Paolillo approaches the use of multi register to achieve communicative goals. Basically multi language register pinpoints the interplay of a low register and a high register. The low register is the use of language in family, house and casual conversation. The high register is the use of language in public written communication and conversation. He argues multi language register occurs in a society with different register of English that has wide degree variation of registers. This society, according Paolillo, has linguistic competence for each register (single linguistic competence) that leads into diglossia, or register switching.

The problem with Indonesia, we are not single linguistic competence society. And that makes Indonesia a unique site to explore this diglossia. I think.

Ps. I disagree with the terminologies of “low register” and “high register”, especially with how Paolillo defines them. In Indonesia case, using Paolillo’s view, Javanese (bahasa Jawa) is a low register that is used in casual conversation. I think all Javanese (orang Jawa) know, people do not use kromo inggil in casual daily conversation, don’t they? And that is because kromo inggil is not ‘low’ at all. In the case of ‘low register’, from Javanese’s (orang Jawa) point of view, who can tell which one is which between Indonesian (language) and Javanese (language)?

This, we have to understand that, western theoretical frameworks hardly can cover Indonesia’s rich cultures and customs.


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