SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Anwar, Khaidir (1976) Indonesian: Problems of development and use of a national language. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

PDF - Submitted Version
Download (21MB) | Preview


In this thesis we deal with the problems involved in the adoption of Malay as the language of national unity in Indonesia and its later development and use as the official state language of the Republic. In order to tackle the issues in a socio-linguistic perspective, we also undertake a brief survey of the study of language in general with a special, emphasis on discussions of the problems of language in society. Indonesian is not the mother tongue of the great majority of the population. As a matter of fact, the number of those who speak it as their native language is very small. However, the nationalist elite groups took drastic and revolutionary action to impose it on the entire Indonesian people. Although Malay had been in use as a lingua franca, especially in nationalist circles, it was the Japanese Military Government during the occupation period that decreed its wider employment and functions as a medium of official communication. Since Independence the language has been used as a medium of instruction not only in schools but also at the universities. The adoption of Indonesian as the sole official state language is characterised by apparent absence of linguistic conflicts, but language planners have been confronted with great problems. The relationship between Indonesian and the many regional languages has been clearly defined by government regulations. However, problems relating to this official arrangement are complicated and have not yet been solved. We have discussed here some aspects of the interaction of language, politics, religion, and ethnic affiliations. A great number of extra-linguistic factors have been instrumental in transforming linguistic situations in the archipelago. The historic adoption of Malay as the language of unity has had far-reaching implications.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:11

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item