Urbanization, Ethnic Diversity, and Language Shift in Indonesia
28 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2020
Date Written: January 31, 2020
Cross-nationally, urbanization is associated with the decline of minority languages and a shift towards national and official languages. But the mechanisms that link urbanization with language shift remain poorly understood. We use administrative data from Indonesia — a large, ethnically and linguistically diverse, rapidly urbanizing country — to examine how ethnic diversity shapes language shift in the context of urbanization. We find that in ethnically homogenous regions, urbanization has no relationship with language shift. By contrast, ethnic diversity is consistently associated with a greater probability of speaking Indonesian both among urban and rural Indonesians and in urban and rural areas. These findings have important implications for research on language shift and linguistic vitality in diverse, urbanizing societies.
Keywords: language shift, urbanization, sociolinguistics, ethnicity, diversity, Indonesia
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