Regional language not just serves as a communication media, but also a culture that shows the typicality of that region. In the Indian Ocean, there lies Enggano Island – part of Bengkulu province – of which the population speaks Enggano language.
Enggano language is unique in the way it is spoken, different from Malay and is only spoken orally from generation to generation. The total speakers are 59.19% or 1,424 of 2,406.
But in recent times, there has been a shift in the choice of language from Enggano to Indonesian or Bengkulu Malay language. This is due to the interactions with other people who do not speak the language.
According to Vina Apriani Nasution, M Dian Saputra, and Fauzan Hanif, UGM socio-humanities students, their research found that the lack of intensity among people speaking Enggano language in public sphere has caused such a shift. They tend to speak other languages in the forum where they should have spoken it.
The UGM students under the guidance of Aprilia Firmonasari, S.S., M.Hum., D.E.A., did research from 4-12 May 2018 in Enggano island.
They found that teaching in family was still done in Enggano language, and the children understood it. But they found difficulty when trying to speak it. This indicates a generation shift while the inheriting generation only passively speaks the language.
“This passive command will certainly hamper the process of language transfer to the next generation,” said Vina.
Concerned with this condition, the student made a linguistic documentation from customary leaders in five villages, also using reference from previous researchers of Enggano language. The students finally published a pocket book of Enggano language.
“This pocket book is a strategy to preserve the Enggano language and is expected to be the source of refercence for introduction and learning of Enggano language,” said Vina.