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The number of (native) speakers is very low

bay55, Mon, 2015-05-18 00:30
ISO 639-3: 

I have two main sources for why I really really hope Ethnologue will increase the "speaker count": myself as an Indonesian and a link to an article from U Hawaii that goes closely with my life experiences and observations. // I grew up Indonesia and know the culture and country. Indonesian is used in all media broadcasted nationally (meaning the great majority of media: tv, newspapers, radio, commercials, movies, singing competitions, which are huge there) rather than the island dialects. The gov mandated that schools use only Indonesian in reading, writing, and communication, and so from the age of four when kids start the first years of school, they are already exposed to Indonesian. Often times, their parents will even speak Indonesian at home before they even go to school. The point, because all education and media is in Indonesian, almost every Indonesian is fluent in Indonesian (probably fluent in their island dialect as well). // I am ASTOUNDED at Ethnologue's statistics on the number of speakers for Indonesian. I believe the last census you did was from 2000. That is very troubling since Indonesia (the country) and Indonesian (the language) are only around 70 years old (very very young compared to English or Spanish or Hindi, that may be over 1000 years old). Because of this, both Indonesia's population and therefore the number of Indonesian speakers increases by millions every year. 15 / 70 is over 20%. The data is over a fifth outdated just for the lifespan of the language itself! It is not hard to believe that the census in 2000 may have been estimated far too low a number, and over the course of 15 years, today in 2015 the statistics are completely wrong. // I have searched for hours for sources saying the number of native speakers for Indonesian is around 270 million because almost every Indonesian is fluent in Indonesian and it is also spoken in Malaysia and Singapore. The problem is, every source cites Ethnologue. With humility, I ask Ethnologue to really ask itself why it classified Indonesian as having hundreds of millions of speakers less than I truly believe is the reality, and more importantly, whether Ethnologue will fix this number to let the world know that Indonesian is important (imagine, sixth in the world!). // This is the link that supports what I know from growing up in Indonesia: // I am very sad at the current statistics here, and since everywhere I look Ethnologue is the cited source for Indonesian, Ethnologue has severely underrepresented what should be the sixth biggest language in the world according to the number of native speakers. Please reconsider what your definition of "native speaker" is. Is it not "one who is fluent in a language since childhood"? And if the answer to that is yes, there is very strong evidence that Indonesia with around 250 million native speakers of the language, plus several million more in Malaysia and Singapore, bring Indonesian to be the 6th most spoken language in the world by native speakers.

Editorial Action

We will add an L2 population figure for Indonesian [ind] in Indonesia based on the recent census.