Language and identity in East Timor: the discourses of nation building

Article


Taylor-Leech, Kerry. 2008. "Language and identity in East Timor: the discourses of nation building." Language Problems and Language Planning. 32 (2), pp. 153-180. https://doi.org/10.1075/lplp.32.1.04tay
Article Title

Language and identity in East Timor: the discourses of nation building

ERA Journal ID9359
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorTaylor-Leech, Kerry
Journal TitleLanguage Problems and Language Planning
Journal Citation32 (2), pp. 153-180
Number of Pages28
Year2008
Place of PublicationAmsterdam, Netherlands
ISSN0272-2690
1569-9889
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1075/lplp.32.1.04tay
Web Address (URL)http://www.benjamins.com
Abstract

Language choice in the newly independent Republic of East Timor can be usefully examined in the wider context of language policy in multilingual states. The present article reports on ethnographic research investigating official and popular discourses of language and identity in East Timor and the role of past and present language policies and practices in shaping national and social identity. It focuses on the discursive reconstruction of identity through five official instruments of language policy development. Hostile discourses in the Australian and Indonesian press towards the choice of Portuguese (the former colonial language) and Tetum (the endogenous lingua franca) as official languages provided the context for the investigation. A persistent theme in these discourses is that English and/or Indonesian would be preferable choices. The article puts these discourses into perspective by presenting findings from two data sets: (i) the 2004 National Census and (ii) analysis of the discourses of 78 participants in semi-structured interviews and student focus groups. The census shows clear signs of the revival of Portuguese and the reinvigoration of Tetum. It also shows how diverse linguistic identities have become in East Timor. The research findings show that there is less hostility to official language policy than claimed in the Australian and Indonesian press. However, the findings also emphasise the urgent need to reconstruct an inclusive, plurilingual national identity that can encompass diversity. Iha artigu ida-ne'e ha'u hakerek kona-ba regulamentu lian nian iha Timor-Leste. Iha ha'u-nia peskiza ne'e, ha'u investiga liders sira nia opiniaun no ema-hotu sira nia identidade nia lian. Ha'u hakerek mós kona-ba maneiras ne'ebé, regulamentu lian nian no prátika horiuluk nian, no tempu dadaun ne'e forma hela timor-oan sira nia identidade. Iha peskiza ne'e, ha'u mós diskute kona-ba instrumentu ofisiál lima nian, kona-ba regulamentu lian nian no halonu'usá mak instrumentu ofisiál lima ne'e, bele harii Timor-oan sira nia identidade. Ha'u mós koa'lia kona-ba bua negativus ne'ebé Australia no Indonézia sira nia jornál ko'alia kona-ba regulamentu lian nian iha Timor-Leste. Austrália no Indonézia nia jornál sira, dehan katak lian-Inglés mak di'ak liu atu sai lian ofisiál iha Timor-Leste. Iha peskiza ne'e, ha'u hatudu dadus rua: sensu nasionál husi tinan 2004 no mós husi entrevista ne'ebé ha'u halo ho grupus estudantes nian ho ema 78. Sensu hira ne'e, hatudu katak lian-Portugés no Tetum mak bainbain ema uza liu iha Timor-Leste. Maibé, sensu hirak ne'e mós hatudu katak Timor-oan sira nia identidade oin-oion liu duké horiuluk. Rezultadus husi ha'u-nia entrevista, hatudu katak timor-oan sira nia atitude kona-ba regulamentu lian nian menus negativu duké Australia no Indonézia sira nia jornál. Maibé iha ha'u-nia rezultadus, mós hatudu katak importante tebes atu harii identidade nasionál, ne'ebé bele loke tan dalan ba Timor-oan sira atu hatudu sai sira-nia identidade oin-oin. Oni povas utile ekzameni lingvoelekton en la nove sendependa Respubliko de Orienta Timoro en la pli vasta kunteksto de lingvopolitiko en multlingvaj ŝtatoj. La nuna artikolo raportas pri etnografaj esploroj pri oficialaj kaj popularaj diskursoj de lingvo kaj identeco en Orienta Timoro kaj la rolo de antauaj kaj nunaj lingvaj politikoj kaj praktikoj en formado de nacia kaj socia identeco. Ĝi fokusiĝas je la diskursa rekonstruo de identeco tra kvin oficialaj instrumentoj por lingvopolitika evoluigo. Malamikaj diskursoj en la australia kaj indonezia gazetaro rilate la elekton de la portugala (la iama kolonia lingvo) kaj la tetuma (la endogena interlingvo) kiel oficialaj lingvoj liveris kuntekston por la esploroj. Daura temo en tiuj diskursoj estas tio, ke la angla kaj/au; la indonezia estus preferindaj elektoj. La artikolo metas tiujn diskursojn en perspektivon per prezento de rezultoj de du datenokompletoj: (i) la Nacia Censo de 2004 kaj (ii) analizo de la diskursoj de 78 partoprenantoj en duonstrukturitaj intervjuoj kaj studentaj fokusogrupoj. La censo montras klarajn signojn de reviviĝo de la portugala kaj revigliĝo de la tetuma. Ĝi ankau montras, ke ekzistas malpli da kontrauado de oficiala lingvopolitiko ol pretendas la australia kaj indonezia gazetaro. Tamen, la rezultoj ankau substrekas urĝan bezonon konstrui inkluzivan, plurlingvan nacian identecon, kiu povas ĉirkaubraki diversecon.

Portugese
Neste artigo analisa-se a escolha linguística levada a cabo na recentemente independente República de Timor-Leste, no contexto mais vasto da política linguística em estados multilíngues. O trabalho reporta-se aos aspectos da pesquisa etnográfica levada a cabo sobre os debates oficiais e populares sobre a língua e identidade. Nele são discutidos o papel actual e passado das políticas e práticas linguísticas na formação da identidade nacional e social. Concentra-se na reconstrução discursiva da identidade através de cinco instrumentos oficiais do desenvolvimento da política linguística. Debates hostis veiculados pela imprensa Australiana e Indonésia sobre a escolha do Português (a antiga língua colonial) e do Tétum (a língua indígena franca) como línguas oficiais serviram de pano de fundo para a investigação. O tema prevalente nestes debates era a decisão sobre se as escolhas preferíveis não seriam o Inglês ou o Indonésio. De modo a por estes debates em perspectiva, foram apresentados dois conjuntos de dados: os do Recenseamento Nacional de 2004 e os da análise decorrentes dos debates nos quais tomaram parte 78 participantes através de entrevistas semi-estruturadas e grupos alvo de estudantes. O recenseamento mostra, claramente, sinais de reavivamento do Português e de robustecimento do Tétum. Também demonstra a diversidade assumida pelas identidades linguísticas em Timor-Leste. As conclusões demonstram que existe menos hostilidade quanto à política linguística do que a reinvindicada pela imprensa Australiana e Indonésia. Contudo, as conclusões também enfatizam a urgência da reconstrução de uma identidade nacional inclusiva e multilíngue que possa ter em conta a diversidade.

KeywordsTimor Leste; language policy; language practices; multilingualism; diglossia; official languages; national languages; national identity; Tetum; Portuguese language; Indonesian language
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020470201. Arts and cultural policy
470411. Sociolinguistics
440105. Linguistic anthropology
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Byline AffiliationsMacquarie University
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