KnE Social Sciences | The 1st Annual International Conference on Language and Literature (AICLL) | pages: 756–768


1. Introduction

In the vast and fast growth society like now days, people are being challenged by the intensity of communication among people around. At this point, the language shared among them plays an important role, since when language is used in such situation, it can be known that language is the key of communication containing messages. The important idea is that the recipient gets the correct detail of what the speaker intends to inform [5]. In Garces (2013), Windle and Warren mention the use of language in order to communicate and to connect with other people. Nevertheless, the act of communicating may pose linguistic and social barriers which can hinder communication.

The fact that English is one of the most used languages in the world, may lead to the situation that an Indonesian may, at some point being contacted with other person from abroad (foreigner) who does not speak Bahasa Indonesia, but English. This condition may be found in a tourist attraction (tourism activity), where foreigner is being contacted with the locals. Language barriers might be there when there are two persons speak different language.

One of the Indonesia's tourist attractions is Bukit Lawang, located in Sumatera Utara, by which a lot of foreign tourists like to visit. It is located in Bahorok. This place is a jungle place in Leuser. It has wildlife of animal which attracts tourist to come and visit Bukit Lawang. There, tourists are usually accompanied by Indonesian tour guide who will explain all things related to Bukit Lawang. In the interaction, the communication does not always run well, since those foreign tourists and their tour guides share difference knowledge of culture and language. The tourist guides may find unfamiliar terminologies which are totally new for the foreigners who do not share the same belief and culture. On the other, this kind of information needs to be transfer to the tourist since it is the cultural value which is belongs to the Indonesian's culture. The guides need to define or describe those terminologies so that they are able to understand. Another problems faced by the tourist guide in interacting with the tourist from abroad (foreigner) is the technical aspect of the English itself, such as the grammar and vocabulary. Lack of grammar and lack of vocabulary may result in their lack of confidence. And finally, this leads to an uncomfortable communicational situation. These problems need to be overcome. One way that the guides and the tourists use to overcome their communication problems is called communication strategies.

Based on the problems explain above, therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the types of communication strategies used by the tourist guide and how the communication strategies were used by the tourist guide in the interaction with the foreign tourists.

2. Literature Review

Communicative competence

Communicative competence (CC) was defined by Dell Hymes in 1972. According to him, it is competence for language use and not only “the tacit knowledge of language structure” in the Chomskyan sense. It is competence of language use appropriate to the other participants of the communicative interaction and appropriate to the given social context and situation. In the same sense, communicative competence does not deal with the domain of linguistic. Linguistic merely focuses in language competence. Thus, however the social condition of a speaker is, it will not give effects in the process of linguistic [7].

The capability of someone in performing his communicative competence will be depend on his linguistics competence as well in order to relate the concept of the language and the context by which the language is being used. In this sense, communicative competence is the aspects of someone's competence that enables him to convey and interpret messages and to negotiate meanings interpersonally within specific context [5]. Moreover, there are four components of communicative competence, based on Canale and Swain's (1983) frameworks. They are linguistic, discourse, sociolinguistic, and strategic competence. The first two subcategories reflect the use of language system itself while the last two define the functional aspects of communication.

Communication strategies

Canale, as quoted in Murcia (1995), defines “communicative competence as the underlying systems of knowledge and skill required for communication”. Moreover, there will always be language barriers in an interaction of two or more people; even they share the same kind of language. And it will become worse and worse if they do not share the same kind of language. Based on the functions of communication strategies, there are five types of communication strategies consisted of:

  • Avoidance or reduction strategies involve tailoring one's message to one's resources by either replacing messages, avoiding topics, or, as an extreme case, abandoning one's message altogether.

  • Achievement or compensatory strategies involve manipulating available language to reach a communicative goal and this may entail compensating for linguistic deficiencies. These strategies have been the traditional concern of communication strategy research.

  • Stalling or time-gaining strategies include fillers, hesitation devices and gambits as well as repetitions (e.g., repeating what the other has said while thinking). We should note here that several authors draw attention to the danger of L2 learners using taught fillers/gambits inappropriately if the presentation has been superficial and not adequately contextualized.

  • Self-monitoring strategies involve correcting or changing something in one's own speech (seV-repair) as well as rephrasing (and often over-elaborating) one's message to further ensure that it gets through.

  • Interactional strategies, highlights the cooperative aspects of strategy use. Appeals for help are similar to achievement strategies in function but through using them the learner exploits his/her interlocutor's knowledge rather than manipulating his/her own language resources. (Celce Murcia, 1995)

English for specific purpose (ESP)

One of the phenomenons as the effect of the fast growth of the world now day is the increase demand on the use of English. Almost in every sector, English plays an important role in building up relation and communication. This condition reflected that English is being as an international means of communication which is constantly expands. In a border sense, English is considered as a working tool in order to achieve specific objectives. Many efforts should be made to reach this, because it is not an easy one. Introducing English courses at all levels of the educational system especially at the university through ESP, consider as one of the way that can be conducted. This effort should be supported by a well-established teaching methodology that the language teachers actually use to achieve the specific learners“ needs, and meet the social requirement.

Generally, ESP has become one of the most active branches of applied linguistics. It started in 1960's that ESP comes to be considered in linguistics study. In particular, ESP becomes most actively applied in the area of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). Some people described ESP as simply being the teaching of English for any purpose that could be specified. Others, however, were more precise describing it as the teaching of English used in academic studies or the teaching of English for vocational or professional purposes [1]. Another definition of ESP is proposed by Dudley-Evans (1998) which offers is clearly influenced by that of Strevens (1988), although he has improved it substantially by removing the absolute characteristic that ESP is "in contrast with 'General English'" (Johns et al, 1991), and has included more variable characteristics. ESP should be seen simple as an 'approach' to teaching, or what Dudley-Evans describes as an 'attitude of mind'. The main focus of ESP learning is on how to teach English with proper and easy method in order to achieve the specific goals of learning English. By this situation, it seems that ESP learning does not emphasis on the language, but tries to highlight the need of a learner such as, English for the Engineers, Lawyers, Doctors and Tourists etc. For example, to teach a tourist guide English for communication, the class of ESP will be all about developing communication capabilities instead of other skills, like how to build a comfortable interaction with the tourist.

Culture and language

The instrinsic relationship of language and culture is widely recognized, but the ways in which the pattering of communicative behavior and that of other cultural systems interelate is of interest both to the development of general theories of communication, and to the description and analysis of communication within specific speech communities. Virtually any ethnographic model must take language into account, although many relegate it to a separate section and do not adequately consider its extensive role in society. The very concept of the evolution of culture is dependent on the capacity of humans to use language for purposes of organizing social cooperation.

Hymes suggest a second type of linguistic relativity which sees in grammar evidance not only of static social categories, but also of the speakers' social assumptions about the dynamics of role-relationships, and about what rights and responsibilities are perceived in society. While the first type of linguistic relativity claims that cultural reality in part results from linguistics factors.

Although language is unquestinably an integral part of culture, to assume specific cultural experiences and rules of behavior as invarible coordinates of specific linguistic skills is a naive oversimplification of the relationship of language and culture. The issue of their relationship is one which pervades the whole of the ethnography of communication [17].

Bukit Lawang

Bukit Lawang is a small tourist village, located at the Bohorok River and 86 km north-west of Medan, Northern Sumatera, Indonesia. The name Bukit Lawang means "door to the hill" which matches perfect to its main meaning. Bukit Lawang is one of the most popular tourist destinations on Sumatra as it is the main access point to enter Gunung Leuser National Park from the east side-one of only two remaining natural habitats for the Sumatran Orangutan.

The Bukit Lawang rehabilitation center for orangutans was founded in 1973.The main purpose is to preserve the decreasing number of orangutan population due to hunting, trading and deforestation. A flash flood hit Bukit Lawang on 2 November 2003. The disaster destroyed the local tourist resorts and had a devastating impact to the local tourism industry in the area. 239 people were killed and around 1,400 locals lost their homes. Local authorities and an environmental NGO attributed it to illegal logging. After about 8 months of rebuilding, Bukit Lawang was reopened again in July 2014.

Figure 1

Components of Data Analysis: Interactive Model taken from Miles and Huberman (2014).


3. Research Method

This research was undertaken at Bukit Lawang, Bohorok, Kabupaten Langkat, Sumatera Utara. This place is one of the most visited tourists attracting area in Sumatera Utara. Data collected for this research was collected from three tourist guides at Bukit Lawang. The subjects of this study were three tourist guides at Bukit Lawang. From these three respondents, data was being collected based on interview and direct observation. Further, this research was conducted by applying a case study as one kind of qualitative research design. In collecting the data, observation, field note, and interview were being used as the instrument. The data of this research were obtained by using the naturalistic method by observing, conducting interview, recording, and taking notes. And to support the process of collecting data, a pen, a notebook, mobile, and a camera were used as well. In Analyzing the data, this research was following Miles and Huberman (2014) which classified that there were three steps of data analysis, namely data condensation, data display, and drawing and verification conclusion.

4. Discussion


The data of this study were taken from conversation between tourist guides and foreigns tourist. All of the data collected, then, was distributed according to the types of communication strategy based on Celce Murcia's theory of it. From the data collected, there were 37 data related to the types of communication strategies used by tourist guides at Bukit Lawang.

Table 1

Types of Communication Strategies Used by Tourist Guides.

Data analysis

There were five types of communication strategies found in the data collected from the respondents. They were avoidance or reduction strategies, achievement or compensatory strategies, stalling or time-gaining strategies, self-monitoring strategies, and interactional strategies. They could be seen in table 1.1 below:

Table 2

Type of Communication Strategies.

No. Types of communication strategies Amount Percentage
1. Avoidance or reduction strategies 5 13.5%
2. Achievement or compensatory strategies 19 51.3%
3. Stalling or time-gaining strategies 2 5.5%
4. Self-monitoring strategies 5 13.5%
5. Interactional strategies 6 16.2%

From table 2 above, it could be seen that there were 5 (13.5%) for avoidance or reduction strategies, 19 (51.3%) achievement or compensatory strategies, 2 (5.5%) stalling or time-gaining strategies, 5 (13.5%) self-monitoring strategies, 6 (16.2%) interactional strategies. The most dominant types of communication strategies used by tourist guides at Bukit Lawang was achievement or compensatory strategies by 19 (51.3%).

Communication strategies used by tourist guides realized in conversation which described below.

Concept of avoidance or reduction strategies

This strategy includes topic avoidance, message replacement and message abondenment. In this concept, there were 5utterences used by tourist guides in conversation between tourist guides and foreigns.The speaker or guides used this strategy to avoid talking about certain topic in the conversation. The reason of using this strategy is probably because of the lack of knowledge, idea, or vocabulary items about the topic area. The speakers might feel that it would be too difficult for them to talk about this certain topic as they would probably get stuck in the middle of the conversation due to their lack of linguistic competence. For example:

Foreign tourist: See use how to you put from the human?

Tour guide: A long time ago people independent center is give for the pesek is the like orang utan. (V6:00:27)

From the example above, this conversation showed a guide avoid talking about topic in the conversation where a guide might feel that it would be to difficult for him to talk about this certain topic as he would probably get stuck in the middle of conversation. That is why, guide avoid question from foreign that foreign asked something to guide but guide continue to other topic.

Concept of achievement or compensatory strategies

In this concept, there were 19 achievement or compensatory strategies used by tourist guide. In this strategy have been the traditional concern of communication strategy research. The guide used this strategy to compensate the breakdowns in the middle of conversation. Instead of abandoning the message or avoiding certain topic of conversation because of their lack of linguistic skill, and the guide try to find a way to convey the message which want to said but keep communicative goal for example:

Tour guide: You have some any questions and there a jungle or and there so many orang utan(V1:00:01)

From the example above, the utterance there a jungle or and there so many orang utan showed that guide want to explain that many orang utans in the jungle. The guide used this strategy to reach goal in communication eventhough a guide knew the structure is not correct. In addition a guide used this strategy to share information which aim to satisfy foreigns.

Concept of stalling or time-gaining strategies

In this concept, there were 2 utterances stalling or time-gaining strategies used by tourist guide in the conversation. In this strategy, the speaker or guide employed to make use of the time while the guide are having difficulties in finding the correct term or constructing a sentence which want to said when the guide were faced in difficulties words, the guide used gambits in there conversation which aim to fill in the gap between the utterances while the guide where taking the time for example:

Foreign tourist: So why, orang utan stay close to the city?

Tour guide: This is like a village. This is like a resort national park. The orang utan home, that one the name is pesek. Is from a park one. You know park one? so that why is the name of orang utan the famous to see a people. (V6:00:06)

From the example above, the guide was explaining about place of orang utan. In the middle of his explanation, the guide try to stalling time by using gambit you know and it was followed by giving circumlocution so that why is the name of orang utan the famous to see a people.

Concept of self-monitoring strategies

In this concept, there were 5 utterances self-monitoring strategies used by tourist guide in the conversation. In this strategy, the guide used to correct there own mistake during the conversation and have initiatif to correct it. The guide used self monitoring as the effort to make the speech clearly for example:

Tourist guide: That one her name pesek. This one of the some orang utan agresif. We have a mina. (V6:01:06)

Foreign tourist: Mina is the most agresif

Tour guide: You know mina?

Foreign tourist: Yeah, I saw the internet and jecky is the one of like mina.

Tour guide: You can saw is the mina bite my finger. (V6:01:17)

From the example above, a guide told about mina and he tried to elaborate pesek, jecky, and mina. A guide used some word to explain mina that mina is orang utan is the most agresif.

Concept of interactional strategies

In this concept, there were 6 utterances interactional strategies used by tourist guide in the conversation. In this strategy, the guide used interactional strategies in their conversation which aim helpful the guide to avoid misunderstanding in the communication. In addition, the guide used this strategy was the utterances is not clear enough for foreign so that the foreigns can not achieve what the guide mean for example:

Tourist guide: Just the way I think the culture of orang utan similar like a human. (V4:00:11)

Foreign tourist: Look a similar

Tourist guide: Ya, is similar

From the example above, look a similar the foreign asked for confirmation of the guide's utterance. The foreign repeated his sentence confirm whether what he hear are the same as what the guide's mean.

5. Conclusions

Based on the explanation on the research matter, then, it could be concluded that there were 37 utterances which contained communication strategies used by tourist guides at Bukit Lawang. There were 5 (13.5%) for avoidance or reduction strategies, 19 (51.3%) achievement or compensatory strategies, 2 (5.5%) stalling or time-gaining strategies, 5 (13.5%) self-monitoring strategies, 6 (16.2%) interactional strategies. The most dominant types of communication strategies used by tourist guides at Bukit Lawang was achievement or compensatory strategies 19 (51.3%). It means that most guides used achievement or compensatory strategies to reach a communicative goal. The process of communication strategies used by tourist guide occur during the communication with foreign tourist since the conversation did not always go as smoothly as it expected. And the factors that made the tourist guide chose certain way to control the communication was due to their lack of English grammar, vocabulary, and lack of self confidence.



Anthony, L. (1997). Preaching to Cannibals: A look at Academic Writing in Engineering. In the Japan Conference on English for Specific Purposes Proceedings. January 31st, 1998.


Ary, Donald, et al. (2010). Introduction to Research in Education. Wardsworth: UK


Bogdan, R & Biklen, S.K. Robert C. 1992. Qualitative Research for Education. Graw Hill: New York


Brown, G and Y, George. (1983). Discourse Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Brown, H.D. (2000). Principles of Language Learning and Teaching: Fourth Edition. New York: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.


Burns, Anne. (2009). Doing Action Research in English Language Teaching. New York: Routledge


Celce-Murcia M, Dörnyei Z, Thurrell S. (1995). A pedagogical framework for communicative competence: A Pedagogically motivated model with content specifications. Issues in Applied Linguistics.


Dudley-Evans, Tony (1998). Developments in English for Specific Purposes: A multi disciplinary approach. Cambridge University Press. (Forthcoming)


Garces, A.Y.C & Olivera, S.F.L. (2013). Communication Strategies Used by Pre-Service English Teachers of Different Proficiency Levels. Journal HOW, A Colombian Journal for Teachers of English


Harmer, Jeremy. (2001). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Cambridge: Longman.


Harris, D.P. (1969). Testing English as a Second Language. New York: Mc Graw Hill Company.


Hutchinson, Tom & Waters, Alan (1987). English for Specific Purposes: A learner-centered approach. Cambridge University Press.


Hymes, D.H. (1972) “On Communicative Competence” In: J.B. Pride and J. Holmes (eds) Sociolinguistics. Selected Readings. Harmondsworth: Penguin


Merriam, Sharan B. (2009). Qualitative Research A Guide to Design and Implementation. San Francisco.


Miles, Mathew B. (2014). Qualitative Data Analysis. California: sage publication.


Prachanant, N. 2012. Needs Analysis on English Language Use in Tourism Industry. Journal. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 66


Troike, M.S. (1986). The Ethnography of Communication. Oxford: Oxford Press



  • Downloads 20
  • Views 413



ISSN: 2518-668X