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Jakarta Post

The Indonesian language at 83: Looking back to look forward

  • Setiono Sugiharto

Jakarta   /   Sat, October 29 2011   /  12:30 pm

The tremendous speed of the modernization of the Indonesian language, especially its lexicon, cannot be separated from the exhaustive work of past Indonesian scholars from two radically different camps: the conservatives and the modernists.

The conservatives’ central figure was the late Anton M. Moeliono, who contributed significantly to the modernization of the Indonesian lexicon. In an attempt to seek Indonesian counterparts to foreign terminology that dominated almost all domains, Moeliono, known as the guardian of the Indonesian language, was consistent in resorting either to the Malay language or indigenous Indonesian languages for reference.

He strongly believed that using Indonesian and its indigenous languages was one of the most effective ways to safeguard it from outside threats, such that Indonesian language users could take pride in their national language.