language choice, youth language, adolescents, Indonesian


This study presents a result of a survey on linguistic choice by adolescents who live in Tangerang, a neighboring area of Jakarta. In this study, we observed their use of Bahasa Indonesia (BI), Colloquial Jakarta Indonesian (CJI), foreign language (FL), regional language (RL), and mixed language (ML) in interactions with different addresees in daily activities: parents, teachers, friends, siblings, grandparents, uncles/aunts, and new acquaintances. Data in this study were collected from questionnaires, distributed at two secondary schools (SMP) and two senior high schools—a sekolah menengah umum ‘general senior high school’(SMU) and a sekolah menengah kejuruan (SMK) ‘vocational senior high school’ (SMK) which are located in Tangerang. The participants in this study are the students, aged 13 to 19 years old (N=748). It is found that BI and CJI were frequently used by these teenagers. They tended to use BI in interactions—spoken and written—with the older and respected people (teachers, parents, and grandparents) or those who are not familiar with them. CJI is used to those who are socially equal to them. Some of them used ML. Only a few of these participants use RL, and very few use FL. This study also finds that there are differences on the pattern between the use of BI and CJI in spoken and written interactions. Another factor that makes the difference between these varieties is the educational level. Findings in this study indicates that these languages—especially BI and CJI—have functions respectively, and the respondents’s choice is strongly influenced by the status of the participants and social contexts.

Author Biography

Bernadette Kushartanti, Universitas Indonesia

Lektor Departement of Linguistics Faculty of Humanities Universitas Indonesia


Ananta, A., et al. (2015). Demography of Indonesia's Ethnicity. Singapore: ISEAS Publishing. doi:

Bell, A. (1984). Language style as audience design. Language in Society 13 (2): 145-204. doi:

Bell, A. (2001). Back in style: Reworking audience design. In Style and Sociolinguistic Variation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 221-248. doi:

Bucholtz, M. (2001). The whiteness of nerds: Superstandard English and racial markedness. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 11(1): 84-100. doi:

Bucholtz, M. 2006. Word up: Social meanings of slang in California youth culture. In Jane Goodman & Leila Monaghan (eds.), Interpersonal communication: An ethnography approach, 243- 267. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Djenar, D.N. (2012). Almost unbridled: Indonesian youth language and its critics. South East Asia Research 20 (1): 35-51. doi:

Djenar, D. N. (2014). Adolescent social media interaction and authorial stance in Indonesian teen fiction. Wacana: Journal of the Humanities of Indonesia, 15(1): 166−180. doi:

Djenar, D. N. (2015). Youth Language in Indonesia and Malaysia: From Slang to Literacy Practices. In D.N. Djenar (ed.) Youth Language in Indonesian and Malaysia. NUSA Linguistic Studies in and around Indonesia, 58: 1−8.

Djenar, D. N. and Ewing, M.C. (2015). Language varieties and youthful involvement in Indonesian fiction. Language and Literature 24(2): 108- 128. doi:

Djenar, D. N., Ewing, M., and Manns, H. (2018). Style and Intersubjectivity in Youth Interaction. Boston/Berlin: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. doi:

Eckert, P. (2000). Language Variation as Social Practice. Oxford: Blackwell.

Ewing, M.C. (2015). The kalau framing construction in Indonesian comics. In D.N. Djenar (ed.) Youth Language in Indonesian and Malaysia. NUSA 58: 51-71.

Forbes, D. (2004). Jakarta: Globalization, economic crisis, and social change. In J. Gugler (ed.). World Cities beyond the West. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 268-296.doi:

Holmes, J. (2013). An Introduction to Sociolinguistics (Fourth Edition). New York: Routledge.

Indrayanti, T. (2017). Potret penggunaan bahasa remaja dalam perspektif kalangan mahasiswa. Proceeding of PRASASTI II 'Kajian Pragmatik dalam berbagai Bidang' (pp. 126−131). doi:

Kushartanti, B. (2014). Studi awal mengenai penggunaan bahasa di kalangan remaja di Jakarta dan sekitarnya. [A preliminary study on language use in adolescents in Jakarta and surroundings]. In 75 tahun Prof. Dr. Harimurti Kridalaksana: Persembahan bagi Peneroka Linguistik Indonesia (pp. 150−162). Depok: Fakultas Ilmu Pengetahuan Budaya Universitas Indonesia.

Kushartanti, B. (2016). Nge-: Prefiks baru untuk anak-anak? [nge-: a new prefix for children?] In Mahaguru yang Bersahaja: Persembahan untuk Prof. Dr. Muhadjir. Depok: Fakultas Ilmu Pengetahuan Budaya Universitas Indonesia.

Manns, H. (2015). Address terms, framing and identity in Indonesian youth interaction. In D.N. Djenar (ed.) Youth Language in Indonesian and Malaysia. NUSA 58: 79-83.

Milroy, J., and Milroy, L. (2012). Authority in Language: Investigating Standard English. Fourth Edition. London: Routledge. doi:

Na'im, A., and Syaputra, H. 2011. Kewarganegaraan, suku bangsa, agama, dan bahasa sehari-hari penduduk Indonesia: Hasil sensus penduduk 2010 . [Citizenship, ethnicity, religion, and everyday language among the residents of Indonesia: Outcomes from the 2010 census]. Jakarta: Badan Pusat Statistik.

Papalia, D. E., and Martorell, G. (2015). Experience Human Development. New York: Mc Graw Hill Education.

Parker, L., and Nilan, P. (2013). Adolescents in Contemporary Indonesia. London: Routledge. doi:

Sarwono, S. (2014). Anak Jakarta: A sketch of Indonesian youth identity. Wacana: Journal of Humanities of Indonesia, 15(1), (pp. 41−45). doi:

Sitanala, F. (2005). Pergerakan penduduk Kota Depok menuju ke tempat bekerja Tahun 2001. Makara Journal of Science Vol. 9, No.1 (pp. 41−44). doi:

Subiyatningsih, F. (2007). Karakteristik bahasa remaja: Kasus rubrik remaja "Deteksi" dalam Harian Jawa Pos. Journal of Humaniora, 19(2), (pp. 185-194). doi:

Subiyatningsih, F. (2016). Sikap bahasa remaja - Kasus pemakaian Bahasa Indonesia dalam Rubrik "Deteksi" Jawa Pos. Madah: Jurnal Bahasa dan Sastra, 7(2), (pp. 147−158). doi:

Swandy, E. (2017). Bahasa Gaul Remaja dalam Media Sosial Facebook. Jurnal Bastra, 1(4): 1−19

Tamtomo, K. (2014). The push and pull of language: Youth written communication across a range of text in Central Java. In D.N. Djenar (ed.) Youth Language in Indonesian and Malaysia. NUSA Linguistic Studies in and around Indonesia, 58, 95-128.

Tamtomo, K. (2016). The Push and Pull of Language Ideologies: Multilingual Communicative Practices Among Youths in Indonesia City. Thesis. State University of New York at Albany: ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

Yannuar, N. and Kadarisman, A.F. (2015). On the phonetics, phonology, and phonotactics of Basa Walikan Malang. Paper presented in the Fifth International Symposium on the Languages of Java. Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia, Bandung, 6-7 June 2015.




How to Cite