Code Choices Among Multilingual Families: a Pilot Study


Living in a multi-ethnic and multilingual country, Indonesian citizens have the privilege of being exposed to different languages and using them in various degrees of proficiency. As it becomes typical for an individual to mix and/or switch languages in everyday interaction, there is certainly room for more in-depth investigation, especially in determining the pattern of code choices among multilingual families. Using a descriptive qualitative approach, we observed how code choices occur in the family of two multilingual young adult speakers in Universitas Negeri Malang. The data of this current study were collected from two interview videos as a part of a larger project (Family Language Policy) we carried out in 2021 with a focus on how language selection processes work in their families. The results showed that there were different code choice patterns practiced in these two families; for example, the first family used Javanese as a primary communication code among family members, while the second family chose to use Indonesian. However, interestingly both families communicate in Indonesian when speaking to very young members or children. The findings of this current paper are important particularly in predicting the language shift phenomena in Indonesian contexts.

Keywords: code choices, family language policy, multilingual families, Indonesia

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