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English, multilingualism and globalisation in Indonesia: A love triangle: Why Indonesia should move towards multilingual education

  • Subhan Zein

Indonesia is the second most linguistically diverse nation in the world. It has established its reputation as one of the largest markets of English language education. This paper examines the context of multilingualism in Indonesia in relation to the increasingly dominant role of English from my viewpoint as a researcher. I begin the paper by outlining how Indonesia is currently adapting to the role of English as a global language. I then discuss the position of English within the linguistic ecology of the country, highlighting how its promotion in the educational system adversely affects the maintenance of the indigenous and heritage languages. Finally, I point to the need for deliberate action in education that promotes multilingualism. I argue for a redirection in the Indonesian educational system towards multilingual education in order to ensure the preservation of the indigenous and heritage languages while adopting English as a Lingua Franca.

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English Today
  • ISSN: 0266-0784
  • EISSN: 1474-0567
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