Indonesia and Lots, Lots and Lots of Language

Artwork by Alessandro Mulya

It’s been a theory that has since been proven and tested. Indonesia is a land chock-full of languages — even from one district to others might be totally different. An expatriate friend of mine that is living in Indonesia for a couple of years seems amazed by my ability to seamlessly switch between Maduranese, Javanese, Balinese, Melayu, and in some part of the country, English, with comfort and ease.

According to Wikipedia, Indonesia has 718 different languages spread across the region.

So, on one side I thought it was amazing — and on the other side they probably hyperbole the whole stuff a little bit, right? According to Wikipedia, Indonesia has 718 different languages spread across the region. This is not hyperbolic at all. This is straight up awesome! ( In my opinion, of course. )

I only know two local languages from where I grew up and where I study for college. Only two. Some of my friends speak four of five of them — using it interchangeably, and you can sort of distinguish where they grew up from their accent. But see, when they speak to someone who has a different accent and words, they can automatically switch to those. It was almost…instinct.

So, yes. Indonesia has lots of languages spoken by different people at different regions — I heard some other Asia countries has it too. From India to China, those people there also spoke different language, depends on where their region is. And me, I’m not good at math, but that means that unofficial language of all countries in the world is massive! Even massive is an understatement.

Language could be a barrier, but within one country, several languages can actually make people unite — rather than drift them apart. And in this case, it is actually the reverse of those Babylon stories. People with different languages can build the civilization more swift and more efficient than before ( Okay, maybe this is stretching it a little bit. ), but this is a social culture that has been around for several decades. If anything, worldwide information has hastened that process quite a little bit.

Threads in Twitter and Instagram Stories all around different regions made me understood different languages a little faster, a little better, a little bigger…and the culture similarities in one country made it easier for understanding the slangs, the words, and the stories. It will be interesting to follow where the languages will take us and what might await us in the future…maybe we can decipher conversations with person with disability, maybe we can make an entirely new civilization — preferably on Mars, with a whole brand new language, maybe…maybe something else.

But who knows, ‘whataboutism’ isn’t exactly the way to research future and all that follow with it, but it’s good to have an extravagant, vivid imagination. Maybe we can make Lord of the Rings language became real — okay, I get it, I’ll stop.



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