Language and Literature
‘We did not adopt but adapt Hangeul’: The Cia-Cia’s Ongoing Challenges and Expanding Potential
The Republic of Indonesia is one of the most diverse countries in the world in terms of its numerous ethnic groups, languages and cultures. The country officially recognizes Indonesian as its national language and meanwhile encourages ethnic languages as a part of local cultures under the national motto, “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity)”. Nonetheless, it is true that many of Indonesia’s ethnic languages had been extinct, threatened and endangered, which means some ethnic minority groups are facing a crisis of losing their mother tongues. In the context of these linguistic issues between National language and ethnic languages in Indonesia, this study looks into an ethnic minority group called the “Cia-Cia Laporo” (hereafter “the Cia-Cia”) living in Southeast Sulawesi. The Cia-Cia is well known as a new “Hangeul” (a Korean alphabet) adopter, who is currently using the writing system as a script for its ethnic language, “Cia-Cian”. The Cia-Cia: Hangeul education marks the 10th anniversary in July 2019. In light of language education in contemporary Indonesia, the paper aims to examine how the Cia-Cia challenge to preserve their ethnic language by using Cia-Cia: Hangeul and also to provide findings from the author’s analysis of the fieldwork carried out in 2012, 2015 and 2017, specifically focusing on the Cia-Cia’s autonomous refining process on the writing system derived from Hangeul.