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Source: Private Document

By: Asman Hafiz (Linguistics Research Team)

Language is one of the greatest topics which is has to be concerned in Indonesia, the diversity of language make this rigion become one of the well-known counties in the globe. Sasak language is one of many regional   languages that have developed and been recognized in Indonesia, which have an important role in the diversity of language cultures in Indonesia. The role and function of the Sasak language is very vital in the daily socio-cultural life of the people in Lombok island 1.West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) for communication between  communities.

Since the 14th century, the Sasak people have been divided into four social caste groups, including Menak (first caste, namely the aristocratic class), prewangse (second caste), Jajarkarang (third caste, commoner or layman) and sepangan (lowest caste). One of the characteristics that distinguishes an attractive group from other caste groups is a very strong language preference which is marked by sociolectal differences in language stratification or speech levels. The Sasak tribe, who has a knighted title, is usually identified by the mention of the names Lalu and Raden for men, and Baiq and Dende for women.

This classification is based on the social stratification of the Sasak people as aristocratic or subordinate and not aristocratic or non-menial. One way to distinguish the attitude of the relationship between the three groups is by using Sasak language expression forms, either base alus (soft language) or base jamaq (coarse language) which are arranged in the indhit base (speech level) of the Sasak language, sasak language is usually divided into five dialects: kuto-kute (nort lombok) ngeto-ngete (northeast) meno-mene (central lombok) ngeno-ngene (middle east, mid west) meriak-meriku (south- central).

Alus language is one of the elements in the speech level of the Sasak language whose position is almost the same as the position of one of the elements of the Sasak tribe’s customs. A person can be categorized as a customary violator and subject to social sanctions in the form of being labeled uncivilized, if he violates the base alus. Conversely, someone will fulfill the element of perfection in manners when understanding the element of base alus.

Ironically, this alus variety is beginning to be abandon by Sasak      speakers when communicating with their speech partners. According to the author’s observations, this is also the case in a village which is also famous for its blue blood area who are using alus language in communication where the number of royal descendants dominates, silak medaran, ampure tang mamiq,(let eat, I am sory mamiq) so on. but ironically the use of the alus language is now starting to fade. Then Lalu Ishak Yusuf, such things can occur inseparably from several factors including age, social sta,tus (including heredity), education, level of familiarity, conversation situation, type of conversation (formal / informal). From the description above, this study aims to present a portrait of the base alus among the Sasak people in one of the villages in East Lombok district, namely the village of Rarang Tengah. Central Rarang, East Lombok Regency, West Nusa Tenggara. Data will be collecte through observation, interview and documentation techniques.

For instance, instead of saying ‘pire’ to say ‘how much’. Another example in Sasak language, people would rather say ‘mbe yakm lumbar?’ rather than ‘mbe yakm lai?’ for saying, ‘where are you going’ because the word ‘lumbar’ demonstrates a more delicate sense of respect than ‘lai’. This kind of evidences cannot be found in English, as the sense of respect to show politeness in English was not denoted by speech levels. Language stratification seem to be extremely distinguishing factors of English to Sasak languages that influences the selection of word and structures of speaker by putting many aspects as the consideration, including (age, social status, richness, education, job and position, family, reputation and level of intimacy among interlocutors).

The examples below illustrate the three styles in use to mean the same, as in “what did you say?”.

Utame: Napi manik dekaji?

What say you? What did you say?

Tengaq: Napi basen pelungguh?

What say you? What did you say?

Jamaq: Ape unin side?

What say you? What did you say?

In terms of class and ethnicity as a set of markers by which one group differentiates itself from another, Sasak people then could be identified according to class by the language they speak.

The language that the speakers used may showed the social   and geographical background, such as the used of certain variety in language can give the speakers comes from upper class, middle class, or low class in society. The level and the style of Rarang Tengah community used in their daily activity when they interaction with the other (depend on the situation and with whom they talked). In below some levels of language at Rarang Tengah as show it.

Alus Example: Sampun niki medaran?

Already this eat? Have you eaten?

Tengak Example: Sampun de bekelor?

Already you eat?  Have you eaten?

Kasar: Uah be mangan?

Already you eat? Have you eaten?

The use of speech levels at Lombok community in the alus language certainly cannot be separated from the problem of language variety and politeness. In general, the people of mostly used two forms of language variety in daily communication, namely the Sasak language biase/jamaq and the alus language.This division based on the general social stratification of the people namely as Perwangse or Menak nobles and not Non-Menak or Jajar karang nobles. However, in other places there were also mentions that there were three levels, as reported by Junaidi Abdul Majid (2016:101- 102) that in the Keruak sub-district (East Lombok), based on the social stratification of the community, there were three levels of speech, namely the main language ( alus language), middle language (sedang language), and insulting language (kasar language). Hafifah (2009: 27-37) also mentions that in the village of Tanak Awu (Kec. Pujut, Central Lombok) there were three levels. The division is also based on three social layers of society, namely the aristocratic group known as the Menak (Perwangse), the middle class group called Perbape, and the ordinary community group known as the Jajar karang community.

* All opinions are responsibility of author

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