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Thursday, October 10 • 2:55pm - 3:20pm
Zen & Starr: Variation in the production of Javanese by multilingual children in Indonesia

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Variation in the production of Javanese by multilingual children in Indonesia

​As Indonesian becomes more dominant as a first language in Indonesia, the production of regional heritage languages, such as Javanese, may be increasingly influenced by phonological transfer. The present study investigates this phenomenon through an examination of the Javanese speech production of 95 multilingual children aged 9-10. Specifically, we analyze the distinction between alveolar and retroflex coronal stops, which phonemically contrast in Javanese, but not in Indonesian.

The findings reveal that many participants merge the alveolar and retroflex phonemes of Javanese, with gender and region significantly conditioning variation. Specifically, children from Malang, a large, diverse urban area, are significantly more likely to merge these phonemes relative to children from Blitar, a smaller, more Javanese-dominant setting. Female participants are also found to significantly lead in the merger of /ʈ/ to /t/. Overall, the data suggest that increasing Indonesian dominance is leading to changes in Javanese phonology, particularly in diverse urban centers.

Session abstract: Variation in Second and Heritage Language Speech: Cross-linguistic Perspectives

This session brings together scholars working on the acquisition of sociolinguistic variation in a variety of non-dominant languages. The first paper outlines how such studies can contribute to sociolinguistic theory. The next papers examine the influence of Indonesian on children’s Javanese and the influence of English and communication networks on Diné Bizaad (Navajo). Other studies focus on the acquisition of sociolinguistic competence by U.S. students in France and the acquisition of the constraints on object deletion in Mandarin. The final study examines the (non)-acquisition of a socially stigmatized variant by Spanish L1 speakers in Catalonia. Taken together, the papers in this session illustrate the contributions to our understanding of the effects of language contact on second and heritage languages and to identifying the types of linguistic and social factors that are common across contexts or pairs of languages and those that are specific to particular languages or social contexts.​​​


Evynurul Laily Zen

National University of Singapore

Rebecca Starr

National University of Singapore

Thursday October 10, 2019 2:55pm - 3:20pm PDT
EMU Gumwood