Address terms, framing and identity in Indonesian youth interaction

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Few, if any, studies have explored the use of address terms by Indonesian youth in naturally-occurring conversations. Yet, address terms are among the most pragmatically salient indices of identity for speakers, hearers and analysts. This paper examines how Javanese youth in Malang, East Java, use address terms to enact interactional stances in Indonesian-language conversations. Results show that the selection of address terms is primarily influenced by Javanese/Indonesian socio-cultural framing norms. Yet, speakers in Malang are also shown to select address terms outside of Javanese/Indonesian sociocultural norms. These supra-Javanese forms are often selected to accomplish specific discursive goals such as face-threatening acts or to enact stances of solidarity based on religion, identity or intimacy. The results of this study reveal tension between Javanese hierarchical norms and the equality and fluid communication of a youth social identity, known as gaul. This paper closes with a discussion of how the selection of address terms outside of Javanese/Indonesian socio-cultural norms may lead to changes in the local sociolinguistic environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-93
Number of pages11
JournalNusa: linguistic studies of Indonesian and other languages in Indonesia
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Cite this