The Dynamics of Language Attitudes of Young Parents towards the Preservation of the Mother Tongue

Yunisrina Qismullah Yusuf [1] Zulfadli A. Aziz [2] Menalisa  [3] Teuku Zulfikar [4]

See authors' affiliations

[1] Universitas Syiah Kuala, Banda Aceh, Indonesia, Banda Aceh, 
[2] Universitas Syiah Kuala, Banda Aceh, Indonesia, Banda Aceh,
[3] Universitas Syiah Kuala, Banda Aceh, Indonesia and Pesantren Modern Tgk. Chiek Oemar Diyan, Aceh Besar, Indonesia,

[4] Universitas Islam Negeri Ar-Raniry, Indonesia,




It is undeniably true that local languages will be preserved if they are respected, used, and inherited to the next generations. They should be used in the family and community so that children do not avoid or become unfamiliar with their vernaculars. This study explored the attitudes of Acehnese young families toward Acehnese language, and further investigating their efforts in maintaining and passing the local language to their children. Twelve Acehnese couples (young parents) residing in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, were interviewed to obtain data. They were chosen on purpose because their first languages had to meet the study’s criteria: (a) Acehnese-speaking parents, (b) Acehnese-speaking fathers and Indonesian-speaking mothers, (c) Indonesian-speaking fathers and Acehnese-speaking mothers; (d) Indonesian-speaking parents, (e) Acehnese-speaking fathers and other ethnic language-speaking mothers; as well as (f) other ethnic language-speaking fathers and Acehnese-speaking mothers. The data were then transcribed and identified for the key points, patterns, or themes in accordance with the attitudes of Acehnese young parents toward Acehnese language. The findings show that the Acehnese language was highly valued for being the heritage language, connecting people within and outside of families, expressing emotions, and requiring promotion despite its low popularity. Although a majority of parents in this study saw the Acehnese language as important for expressing their Acehnese identity and were aware of its values, they failed to pass the language on to their children. Out of the twelve families, only one family succeeded in passing on and maintaining Acehnese to their children. Nevertheless, language maintenance in the home works if parental practical efforts are made by providing their children with linguistic resources, and most important of all, using the local language in interactions with them.

Keywords: Acehnese, Efforts, Language, Attitude, Maintenance, Young Parents.



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