Ecolinguistics by Komang Satya Permadi

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Ecolinguistics by Komang Satya Permadi

Text of Ecolinguistics by Komang Satya Permadi

  • Komang Satya Permadi (2013) English Education Post Graduate Program - Ganesha University of Education



    Komang Satya Permadi

    Ganesha University of Education

    Singaraja, Indonesia

    1. Introduction

    Basically, there are two levels of linguistic studies, a micro- and a macro- level. In the

    microlinguistics is study of the structure of a language system where no complementary issues

    are referred to. At this level, the structures of a system are identified, described, and explained to

    include levels like phonology, morphology, and syntax. Meanwhile in Macrolinguistics is the

    study to understand the role of the individual within the system of language, dealing with issues

    that why the individual relates to a particular science, and how he relates to this science. The

    macro level has a broad scope. It merges overlapping interests from the study of language with

    other fields of enquiry like Sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, biolinguistics, ethnolinguistics,

    and ecolinguistics (Derni, 2008).

    A sharp link is made between language and its social context. A social correlation

    explains how social constraints come to control and manipulate language use, so that a sharp link

    is made between language and its social context. A psychological one deals with language as a

    product of interpersonal and intrapersonal motives and explains linguistic behavior in correlation

    with the human mind and the different psychological mechanisms. A biological perception rises

    up questions that relate language with biology. It determines biological factors that make humans

    able to acquire and use a verbal system of communication. An ethnographic correlation however

    raises issues that link linguistic behaviour to ethnographic findings so that language is perceived

    as a cultural phenomenon. An ecological perspective; however, supports the view that language

    is used in unpredictable and unconstrained ways. At this point, ecolinguistics relates language as

    identity of the speaker and the ecological structure that he belongs to, as a member of a particular

    speech community, living in a given environment characterized by identical social and cultural

    values (Derni, 2008).

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    Ecolinguistics is the study of language according to the environment it is used in (Derni,

    2008). This term emerged in 1990 as a new paradigm of language study that speculates not only

    the intra- relations, the inter-relations, and the extra-relations of language and environment, but

    also combinations of these relations, which will be explained in the next part.

    2. Ecolinguistics Branches

    Ecolinguistics can be divided into 2 branches, as follows: eco-critical discourse analysis

    and linguistic ecology.

    a) Eco-Critical Discourse Analysis

    Eco-critical discourse analysis aims at showing correlations in discourse

    between language and ecological phenomena. Eco-critical discourse analysis

    includes the application of critical discourse analysis to texts and documents about

    the environment. Many examples from newspaper texts, for example; environmental

    contaminations that occur in certain places, advertisements, for example; Go green

    plastic bag and political texts, for example, text about the leadership of Joko Widodo

    that able to establish a park near Pluit Lake, North Jakarta. All of the texts are related

    to nature that also creates an awareness of how language can contribute to an

    irresponsible use of nature contribute to the solution of environmental problems

    (Derni, 2008).

    According to Bundsgaard and Steffensen (2000) in Derni (2008), there exist

    three types of relations that are to be considered in an eco-discourse analysis. These

    are the inter-relations, the intra-relations and the extra-relations. Intra-relations are

    relations within the individuality. Inter-relations are between an individuality and

    other individualities of the same kind or species. Extra-relations are relations

    between an individuality and other individualities of other kinds or species.

    Therefore, it is clear that, Eco-Critical Discourse Analysis texts or documents will be

    always related to those three types of relations.

    In relation to explanation of types of relations above, Bang and Dr (1990) in

    Derni (2008) elaborates Triple Model of Reference to globalize the referential parts

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    of a text. These models include; the intra, the inter, and the extra textual refrence,

    and the referred part of the text. Furthermore these three types of relations inspected

    at the inter, the intra, and the extra levels correspond to three other types of

    categories. These are respectively the semantic, the syntactic, and the pragmatic

    levels. In detail, the inter-relation of linguistic units to natural environment, semantic

    comparisons are to be made. The intra-relation level and the association of internal

    factors to linguistic forms are viewed in terms of syntactic attributions; that is the

    way these units are structured and the rules for their combination. The extra-relation

    in its turn encounters linguistic choices, some external motives that are related to the

    environment in which language can be used. For example; flood happen in a city, the

    people who see this disaster will think about rain, irrigation system, and junk

    everywhere. At this point inter relation level is occur. Afterward, the people will

    combine this series of cause and effect structured, if the rain happens, the flood will

    arise in that city because the junk is everywhere, and the irrigation system will not

    able to swallow all of the junk then will overflow the water. These structured units

    combination is called intra-relation level. Then extra-relation will occur when the

    people communicate this happening to the other people or write it down as news to

    inform the other people with appropriate word.

    b) Language Ecology

    This study is firstly introduced by Einar Haugen in 1970. According to

    Haugen (1970) in Kramsch and Steffensen (2008) language ecology is the study of

    interactions between any given language and its environment. Haugen also stated

    that language can be best understood in its social context. Language ecology not

    only determines spoken utterances but also written texts. Haugen beliefs that

    environmental interactions occur with the extra-relations of language and


    Haugen rises a new term ecology to deal with the social environment and also

    to support their belief while conducting research in any language community.

    According to Haugen (1970) in Derni (2008) he states that part of its ecology is

    therefore psychological: its interaction with other languages in the minds of bi- and

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    multilingual speakers. Another part of its ecology is sociological: its interaction with

    the society in which it functions as a medium of communication. This assumption to

    correlate social environment with mental and emotional that used in appropriate


    In addition, Fill (1993) in Al-Gayoni (2012:28) states that ecolinguistics is a

    new branch of linguistics which investigates the role of language in the development

    and possible solution of ecological and environmental problems. It can be said that

    ecolinguistics is a study of preservation of linguistic diversity.

    3. Ecolinguistics Issues in Indonesia

    Environment is one issue that is being discussed today. Climate changes due to

    greenhouse effect in which it implicates the rising of the sea level. Indirectly, those things cause

    social and natural life from coast up to mountains and it lead to environmental diversity changes.

    These changes do not only result on existence of the environment and organism, moreover it will

    direct to deeper points such as norms, culture and existence of linguistic diversity. Languages

    will not be able to survive, if it is not inherited to the next young generation. Furthermore,

    dominance of international, regional and national language intervene the existence of minority

    language in certain area (Al-Gayoni, 2012). The fact that human languages are rapidly dying out

    (from 6,500 languages today to maybe 650 in the coming two generations) is increasingly

    perceived as an urgent problem (Mhlhusler, 2002)

    Indonesia has known this study, some researcher in Indonesia used ecolinguistics to find

    out and to conserve the local language. Like what was happened in Takengen, Aceh. There were

    128 villages around a lake which were recorded at the earlier time. But nowadays, the young

    generations do not know the name of the village since the civilization immigrated to other village

    around the lake. The causes of immigration were earthquakes, tsunamis, and the overflowing of

    the lake. This ecological change made some of the villages merging each other. Furthermore, the

    ecological changes also made a language change in the merged villages. Some of the words in

    the languages were also missed. The example is the word smong (smong is huge tidal waves)

    which is called tsunami nowadays (Al-Gayoni, 2012:11). In addition, value, ideology, and

    culture in the merged villages were also changed and it became the villages identity.

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    The other researcher also did an ecolinguistics research in Bali. The res