Journal article

Language and religion: A case study of two ambonese communities

S Musgrave, MC Ewing

International Journal of the Sociology of Language | Published : 2006


Both within the Ambonese community, and in scholarly discourse, it is frequently noted that Muslim villages in Maluku have retained their indigenous languages (bahasa tanah 'language of the land') whereas Christian villages have not. This article sketches the historical and sociological background of this difference, principally an outcome of colonial and religious policy by the Dutch administration. On the basis of current evidence of linguistic vitality in two communities on Ambon Island, one Christian (Allang) and one Muslim (Tulehu), we suggest that the crucial factor in the maintenance of indigenous languages in Muslim villages was not religion itself, but the lesser engagement of these..

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