Volume 24, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139
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Of the Major Asian languages taught in Australia, Indonesian is the only one which exists in a diglossic situation, in which the language of everyday conversation is significantly different from the formal language. Indonesian language teaching in Australia concentrates largely on the ‘high’ form of the language; in most schools and universities the everyday variety is dealt with either superficially or not at all. As a result, most Australian learners develop no proficiency in this variety. Unlike the formal language, informal Indonesian is highly context-bound, with presuppositions and shared knowledge playing an essential role in conveying meaning. The paper looks at the preposition to demonstrate this distinction between formal and informal language. Using language appropriate to the situation is essential to ‘good manners’ and effective communication. Hence it is important to incorporate teaching of informal language into Indonesian courses, particularly the variety spoken by the Jakartan middle-class, which is acquiring status as a standard colloquial form of the language. It has as yet been subjected to very little study and as a result almost no materials are available for teaching it. Moreover, most non-native teachers have little or no knowledge of it. Only when descriptions of this variety are available can effective teaching be implemented.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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