David Andersen, who began field research in Moronene in the early 1990s, has recently described a situation of incipient language shift affecting some Moronene villages. The primary driving force in this shift is parents speaking Indonesian to their young children in order to prepare them for success in school and life. Whether these children will later learn Moronene—as many parents assume will happen—remains to be seen. We rate Moronene as 4/Vulnerable.
While the Moronene language is at a critical threshold, Yus Rambe overstates the gravity of the situation when he reports, “Masyarakat pendukung yang aktif berbahasa daerah Moronene saat ini hanya golongan orang tua berusia di atas umur 50 tahun, sedangkan generasi muda telah bergeser menggunakan bahasa Indonesia” (present-day active community support in speaking Moronene comes only from the group of parents over the age of 50, while the younger generation have already shifted to using Indonesian) (quoted in Yudono 2011).
What Others Have Written
Language use among the Moronene people remains strong, Bahasa Moronene being the language of home, gardening, and festivals. The traditional feasts are still practiced, and on Kabaena young men are still taught the special adat language after their initiation into manhood. There are still those who sing the Kada and Ohoho and other traditional Moronene epic songs, and some have set Moronene words to modern tunes.
David Andersen (2008:pers.comm.)
When we first went to live among the Moronene in 1992 we became aware of some degree of language shift influenced by outsiders. In villages in predominantly Bugis areas, especially in Poleang Subdistrict, there was a shift to Bugis. And children in the cities shifted to Indonesian. Also there were some Moronene teachers in Moronene villages who spoke Indonesian to their children, but the children learned Moronene too, just a bit slower than others. Moronene language use in predominantly Moronene villages was high, and all the children learned Moronene.
In the last five years or so we have started to notice a new pattern of language shift. Increasing numbers of parents in some villages have started speaking Indonesian to their children. As a result, some young children are not fluent in Moronene, although they can understand it, since their parents still speak Moronene to each other. At first we thought this pattern was increasing only in villages with more outsiders, such as Taubonto and Kasipute, which are subdistrict capitals. But alarm bells started going off when we noticed the same thing happening in Pusu'ea, the village where we first learned Moronene, which is almost ninety-nine percent Moronene. …
On my latest two trips to the Moronene area I started gathering information on the language use of parents and children in various villages. I was told that in Kasipute and Toburi, none of the children under 12 speak Moronene. Those two villages have a lot of outsiders. But in Lakomea village, which is almost exclusively Moronene, I was told that all the parents with children under ten speak Indonesian to them. Some other villages were reported as still having relatively strong language use. There are many villages that I have no clear information about.
Apa sebabnya orang tua mau memakai bahasa Indonesia dengan anaknya? Antara lain:
- Supaya anaknya pintar di sekolah.
- Nanti anak akan belajar bahasa Moronene dari orang lain.
- Bahasa Indonesia lebih penting daripada bahasa Moronene.
- Mereka ikut contohnya orang yang dihormati di desa, misalnya guru yang sudah biasa memakai bahasa Indonesia dengan anaknya.
- Mereka tidak bangga atas bahasanya, tidak menganggapnya sebagai warisan berharga yang harus diberikan kepada anaknya.
Andersen, David. 2007. Langkah-langkah menuju kepunahan bahasa Moronene. Unpulished typescript, 2 pp.
Mead, David E. 1999. The Bungku-Tolaki languages of south-eastern Sulawesi, Indonesia. (Pacific Linguistics, D-91.) Canberra: Australian National University.
Yudono, Jodhi. 15 December 2011. Bahasa Moronene terancam punah. Kompas.com. Online. URL: http://oase.kompas.com/read/2011/12/15/19065513/Bahasa.Moronene.Terancam.Punah (accessed January 24, 2012).