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Accepted Paper:

Long-distance interaction and language survival in Eastern Indonesia  
Timo Kaartinen (University of Helsinki)

Paper short abstract:

Through an exploration of conflicting strategies of linguistic survival among an Eastern Indonesian diaspora, this paper seeks to reveal how a former history of migration provides a framework for interpreting present-day mobility.

Paper long abstract:

After the Dutch colonization of the Banda Islands in 1621, community of seafaring Muslims left Banda and resettled in several parts of the Eastern Indonesian archipelago, preserving their language and oral traditions in two villages in the remote Kei Islands. These villages maintained trade contacts to places outside Kei, and from the 1950s onwards their inhabitants have pursued circular labor migration and education in cities around Indonesia. Throughout this history of migration, the Bandanese have maintained a firm boundary between their own and other local languages, even as their aesthetics of powerful speech projects Bandanese and the regional or national lingua franca as parallel domains of meaning and authority. Drawing from fieldwork on village-based verbal arts and on urban efforts at language revitalization, I describe the continuing effect of this linguistic ideology on cultural strategies and revitalization practices among present-day Bandanese. In urban and national settings, code switching and 'glossing backward' from Indonesian risk erasing Bandanese as a distinct domain of meaning, but speakers persist in maintaining grammatical and phonetic differences between Bandanese and the national language of Indonesian. By insisting on Bandanese as a distinct linguistic form, the Bandanese continue to project a linguistic otherness to their immediate neighbors, including those relatives who fail to acquire fluency in the language. While this impairs the transmission of the language from parents to children within the same locality, interest and competence in Bandanese continues to be fueled by long-distance interactions that involve family visits, large-scale congregations, child-borrowing, and smartphone communication.

Panel P061
Linguistic agency and responsibility in (im-)mobility
  Session 1 Friday 17 August, 2018, -