The Indonesia Language Policies on Colonial and Postcolonial

Improving the function of Indonesian language


  • Juanda Juanda Universitas Samawa


Bahasa Indonesia, BIPA, language policy


Indonesia country has about 650 million population and 704 regional languages. It clearly considers national languages and an official language as a tool of communication between inter-regions and governmental administration. Besides that, the Government of Indonesia attempts to improve the function of Indonesian language (Bahasa Indonesia) as Graddol’s hypothesis which estimates it into the regional language by 2020. This paper discusses Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language) policy from the pre to colonial stage (Sriwijaya Kingdom, Portuguese, Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC), French, England, Nederlands-Indië, and Japanese) and postcolonial stage (1945-2018), covers independence to reformation (1998-2018), regarding BIPA. The paper concludes that (1) the adoption of Bahasa Indonesia based on sociological factor, political factor, and synthesis language factor. (2) Indonesia has formulated language policy from macro to micro levels since colonial and postcolonial stage; Then, (3) there are five strategies to improve the function of Bahasa Indonesia, namely to use it in international forums, to develop the Bahasa Indonesia teaching for foreign speakers, to improve the linguistic and literary cooperation with abroad, to develop and empower Bahasa Indonesia learning at abroad, and other efforts. To reach those strategies, Agency for National Language (Badan Bahasa Nasional) designs Indonesian Language for Foreigner Program (Bahasa Indonesia bagi Penutur Asing, abbreviated BIPA), refers to Pancasila, The Republic of Indonesia Constitution 1945, the Republic of Indonesia Act No. 24/2009, the Republic of Indonesia Governmental Regulation No. 57/2014, and other regulations. Thus, Bahasa Indonesia has both explicit and implicit language policies.