Countering purism: confronting the emergence of new varieties in a training program for community language workers


  • Margaret Florey


In the linguistically diverse islands of Central Maluku in Eastern Indonesia, approximately forty-two Austronesian languages are spoken. The greatest degree of attested language endangerment in Indonesia is found in this region, yet very few of these languages have been the subject of modern linguistic analysis and grammatical description. Speaker numbers for moribund languages in Maluku are very small, and opportunities for documentation are enhanced by the presence of elderly speakers among the large population of Malukans who have lived in exile in the Dutch diaspora since 1950. In these two settings, a project is being undertaken to document four endangered Central Malukan languages and to carry out language maintenance and renewal activities.

Our challenge as linguists responding to the voiced desires of communities to maintain or renew endangered languages is to develop tools which intervene in the language shift cycle. To meet this challenge, an innovative training program for community language workers is being developed among speakers of Malukan languages and their descendents both in the homeland in eastern Indonesia and in the Dutch diaspora. This paper reports on the training model, which has as its goals the facilitation of language documentation and maintenance at the community level, and the...


IndonesiaMalukuAustronesian languageslanguage endangermentlanguage maintenancelanguage renewallanguage shiftvariationtraining programscommunity language workerstraining modelpurism
  • Year: 2004
  • Volume: 2
  • Page/Article: 9-27
  • DOI: 10.25894/ldd287
  • Published on 31 Jul 2014