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UNAIR language expert explores Indonesian language potential post-UNESCO recognition

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declares the Indonesian language as the 10th official language. (Photo: By courtesy)

UNAIR NEWS – UNAIR language expert responded to the Indonesian language designation as the official language at the UNESCO conference, which was held on Monday, November 20, 2023, in Paris, France. The determination made the Indonesian language the 10th official language at the UNESCO General Conference.

In an interview with UNAIR NEWS on November 22, 2023, Dr. Mochtar Lutfi SS MHum expressed his pleasure and satisfaction with the recognition. Especially when language becomes a crucial instrument in a state. Beyond a means of communication, language is a nation’s identity.

“The designation of the Indonesian language as UNESCO’s official language gives a sense of pride. The efforts to internationalize the Indonesian language are starting to make positive results,” said the Head of the Department of Indonesian Language and Literature UNAIR.

Lutfi claimed that Indonesian is a language with great potential. Within the country, over 250 million people speak Indonesian. Since the 2010s, there have been around 140,000 foreigners studying the language.

“It’s a highly potential language with many speakers, which makes it suitable to be an international language,” he said.

Lutfi noted that the Indonesian language is capable of uniting the whole Indonesian citizens. Someone who learns the Indonesian language will be able to communicate with the entire community.

“For us, Indonesian is a national language. All ethnic groups here interact using the same language. Foreigners only need to learn one language to communicate with Indonesians,” said the language expert from the Faculty of Humanities Universitas Airlangga.

Lutfi further explained the academic community’s role in making achievements from the potential of the Indonesian language. They must support, appreciate, and develop the language.

Besides, the academic community can also find and propose unique Indonesian cultures, which indirectly will contribute to raising the recognition of the Indonesian language globally.

“Indonesian has great potential to become an international language. Therefore, we should showcase and propose cultures to gain worldwide recognition,” he said.

Author: Muhammad Rizal Abdul Aziz

Editor: Nuri Hermawan