Indonesia has around 718 regional languages, and some languages are classified as threatened
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The regional language revitalization program focusing on 38 regional languages in the country is aimed at preventing language death, Minister of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology Nadiem Anwar Makarim stated.

"Indonesia has around 718 regional languages, and some languages are classified as threatened. The main reason behind this is that the native speaker no longer uses the language nor does he or she teach it to the younger generation," Makarim noted during the regional language revitalization program launch event observed in Jakarta on Tuesday.

One strategy to revitalize a regional language is to urge local authorities to encourage primary and secondary schools to teach regional languages, he remarked.

The minister noted that in regions where a regional language is spoken by a majority of its residents, such as in West Java, Banten, Central Java, Yogyakarta, East Java, and Bali, regional authorities are incentivised to make teaching regional languages at school an obligation.

"For regions without a dominant regional language, the decision is left to the respective regional authority. Hence, schools have the final say on the decision to teach a regional language," Makarim noted.

The regional language revitalization program will encourage schools to promote regional languages by boosting the students' creativity, he stated.

The ministry has conceived three models of the language revitalization program, Makarim remarked while adding that the first model will maintain regional language teaching in schools, as the language is considered to be thriving in the community.

The second model, reserved for regional languages considered vulnerable despite the significant number of native speakers remaining, would involve teaching regional languages in schools and communities, he remarked.

The third model, reserved for threatened languages, with a significant decline in its utilization among members of society, would have speaker communities, families, regional forums, and religious institutions collaborating in a popular campaign to learn the language, the minister explained.

"Why do we include regional languages considered safe in the revitalization program? It is because we believe that languages would not be safe forever due to the decrease in the number of native speakers. Hence, this year, we target to cover 38 regional languages in the revitalization program in a bid to increase the number of language speakers," Makarim stated.

Meanwhile, South Sulawesi Acting Governor Andi Sudirman Sulaiman is committed to enacting a governor rule that designates regional languages as a mandatory subject in primary and secondary schools.

Moreover, West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil also reiterated the province's commitment to collaborate in revitalizing regional languages that enrich the province's culture.

Related news: Ministry launches Local Language Revitalization Program
Related news: Balinese Script and Literature Month draws 260 participants
Related news: Language office translates 30 West Java literature works in 2021

Translator: Indriani, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Sri Haryati
Copyright © ANTARA 2022