Gateway to the West: Dutch Language in the Dutch East Indies 1600-1950 - A History of Colonial Language Policy (Paperback)

by Kees Groeneboer

Format: Paperback 400 pages

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This history of language policy traces the fortunes of Dutch in the East Indies from the arrival of the first Dutchmen in the Indonesian archipelago at the end of the sixteenth century to the transfer of sovereignty in 1949. Groeneboer explores the authorities' intentions with regard to Dutch and the roles it actually played, surrounded as it was by many other languages. Besides official government policy, ideas and practices in education, missions, and cultural and political organizations make for a broad and detailed picture. Education occupies a key position in this constellation, as it both implemented official policy and developed its own. Close attention is given to issues such as the 'classroom language controversy' (which language would be used for the various types of schooling?) as well as to questions of the quality of the Dutch spoken, the various forms of 'Indo-Dutch', and the methods for teaching Dutch as mother tongue and as a foreign (classroom) language. This study provides the first complete overview of the role of Dutch in the archipelago. A story of 'too little and too late,' it explains why Dutch has survived there mainly in the form of loan words in the Indonesian language. The introduction presents a comparison with the language policies of the other colonial powers in Asia: the Portuguese in Asia as a whole, the English in British India, the Spanish and Americans in the Philippines, and the French in Indochina.

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Amsterdam University Press


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