Oleh: Iqbal Nurul Azhar[1]

Dipublikasikan dalam Prosiding Seminar Nasional Linguistik dan Sastra, Dahulu, Sekarang dan Akan Datang, 2011 yang diterbitkan atas kerjasama Sastra Inggris Unijoyo dan ITS Press.

 Abstract: Meskipun bahasa Madura memegang peranan penting dalam mengembangkan bahasaIndonesia, usaha-usaha melestarikannya masih belum banyak terlihat. Ini dapat dilihat dari sedikitnya jumlah publikasi ilmiah tentang bahasa Madura yang ditemukan di e-perpustakaan nasional dan beberapa e-perpustakaan universitas di Indonesia.  Hasil studi literatur penulis menjumpailima fakta menarik terkait publikasi ilmiah ersebut. Kelima fakta tersebut adalah: (1) kebanyakan publikasi ilmiah tentang bahasa Madura memfokuskan kajiannya pada aspek internal bahasa seperti morfologi, fonologi, tatabahasa dan sintaksis. Studi tentang aspek eksternal bahasa Madura seperti pragmatik, dan analisis wacana masih jarang dijumpai (2) kajian yang “dalam” tentang bahasa Madura kebanyakan dilakukan oleh orang-orang asing, (3) sedangkan kajian bahasa Madura yang dilakukan oleh orang Indonesia kebanyakan hanya untuk memenuhi proyek pemerintah, (4) perkembangan studi bahasa Madura tidak menunjukkan pola khas, hal ini tentu saja memberikan kesulitan bagi kita untuk memetakan perkembangan tersebut dalam fase-fase, dan (5) studi tersebut tidak terpengaruh oleh adanya trend dan isu dalam dunia linguistik. Kurangnya kajian eksternal bahasa Madura memberikan kesempatan besar pada linguis atau pemerhati bahasa Madura untuk berlomba-lomba menyumbangkan pikiran mereka dalam bentuk publikasi ilmiah. Dengan adanya publikasi ilmiah tersebut diharapkan dapat membantu mempertahankan keberadaan sekaligus meningkatkan perkembangan bahasa Madura ke depan.

Keywords: scientific studies, Madurese language, the future

A. Introduction

As a language which has numerous speakers, Madurese language plays important roles in maintaining and developing Indonesian language. There are at least two major roles of Madurese language. The roles are; (1) the existence of Madurese language can be used as a shield of Indonesian language against the invasion of foreign languages, and (2) Madurese language can be functioned as a vocabulary donor of Indonesian language. (Azhar, 2008: 16-19).

As the shield of Indonesian language, Madurese language protects Indonesian language against the invasion of foreign languages particularly English and Mandarin. This shield in actual form is the mind-set of Madurese people to conserve their properties, which, one of them is Madurese language. If Madurese are not able to protect their language, this shows that Madurese have negative attitude towards their language. In contrary, if Madurese are able to protect their language, this shows that Madurese are responsible enough towards their language. If they have good attitudes, they will hardly loose their language and will perform any possible efforts to maintain it.

This hard-loosen feeling is shown by Madurese by always use Madurese language in their daily activities. Not only that, they will also pay much attention to the existence of the language. If Madurese perform no actions to preserve the existence of the language, their mother tongue will be in danger, and gradually will extinct. If this happens, Indonesian language will be influenced much by the extinction. Since Madurese do not act to preserve the existence of Madurese language, they will also take no action to Indonesian language and let it become extinct as well. The guarantee that Madurese will be successful in maintaining Indonesian language lies on the successful of Madurese to maintain their mother tongue. Since the existence of the two languages are closely related, Indonesian people have to encourage Madurese to maintain the existence of Madurese language by doing concrete actions. These concrete actions automatically lead Madurese to possess positive attitudes towards their language.

Madurese language has enormous potential to become vocabulary donor of Indonesian language. In some cases, Madurese language is richer than Indonesian language. Let us take for example in mystique and supernatural realm. In these two fields, Madurese language has more vocabulary compared to Indonesian language. Madurese language has seven indigenous lexicons to refer to an object the-so-called ”hantu” (ghost in Indonesian language). Lexicons such as Bi ibih, Din-Dhadin, Li’ Balik Bukkak, Tang Makong, Dano, Tak Cetak, Temangmang, are lexicons which belong purely to Madurese.

In agricultural area, Madurese language is far richer that Indonesian, even English. The language has numerous vocabularies to explain plants. For example, there are at least 16 Madurese lexicons referring to the parts of coconut tree such as Janor, Manggar, Bluluk, Cengker, Ro’ merro’, Beggan, Klareh, Ombu’, Baluggung, Karocok, Lenteh, Ompay, Rabet’, Seppet, Bhetok, Tapes and Parseh.

Madurese language also possesses various lexicons to refer to animals. There are at least 14 lexicons to refer to the baby of animals such as Bellu’ (a foal), Cemmeng (a kitten), Pejji (a chick), Re-merre (a duckling), Empe’ (a calf), Kapendhit (an elephant’s baby), Re’ kere’ (a puppy), De be’ (a tadpole).  Just compare to Indonesian that only has a word “anak” before the animals to refer to all of the animals mentioned above (anak kuda, anak katak, anak sapi etc.).

In fishery realm, Madurese language is also well-known for its vocabulary. Lexicons such as tatapan (ship’s floor), solo (hunting fish at night by bringing torch), Senggi’ (small animal can be found at beach’s sand), and many more are lexicons which also belong purely to Madurese language.  

Even in inappropriate things such as to swear and to mention feces, Madurese language is also richer that Indonesian and English, There are 4 different words to refer to feces, such as: clattong (to cow, horse, camel and buffalo’s feces) temanco’ (to any kinds of birds’ feces ), cerek and taeh (to human). Just compare to Indonesian that only has a single word (tinja) to refer to all kinds of feces. In swearing, Madurese language has at least 34 different words which are commonly used to swear (Damanhuri, 2008).

Although Madurese language plays important roles in maintaining and developing Indonesian language, the efforts to conserve it are not numerous. There are some proves showing this: (1) the curriculum of Madurese studies in school have not been well established, (2) not many routine activities related to Madurese language have been done by Madurese local governments, (3) there is no standardization of Madurese language spelling, lexicon, terminology and grammar. The three mentioned above are the obstacles of the improvement of Madurese language. (Azhar, 2008)

Beside the three factors above, there is also another factor (the forth factor) that plays as an obstacle towards the improvements of Madurese language. The factor is the minimum efforts to inventory Madurese language aspects in the form of scientific publications. Without publications, Madurese language will never be well recognized nationally and of course internationally, thus the inclination or declination of Madurese language will not be known. This paper discusses this obstacle.

This paper in general underlines the minimum efforts to inventory Madurese language studies. By observing the titles of former publications related to Madurese language studies, we will be able to summarize the improvements of Madurese language studies and conclude whether the studies have been well developed or not. Some aspects which have not been studied by previous studies can be used as a sort of recommendations. This recommendation will guide other linguists by giving the information of, which parts of Madurese language are suit to study in the future.

To make the discussions of this topic focus, the discussions will be guided by three research questions. The questions are: (1) how is the improvements of Madurese language studies? (from the past to present); (2) what fields have not been touched by the previous studies?; and, (3) what kind of studies are recommended for other linguists to do in the future?

B. Discussions

Past to Present of Madurese Language Studies

The writer’s book catalogues browsing at found 126 publications about Madurese language studies. The 126 collections were all preserved in the national library. They collections were: 10 publications about Madurese language in general, 3 publications on Phonology, 3 publications on Morphology,  2 publications on Morphology and Syntax, 12 publications of Madurese language research,  2 publications on syntax,  1 publication on pronunciation, 4 publications on education, 15 publications written using Javanese script, 4 publications written  using Arabic script, 8 publications written  using Latin script, 21 publications of written  using Latin and Javanese script, 12 publications written using Madurese script, 6 dictionaries, 1 publication of Madurese songs’ lyrics, and 22 manuscripts of Madurese vocabulary written using Dutch and Javanese language.

The numbers of publications related to Mudurese language found in three university e-libraries (e-library of State University of Malang, e-library ofAirlanggaUniversityand e-library ofIndonesiaUniversity) were not as much as the numbers of publications found in the national e-library. In the three university e-libraries, there were found 15 publications. Five publications belonged to the e-library of State University of Malang, 5 publications belonged to the Airlangga university’s and 5 publications belonged to theIndonesiaUniversity’s

The existence of Madurese language publications in several national e-libraries shows us that Madurese language has attracted many people to study it. This of course brings good news for us. Unfortunately, from the total publications found there, they belong to only 25 titles of publications. This means that although the copy numbers of publications are quite numerous, yet, since they only refer to 25 titles, the numbers of publications are tiny.

If the writer adds the tiny numbers of publications with the numbers of the writer’s Madurese books’ collection, they do not show any significant number. They only increase from 25 to 68 titles of publication. This gives a negative picture that from 131 years of the development of Madurese language studies (1874- to present (2011)); linguists or the people who concern to the development of Madurese have publicized only 68 titles of books, articles or research reports.

Another finding shows us that from the 68 publication titles, only a few can be considered having a good quality as most of them are written based on poor theoretical foundations. The next sad thing is, most of the books are old publications which were published between 1900 to 1990.

The result of literature study also found four other interesting things, those are: (1) most of the scientific publications concentrated on the internal aspects of Madurese language such as morphology, phonology, grammar and syntax, (2) studies on the external aspects of the language such as pragmatics, discourse analysis, and so forth are barely found, (3) “deep” scientific publications on Madurese language were mostly written by foreign linguists,  and (4) most of Madurese language scientific studies which were conducted by Indonesian people had been done because of the funding programs of government.

Works which appear within a scientific discipline usually have patterns. The patterns usually appear because of the trend within the discipline and the issues discussed and launched by the promoters of the discipline. This is actually also occurs in linguistics. Trends and issues in linguistics emerge many schools in linguistics such as prescriptive-descriptive linguistics, behavioral-structural linguistics, diachronic-sinchronic linguistics, traditional-transformational-tagmemic-systemic functional linguistics, and others.

Uniquely, trends and issues in linguistics do not affect much on the publications found in this literature study. This of course brings consequence, such as it is hard for us to map or divide the developments of Madurese language scientific studies into phases. The information that can be obtained covers three; (1) the time when the first studies was conducted (2) the phases of Madurese studies based on years, and (2) the time when Madurese studies were in their golden age.

Based on the writer’s literature study, it was found that the beginning of Madurese language studies was around 1870. Madurese language publications were firstly initiated by Vreede in 1874-1876 and 1882-1890. Not long after that, in 1880 the second publication appeared. This publication was introduced by Elsevier-Stokmans and Marinissen.

The most serious works during Dutch colonialization were the two volume of grammar books under topic “the study of Madurese phonology, word formation process and syntax of Madurese language.” The books were commenced by Kilaan. In 1904, Kilaan compiled a well-organized Madurese dictionary entitled Madoereesch-Nederland Woor-denboek. Another briefer dictionary was printed by Penninga and Hendrik. Their work was publicized in 1913. In 1913 also, solely, Hendrik, publicized his own book entitled  “Madoereeshe beknope opgave van de gronden der Madoereesche taal met beschrijving van klankleer en uitspraak.”

Between 1920 to 1950, not many studies were done, thus, this phase known as the “the silent phase” of Madurese language studies. If there were found sort of studies, most of them were only a practical guide to Dutch planters, such as the publication of Sosroandoekoesoemo (1921), Elsevier-Styockman and Marinissen (1930), Penninga and Hendriks (1937), and Wirjowidjojo (1939). A quite serious article written during this era was published by Berg (1941). In that time, the focus of Berg’s study was on spelling and pronunciation. Also in this era, another scientific works which were written in Madurese language found. These publications belonged to Wirjoasmoro (1950, 1952).

The third phase of Madurese language studies was in the year of 1960ies. In this period, Madurese language studies which had faded after Kilaan’s era, were re-established. The studies were done by two linguist; Uhlenbeck (1964), and Stevens (1968). The last mentioned name had a huge enthusiasm in studying Madurese language and had been publicizing five studies (1965, 1966, 1968, 1985, 1991) since then. The two gentlemen above can be categorized as the inspirators of theoretical Madurese studies, since after this phase (1970 and after), Madurese language studies speeded up.

The forth phase lies around 1970 to 1980. In this phase, the trend of Madurese language studies gradually resembled. They mostly covered two aspects of language; phonetics-phonology, and reduplication (morphology). Publications on the phonological-and phonetical aspects were germinated by Trigo (1987, 1989) and Budi (1989). Publications on the aspects of reduplication were done by Marantz (1982), Stevens (1985), McCarthy and Prince (1986), Weeda (1987), Moehnilabib (1979) and Pratista (1984).

Also in this phase, studies of Madurese language focusing on education, grammar, morphology and a view part of dialectology were also performed. The studies were done by Huda, N, Saliwangi, and Taryono (1981), Soegianto (1981) (education), Aminuddin, A, Sadtono N, & Widodo (1984) (grammar), and also Zainudin (1978), followed by Saksomo (1985) (mophology). The dialectology study was done by Sugianto, et al (1981/1982).

 The fifth phase appear between 1990 to present. In this phase, the interest has changed from descriptive-structural which focuses mostly on the internal aspect of language such as lexicography, grammar, phonology, morphology and syntax, to become more various. They also touch the external aspects of language such as sociolinguistic, education, and comparative linguistics (both synchronic and diachronic). Though vary in field, yet the variation of the study is far from our expectation. The studies of Madurese language started 131 years ago, yet the studies have still focused on the internal aspects of the language.

The emphasis of the studies has changed on the present phase, yet still, the publications on the internal aspects of Madurese language dominate. Lexicography studies have been done by Parwira (2009) and Pakem Maddhu team (2007). Grammar studies have been done by Sofyan, et al (2008) and Davies (2010). Phonology-phonetics studies have been done by Anderson (1991), Budhiwiyanto (2010), Chon (1991, 1993), Cohn & Ham (1998), Cohn & Loockwood (1994), Davies (2000, 2001, 2003, 2005). Morphology studies have been done by Davies (1999 & 2003). Sintax studies have been done by Asrumi (1992), Sugianto (1994), and Wibisono (2001). In this periode, William D. Davies, has contributed much on the study of the internal aspects of Madurese language.

Beside the studies on the internal aspects of Madurese language, in the same phase, several studies on the external aspects of Madurese have been done. The studies cover sociolinguistics, language education, and comparative linguistics field. Sociolinguistics studies have been done by Asrumi (1993), Azhar (2006, 2008, 2008, 2009, 2009, and 2010), Damanhuri (2008), Jupriono (2010), Kusnadi (2008), Rifai (2009), Saddhono (2006), Sofyan (1992&2008) and Wibisono 2007. Comparative studies have been done by Azhar (2010) and Kusuma (1992). Language education study has been done by Ardiana (1993).

 The Future of Madurese Language Studies

The previous chapter has shown us that although Madurese language studies have been started for 131 years, yet the improvement of the studies has not been significant. The minimum improvement is shown by the quantity of scientific paper’s articles related to Madurese language, and the scope of the studies which only cover some internal aspects of linguistics. One internal aspect that has not been touched is semantics. Other several aspects of linguistics such as discourse analysis, pragmatics, psycholinguistics, have not been initiated.

Subjects which have not been studied are hoped to be filled by many publications written by contemporary linguists and Madurese language observers. These publications are very important for Madurese since they are racing with time. Though Madure language is widely spoken by Madurese people, yet we cannot deny that there is somewhat concern in the heart of linguists and language observers that Madurese are soon to vanish. This concern appears because nowadays many teenagers tend to abandon their mother tongue. This trend is worried to kindle the process of extermination of Madurese language. Without any conservation activities, such as publishing scientific papers, Madurese language will only become a name in the future.

Beside the external studies above, status and corpus studies of Madurese language and their implementations must be considered to be done as soon as possible. Status plan is the giving of clear position to Madurese language as a local language. A clear position for Madurese language means a guarantee; a guarantee from the central and local government to conserve it. This status plan also includes the role of local government towards the language, basic rules how to use it, the spreading plan of the language, the encouragement to Madurese speakers to use it. Corpus plan on the other hand is the effort to codify all aspects of Madurese language in order to better it, so that it can be used easily not only in written but also in spoken. Aspects which are codified include spelling, vocabulary, terminology, dictionary, textbook, literature and language education materials. The two plans are believed not only slower the vanishing process of Madurese language but also empower the language bigger.

F. Conclusion

Based on the explanation above, we can conclude that although Madurese language play vital roles in maintaining and developing Indonesian language, the actions to conserve it have not been numerously done. It can be seen from the quantity of Madurese language scientific publication titles found in several e-libraries.

The result of literature study which has been done by the writer shows some negative facts related to the scientific publication in several libraries. Although Madurese language studies have been started for 131 years, yet the improvement of the studies has not been significant.  From 131 years of the development of Madurese language studies (1874- to present (2011)); linguists or the people who concern to the development of Madurese have publicized only 68 titles of books, articles or research reports. This sad fact must be overcome as soon as possible and one of the way to overcome this problem is by doing inventorying action such as filling the fields which have not been studied by contemporary linguists and Madurese language observers with a large numbers of scientific publications.

These publications are very important for Madurese since they are racing with time. Without any conservation activities, such as publishing scientific papers, Madurese language will only become a name in the future.


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[1] Dosen FISIB Universitas Negeri Trunojoyo Madura

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