Indonesia is one of the world’s most culturally diverse nations, with numerous rituals, practices, and performances central to their culture. Abun language is one example.
With over 700 languages spoken across the archipelago, Indonesia’s linguistic diversity shouldn’t surprise.
Meanwhile, Papua itself has approximately 270 languages. Diversity in languages is not just about the number of languages but also about the characteristics of those languages.
Languages in Papua are partitioned into two significant groups, specifically Austronesian and non-Austronesian languages (or the language of Papua). Let’s get to know the Abun language better.
A Brief History of the Abun Language
Abun, in the etymology of the word, means snake language. A means language, and Bun means snake. If translated means snake language.
Yimbun, Anden, Manif, and Pantai Karon are all alternative names for the Abun language. The Abun people of Papua speak this language, and they live on the north coast of the Bird’s Head Peninsula in the Sausapor District of the Tambrauw Regency.
There were three lexical tones in Abun in the past, but only two can now be distinguished as minimal pairs, and even these are only found in the limited vocabulary. As a result, linguistic change is believed to be causing Abun to lose its tonality.
Abun comes into contact with Austronesian languages because it is spoken along the coast of northwestern New Guinea, Abun has borrowed maritime vocabulary from Biak.
Abun Language Speakers and Its Dialect
According to data from 1995, 3000 people speak this language. They are spread out across several isolated hamlets and 18 villages. The Abun language has 3 dialects, such as Abun Tat (Karon Pantai), Abu Ji (Madik), Abu Je.
The use of /r/ or /l/ distinguishes the two dialects of Abun Ji. From Abun Tat to Abun Ji /l/, Abun can be found on a dialect continuum: Abun Tat speakers are less able than Abun Ye speakers to comprehend Abun Ji.
The Existence of the Abun Language Today
The Chief of the Abun Tribe, Nelwan Yeblo, acknowledged that the Abun people speak a snake-like language. According to him, the Abun language is a language that has long been inherited and still exists today.
The Abun language is spoken by the Abun tribe, which oversees 24 clans. Indeed, he stated that dialectic differences do not diminish the substance of the Abun language itself.
He stated that the Abun language is a unit with additional firmly established potential. The inheritance system is also straightforward, as each parent must teach their children to speak their native tongue in everyday interactions.
Additionally, he acknowledged that the diversity of regional languages makes them susceptible to extinction. This is because the number of Indonesians who speak their mother tongue has declined over time.
The United Nations (UN) asserts that globalization has diminished cultural diversity. This can make opportunities, traditions, memories, ways of thinking, and expression unique to each region different.
There has indeed been a shift if it is connected to the Abun language’s existence. However, the shift is restricted to specific areas. For instance, urban Abun residents do not automatically have the right to use the Abun language for everyday communication.
Amid developments that continue to have the effect of extinction, the Abun people who still live in the interior serve as the foundation for defending the regional language.
Therefore, when the Abun people who live in the city have lost their native language, the Abun people who live in the interior save the Abun language as a whole. Everyone must ensure that regional languages are preserved because language is a form of cultural wealth.