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Stance, style and identity in Java
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posted on 09.02.2017by Manns Jr., Howard John
Research has shown how links between stance, style and identity are formed from the bottom up in conversation and from the top down through ideology. However, little attention has been paid to the motivations and constraints which influence these links. This study explores how stance, style and identity are negotiated among young people in an emerging variety of Indonesian spoken in Malang, a city in East Java, Indonesia. Conversational data and interviews are examined to explore the stancetaking strategies of 25 young, educated Javanese individuals. In addition, interviews are used to explore the language policies and language use at three local radio stations, as well as the perceptions of the broadcast varieties among targeted audiences (adult and youth).
The findings show that many young people value both Javanese identity and a youth identity known as gaul, associated with language styles of the capital Jakarta. This can result in tension at the identity and interactional level, leading some speakers to use gaul forms with a sense of irony, while others avoid these styles altogether. However, many speakers select both Javanese forms and gaul forms to create a new twist on Javanese identity and achieve particular discourse effects.
This study aims to provide a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between identity and choice of linguistic form among young people in Malang. The findings show how speakers resolve indexical tension by invoking latent indexicalities through styling and stylisation.
This work sheds light on the processes by which Indonesian forms from Jakarta enter the speech styles in non-Jakarta communities. It is the first study to analyse stylistic variation using stancetaking as well as styling and stylisation. It has shown these concepts to be useful for exploring and explaining processes at work in naturally unfolding conversations.