Language diversity is a form of highly valuable national cultural treasures. Indonesians speak many different local languages in addition to the Indonesian national language. Hence, bilinguals or multi-languages speakers are dominant in the country. There is a problem in terms of perception, however, following such language diversity.
Politeness is one value that often causes misinterpretation. The criteria are usually seen in the use of words, greetings, speech aim, situation or context, manners, honesty, vulgarity, effects on other persons, social class authority, and completeness of utterance. Politeness characteristics that are often overlapping may cause a different perception related to politeness.
Current phenomena saw parents complaining over the fact that old values in the past that were adhered to highly are now unknown to current generations. They saw the politeness value has diminished among their children. In the past, indirect utterance was used to imply politeness, nowadays the younger generation wants to speak their mind up, clearly, directly, and transparently, which for some people is seen as impolite.
“Starting from this reality, forms and strategy of language politeness needs to be reviewed in order to make a character building based on local wisdom that is expected to strengthen personal identity and polite behaviours in utterance,” said Muhammad Zuhri Dj., S.S., M.Hum., during his doctoral programme examination in Humanities at Faculty of Cultural Sciences of Universitas Gadjah Mada on Friday (29/1).
In his dissertation, the lecturer from IAIN Watampone in Sulawesi carried out a sociopragmatic study of Bugis speakers in Bone regency, South Sulawesi, from the outlook of native speakers, especially in oral communication. Zuhri concluded four types of directive politeness, namely declarative, imperative, interrogative, and exclamative forms that each is used to signify certain meanings.
In the Bugis language, declarative function is often used to instruct or order someone else indirectly to make it less impolite. This shows how the Bugis people highly regard courtesy of communication.
The use of such language can be made on purpose by the speaker to indicate certain meaning, or not purposedly if that is more affected by other factors, such as emotion. “My observation showed that the most influential factors are speakers and other participants, intention and aim of utterance, and situation,” he said.