Head of Papuan Language Office Toha Machsum open a seminar "Caring for Diversity through Literature" April 21 - Jubi /Roy Ratumakin

Extinct, five local languages in Papua


Head of Papuan Language Office Toha Machsum open a seminar “Caring for Diversity through Literature” April 21 – Jubi /Roy Ratumakin

Jayapura, Jubi – Five local languages ​​in Papua Land are extinct according to Language Mapping Coordinator of Language Center at Papua and West Papua Province Yohanis Sanjoko. The five languages ​​are Tandia (Bay of Wondama), Mapia (Supiori District), Safoni (Waropen), Bonerif (Mamberamo Raya), and Wario (Waropen).

“Of the four, the Tandia language is no longer spoken and it is estimated that local people also do not use language. For the local language of Mapia only spoken by one person, but the data was taken around 1990s,” he told Jubi at his office on Wednesday (3/5/2017).

From the data of 2016, the local languages ​​of Safoni and Bonerif are only spoken by four people. The language of the Wario region has only spoken by five persons.

The extinction of the regional language, according to Sanjoko is due to the factor of society attitude of the spoken language.


“The owners of languages ​​or ancestors do not pass on their local language to their people or their children, so it is eroded by the entry of other languages,” he said.

It is said, with the extinction of the five regional languages ​​he expected to government through the Department of Education and Culture should be more active in disseminating awareness to the public on the importance of maintaining the local language so as not to extinct.

“The education starts from adults to their children, the parents should be more active in providing language-related lessons and at least using the local language at home for communication, so the children can understand that in addition to Indonesian language they also have their own mother languages, “he said.

There are 372 local languages in Papua and West Papua Provice according to 2016 data.

Prior to that, the Expert Staff of the Minister of Education and Culture of the Center for Regional Relations, Dr. James Modouw to Jubi said, local language education is important for school-age children so that the languages ​​are not marginalized by other outside cultures.

Six are threatened with extinction

Meanwhile, of the six regional languages ​​spoken in Jayapura City, one of them is threatened with extinction because it only spoken by very few people.

According to Sanjoko one of the regional languages ​​that are threatened with extinction is the language of Kayu Pulo. While other five languages: Tobati, Nafri, Skouw, Nyau, and Elseng are considerably saved.

He said in order to measure how the local languages potentially strong or threatened with extinction are based on certain evaluation. They include transmission factor, number of conformers, the obedient proportion, the transition, the language response, the availability of teaching materials, attitude of the government, attitude of the language owner, the amount, and document quality.

Sanjoko added that there are six aspects or categories to find out how far the spread of local languages ​​in a region or village.

“Mostly in Papua, one Kampung (village) potentially has different languages to another village ​​or has different dialects. To measure it, we classified them according to category of safe, easy, and stable, besides other category of endangered, critical, and extinct,” he said.

For the Kayo Pulo language fell into the category of endangered because its speakers are only a few people left.

Language examiner of Papuan and West Papua Language Center Ely Maramuri urges parents to have a more important role to instill local languages ​​to their children. (*)

Reporter: Roy Ratumakin

Editor: Zely Ariane

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