The Amber Language and the Extinction of Regional Languages in Papua

Amber language

One more language in Papua that you may have heard of is Amber language. This language enriches the language and culture in Papua. Let’s explore this further.

The Diversity in Papua

The Diversity in Papua

Differences in regional topography largely determine the diversity of indigenous peoples and languages on the island of Papua. This helps shape the diversity of cultural types and local community identities, including language.

Tribal diversity in West Papua is increasingly complex through the presence of various tribes from other regions. It began with integrating West Papua into Indonesian territory in 1963.

The Amber Language

Amber language is spoken in Kampung Kawe, West Waigeo District, Raja Ampat Regency, West Papua Province.

According to residents, Amber language is also spoken in the west and east of Kampung Kawe. Some people in the east of this village also speak the Beser language.

The people in the north of this village speak Ayau language. Meanwhile, to the south of Kampung Kawe, the people speak the Gebe language.

Based on the results of dialect metric calculations, which is the result of comparing Amber isolects with other languages around it, they are different languages with a percentage of 81 – 100%.

Compared with the Samate language, it has a difference of 92%. If you compare it with the Wardo language, it has a 97% difference.

Then Selegof is 93%, Maya 87%, with Maya Legenyam-Kawei 84%, and Beser language 98%.

The Amber People

The presence of non-Papuan tribes, in terms of ethnic polarization, is seen by Papuans as immigrant communities.

The term Amberi people is mostly used by Papuans to refer to those who are not native. So, the Amber people are people who come and live in Papua and are also non-Papuan ethnic groups who were born and raised in Papua.

How is the Development of Regional Languages in Papua

The high intensity of Indonesian use among Papuans and its potential to shift the use of local languages is unstoppable.

But this also has a positive impact because the Indonesian language has helped the process of adaptation and interaction between tribes in Papua and between Papuans and tribes that come from outside.

Social interactions emphasize the use of Indonesian in Papuan society. This is also due to factors such as mixed marriages and development demands that encourage spontaneous migration from outside, causing a shift in the local population and their identities.

Then the impact of globalization and modernism also lead to the imitation of foreign cultures, especially western culture. On the other hand, this has become an ‘epidemic’ that has caused the younger generation of Papua to feel inferior about using their own mother tongue.

How can a Language Become Extinct?

A language is said to be endangered if fewer people recognize their language. Therefore, people never use their language or teach it to their children.

In addition, a language is categorized as endangered if it is used less in daily activities, so it loses its social or communicative function.

According to the Doctor of Linguistics from the University of Oxford, Willem Bird, whether or not a regional language becomes extinct depends on its speakers.

If there is contact with outsiders, the local language will gradually be affected. Depends on the language used and on geographic elements.

Many speakers of a language still live in remote and unreached areas. Their language would still be there and grow if they had no outside contact.

That’s a little about the Amber language. Every individual must always maintain their regional language and be proud of it by using it every day.