Language and Social Change in Java — 1985

Linguistic Reflexes of Modernization in a Traditional Royal Polity

By J. Joseph Errington

“The main merit of this study is that it is based on observation and participation in the field, among speakers of Javanese…. This work will, one hopes, form a basis for further research into how language-use correlates with social status in Java.”

S. O. Robson — Bijdragen

Errington explores linguistic evidence of social change among the traditional priyayi elite of Surakarta in south-central Java. Employing data from texts, interviews, observed speech, and questionnaires, he shows a progressive leveling in the language used to denote traditional status differences, and he demonstrates how perceptions of speech styles reflect etiquette and the views of the users.

Errington suggests that a reciprocal assimilation process changes the way members of Java’s traditional elite deal with each other in a modern urban milieu. The argument and the material on which it is based will be of interest to historians, linguists, anthropologists and other concerned with social and political change in southeast Asia.

Cover of 'Language and Social Change in Java'

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Paperback978-0-89680-120-2

210 pages

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