way of preserving the language.
“Among other things, the bylaw stipulates the use of Javanese as the language of communication within both government and private institutions,” Zain said in Semarang over the weekend.
The bylaw, which comprises 12 articles, stipulates that Javanese is a regional language spoken by the Javanese community and others, with several variants and dialects, as a means of expression, appreciation and communication.
As part of the language preservation campaign, the local government is required to promote the use of the language in the naming of public places and buildings.
The bylaw also recommends that teachers who perform well be offered scholarships in the hope of encouraging improved teaching standards.
“We are still familiarizing people with the bylaw. The obligation to speak Javanese one day a week will be implemented by 2013,” Zain said.
However, the bylaw does not stipulate clearly how the obligation to speak Javanese will actually be implemented, nor does it list sanctions for violators.
“Technical matters will be further regulated in a gubernatorial decree that will explain the implementation of the bylaw in more detail,” Zain said.
He added that preserving Javanese culture and language was important because of their great heritage.
The council, he said, was concerned that globalization and popular culture would lead to the disappearance of Javanese culture. “There has been a tendency for many Javanese people not to use Javanese in their daily lives,” Zain said.
Chairman of Semarang State University’s (Unnes) School of Javanese Language and Literature, Yusro Edy Nugroho, said the implementation of the bylaw was an import step in preserving the historic language.
He also underlined the need to improve the competence of Javanese teachers to instill a passion for Javanese among their students.
“Hopefully the bylaw’s scholarship program will improve teachers’ competence,” he said.
— JP/Ainur Rohmah
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