TALK: Language Has a Soul: Unpacking the Meanings and Interpretations of Indonesian Language Discourse in the Case of Singkawang, Indonesia

Todd Sandel (Communication, University of Macau)
Friday, October 23, 2015 / 1:30 PM
Education 1205

Singkawang, Indonesia, is a multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic, and multi-religious community comprised of a number of identifiable groups including: Hakka Chinese, Melayu, Dayak, and Madura. The largest is Chinese, comprising 66 percent of the population. While relations among the different groups have been mostly peaceful, at times tensions do emerge. For instance, on May 28, 2010, an Islamic group protested a “dragon” that was built and displayed on a city street as a symbol of the town’s Chinese culture and traditions. Private tensions may also emerge, impacted by divergent everyday linguistic practices among the different ethnic groups. For this talk I examine data collected during three field trips to Singkawang in 2013-2015. These come from both naturally occurring talk and in-depth interviews. These data show how Bahasa Indonesian differs when spoken by Chinese versus non-Chinese persons. It also explores the cultural meanings and perceptions of such talk.

Todd L. Sandel’s research interests include language and social interaction, intercultural communication, cross border marriage and families, and Taiwanese folk theories, and has been published in Language in Society, Research on Language in Social Interaction, and the Journal of Intercultural Communication Research.

Sponsored by  the IHC’s LISO RFG and The Mellichamp Language & Globalization Speaker Series.

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