Youth, Social Media and Indigenous Language Revitalization

Insights from Bandar Lampung, Indonesia

Kristian Adi Putra, University of Arizona

Abstract

Scholars have highlighted the role and the contribution of youth in Indigenous language revitalization efforts (McCarty and Wyman, 2009; Kral, 2012; Wyman, 2012; Wyman, et.al, 2014), as well as the need to hear their voices and understand their experiences and cultural practices for the formulation of socioculturally sustaining language and educational policies (McCarty, 2010; Lee and Carecer, 2010; Davis and Phyak, 2015). The role of Indigenous youth becomes central, as they are the ones who will determine the future of their Indigenous language; their loyalty and positive ideology toward their Indigenous language, culture, and identity will help contribute to the survival of their endangered language. As digital technology advances and people have better access and literacy to use it, recent studies, such as (Kral, 2010; 2011; 2012; Jones, et.al, 2013; Cru, 2015), have reported how Indigenous youth have used social media to promote the use of their Indigenous language among themselves and everyone from their local community, shared videos about their culture and community that they produced with translated subtitles in dominant language, and connected with their global networks outside of their communities, which are all promising for Indigenous language efforts.

In this study, I sought to investigate (1) how four multiethnic youth in Bandar Lampung, a multilingual urban area in the Province of Lampung, Indonesia, who studied Lampung as a subject at school, used Lampung in their social media, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Path, (2) factors that affected their decision to use or avoid Lampung in their social media, (3) their perspectives about Lampung language revitalization efforts, and (4) how they looked at social media as a potential space for them to support such effort. The result of the study shows how although their posts in social media were in majority in Indonesian and English, they had also posted in their social media in Lampung and code-switched in all the languages they knew. All participants saw social media as a potential pedagogical resource and (formal and informal) space to promote the use of Lampung, but they were aware of how social networks that did not speak the language restricted them to socialize in Lampung more often. For all participants, Lampung is a language to better connect with local community, an identity that they live in, and a Lampung ethnic. All participants highly valued multilingual ability (Indigenous language, Indonesian, and English) as a way to connect locally, nationally, and globally, and commented positively on how language revitalization could be better accomplished with technology and collaboration. The theoretical and pedagogical implications of the study will be discussed further during the presentation.

Keywords: Youth, social media, language revitalization, multilingualism

References

Cru, J. (2015). Language revitalisation from the ground up: promoting Yucatec Maya on Facebook. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 36(3), 284-296.
Davis, K. A., & Phyak, P. (2015). In the face of neoliberal adversity: Engaging language education policy and practices. L2 Journal, 7(3).
McCarty, T. L., & Wyman, L. T. (2009). Indigenous youth and bilingualism—theory, research, praxis. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 8(5), 279-290.
Jones, R. J., Cunliffe, D., & Honeycutt, Z. R. (2013). Twitter and the Welsh language. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 34(7), 653-671.
Kral, I. (2010). Plugged in: Remote Australian Indigenous youth and digital culture. Center for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University.
Kral, I. (2011). Youth media as cultural practice: Remote Indigenous youth speaking out loud. Australian Aboriginal Studies, (1), 4.
Kral, I. (2012). Text, Talk, and Technology. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
Lee, T. S., & Quijada Cerecer, P. D. (2010). (Re) claiming Native youth knowledge: Engaging in socio-culturally responsive teaching and relationships. Multicultural Perspectives, 12(4), 199-205.
McCarty, T. L. (2014). Negotiating sociolinguistic borderlands—Native youth language practices in space, time, and place. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 13(4), 254-267.
Wyman, L. T., McCarty, T. L., & Nicholas, S. E. (2013). Indigenous youth and multilingualism: Language identity, ideology, and practice in dynamic cultural worlds. New York: Routledge.
Wyman, L. T. (2012). Youth Culture, Language Endangerment and Linguistic Survivance. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Presenters
Kristian Adi Putra

Ph.D. Student, Second Language Acquisition and Teaching,
The University of Arizona

kristianadiputra@email.arizona.edu

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