Media Indonesia has held a Regional Language Online Seminar through the Zoom Meeting platform. This seminar carried the theme of ‘The Urgency of Preserving Regional Languages as National Wealth and Supporting National Languages’ to save local languages from the threat of extinction.

The Ministry of Education and Culture (Kemendikbud Ristek) and Telkom Indonesia have supported this activity. Inviting three linguistic speakers including Prof. E. Aminudin Azis, M.A. Ph.D. (The Head of Language Development Agency, Kemendikbud Ristek), Prof. Dr. Multamia RMT Lauder, S.S., M. Mse., DEA (The Professor of Geolinguistics, Faculty of Cultural Studies, Universitas Indonesia), and Dr. Sony Sukmawan, M.Pd. (The Head of Language Education Department, Faculty of Cultural Studies, Universitas Brawijaya/FCS UB).

The Regional Language Seminar which lasted approximately three hours was held on Wednesday (10/27/2021). Each speaker conveyed tips to maintain the existence of regional languages in Indonesia. Prof. Amin spoke about ‘New Policy to Protect Regional Languages: Paddling between Idealism and Challenges’. Prof. Mia conveyed her perspective on ‘Caring for National Culture through Mapping Language and Language Vitality’. While Dr. Sony Sukmawan conveyed his research on ‘Following Orders, Examining Desakalapatra: Analects of Government Language, Literature, and Tenggerese Culture’.

Dr. Sony Sukmawan, M.Pd. is one of the academics at FCS UB who is currently focusing on researching the culture and language of the Tengger Tribe. He has done a lot of research on the Tengger Tribe.

In this Regional Language Webinar, he explains the tips of Tenggerese teenagers to maintain the existence of the Tenggerese language. The focus of discussion in this seminar is the defense of Tenggerese culture, literary defense (oral literature), and language defense (Tengger-Javanese).

“How the cultural heritage of the Tenggerese ethnic community has become a pillar of language and culture maintenance. Difference and diversity are the paths of pursuing harmony. Bromo Tengger Semeru is not a foreign name among the people,” he explained at the beginning of the presentation.

“The presence of ancestors greatly influences the attitudes and behavior of the Tenggerese people, so it is very rare for them to express bad curses against others,” he added.

“Understanding language is rather difficult if it is separated from literature. The existence of ancestors fills the entire span of land, every village in Tengger has the shoulder of mutual care for the ancestors as a norm system in controlling the behavior of the Tengger people, including language and literary behavior. Under the guidance of their ancestors, through traditional leadership (Shaman Pandita), the Tenggerese can negotiate change without losing their identity,” he said.

The traditions that are the pillars of the Tenggerese culture are Titiluri, Anjangsana, and Desamawacara. Titiluri is a community tradition that respects ancestors by carrying out what is said and taught without arguing, Anjangsana is visiting each other, and Desawacara is the awareness that every place in Tengger has a difference that does not have to be debated. These pillars have significantly contributed to the preservation of culture and language up to this point.

“There are dozens of Tenggerese rituals that are carried out based on periodic time in their implementation. Literature and language thrive, so the simple formula is that the more traditions, the more firmly implemented, the more open the spaces of language and literature in it, by using the Tengger language,” he said.

Tengger teenagers use self-help and self-financing to maintain the existence of the local language of the Tengger Tribe. In addition, they also collaborate with Tenggerese community elders to implement the Tenggerese language through song lyrics, a Tenggerese-English dictionary, and the language used for worship. [DTS/MSH/PR FCS]