NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ790264
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 17
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1367-0050
Literacy in English and the Transformation of Self and Society in Post-Soeharto Indonesia
Lamb, Martin; Coleman, Hywel
International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, v11 n2 p189-205 2008
Among several hundred indigenous languages, Bahasa Indonesia gained pre-eminence as the national language of Indonesia during the country's first 50 years of independence. The fall of Soeharto in 1998 and the subsequent devolution of power to the regions might have been expected to lead to a resurgence in use of local languages but instead it appears to be English which is filling the ecological spaces. Propagated by government, demanded by employers, broadcast by the media, imposed by schools and encouraged by parents, the language not surprisingly occupies an important space in the developing mindset of many young Indonesians, going far beyond its actual practical value in daily life. Drawing on two empirical studies in Sumatra, one a large-scale evaluation of educational provision, the other a case study of English learning at school, the paper shows how the degree of investment which young Indonesians make in the language is not solely a matter of personal agency but is constrained by inequalities in the distribution of cultural, social and economic capital. Unless radical curriculum changes are introduced, the spread of English may in the long-term only serve to deepen these inequalities.
Multilingual Matters. Frankfurt Lodge, Clevedon Hall, Victoria Road, Clevedon, BS21 7HH, UK. Tel: +44-1275-876519; Fax: +44-1275-871673; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Indonesia