Standard And Non Standard Dialect English Language Essay

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Linguists would define language as a system of arbitrary vocal symbols used for human communication which may consist of several dialects. Here, dialect is a variety of a certain language, spoken in one part of a country (regional dialect), whose difference can be encountered in some words, and/or pronunciation from other forms of the same language. Dialects and their uniqueness in the application have been the sole point of discussion in sociolinguistics, attracting many linguists to learn about them deeply.

Indonesia, as the parameter in this paper, consists of many ethnics and cultures with their own unique languages, thus it is likely that Indonesia possesses many local languages. Nonetheless, Bahasa Indonesia is claimed to be a national language that is expected to be a means to unite all citizens despite their different cultural background. In this case, although each region has its own local language, which is distinct and not just a dialect, virtually everyone now speaks Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian Language). In order to unify such a diverse nation, a common language is clearly needed. The phenomenon of dialects along with its variants is the main concern in this paper.


According to Francis (1992) and Romaine (1994) dialects are the variants or varieties of a language used by different speakers who are separated by geographic or social boundaries. Furthermore, Einer Haugen, as quoted in Hudson (1996) states that English made no distinction between language and dialect, but when the Renaissance period, the term dialect was borrowed from Greek, and it refers to the distinct varieties used in classical Greek in relation to different area and kind of literature. If we look further into a smaller scope of language in Indonesia, every local language will have its own regional dialects. Even within a geographical area which is not very wide, still there is probability that a local language varies. As a consequence, each regional dialect will also have their standard dialect used by the members of that particular regional area.

Furthermore, Chambers and Trudgill (1998), quoted in Hudson (2000) stated that a dialect is popularly considered to be ‘a sub-standard, low status, often rustic form of a language, lacking in prestige.’ Meanwhile standard dialect is used within the area and might not be understood by people coming from outside of the area. A standard language (also standard dialect, standardized dialect) is a particular variety of a language that is considered to be prestigious within a speech community. The standard will usually be institutionalized, often by being given legal status, and then used as the norm in mass media, education, and other social institutions.


The explanation above grants us view that standard dialect is different with non-standard dialect which is called regional dialect. We can see the differences between them in terms of their function as well as the area where they are applied. Related with its function, standard dialect will be used universally and usually known by the whole user of the regional dialects of the same language. In regard to the area, the standard dialect is known and widely used by every person in a particularly wide area where that language being used meanwhile the non-standard dialects or regional dialects is the dialect that is used in a relatively smaller area. Here, commonly, local language shows from which province/area we come from and regional dialects shows from which area in certain province we come from. It means that standard dialect has a wider range than non-standard dialects.

As one of the local language in Indonesia, Balinese language can be a good example in describing the varieties of dialects in certain area in Indonesia. Balinese language is the official language for Balinese community which is used at any formal situation in the Balinese society such as community meeting, wedding ceremony, priest speech at the temple etc.

There are some dialects of Balinese language in Bali, usually based on the regency where it is spoken, so commonly there is Gianyar dialect, Bangli dialect, Tabanan dialect, Negara dialect and so on. However, no matter what dialect it is, the language,in this case Balinese Language basically is the same both in terms of grammar and syntax. They are just slightly different in the tone/rhythm, pronunciation, and few vocabularies. Most importantly, Balinese people speaking different dialects can still understand each other at the very least.

Compared some Balinese words such as : Tuba = poison, Bubu = basket fish trap, Pedau = boat, Layar = sail, Talas = Taro, Ubi = Yam, Tebu = sugar cane, Nyuh = coconut, Lemo = citrus, Pandan = pandanus, Buah = areca. Among those smaller groups of languages further variations or dialect can be still found especially the level of morphemic construction and phonemes. It is interesting to find that beside various dialects that exist in Balinese language, there is also the difference in intonation. The group of intonation does not necessarily bring into one as a unit of dialect. In the future with the presence of modern communication means as an interface of human being, this intonation and dialects will move toward homogenous elements. So, the dialects among Balinese people are mostly similar in grammatical aspect but are different in term of intonation, vocabularies and accent.

The nature of the existence of cultural dialect is not aimed to give limitation to the freedom of expression, apparently it is to give view that expressions may differ across cultural groups. The standardized expressions served as a control for the perceiver effects discussed above such as greater motivation or preference for one’s own perceived ethnic group, stereotypes about the likely emotions experienced by different groups, and decoding rules which should all be equal when judging these two sets of expressions. For these reasons, we argue that regional dialects may vary in their impact across emotions.

However, although there are several aspects that differentiate those regional dialects in certain local language, we cannot absolutely determine exactly which dialect belong to certain area, or which vocabularies or intonation belong to certain dialect, etc. The line between them is not clear and the most critical standards of differentiating them rely on the social facts as well as the linguistic facts itself.

As what is explained above, sometimes when the people with different dialect (although with the same standard language) meet each other, they can feel strange, funny or the worst they cannot understand the meaning of certain statement used by their partner. This is how dialects are being evaluated within the social community. There is no such term better or best dialect, there is only the feeling of being accustomed and not accustomed to a certain dialcet. For example, Balinese language. When Tabanan people with Tabanan dialect talk each other, they can understand each other and the conversation goes well as usual. But when Tabanan people meet Singaraja people that also have their own dialect, there will be something unusual. Tabanan people may feel strange or even funny because the different with their own dialect, but the same thing will happen with Singaraja people, too. So, these dialects which are different from one area to another area in Bali, can be such a characteristic of that area that can help the people from another area identify where they come from. The point here is that every people have to respect each other in terms of dialect use. They can have different dialect but, to make the conversation safe, they can use the standard dialect. So, everything about dialect itself is evaluated by the community in which, there is no absolute decision about this evaluation because everyone can have their own evaluation about these dialects.

The people who use dialect itself are the social community where that dialect exists. As a matter of fact, any dialect will not last unless the community uses it. Here, the language will be formed based on the culture in that area and becomes tradition from one generation to the next. These dialects usually can be learnt by the community through the daily conversation. For those, who become native speaker of that dialect, it can be formed and acquired naturally because their environment. Furthermore, for those who are not native speakers of that dialect, this dialect also can be learnt through a frequent use of dialect itself. For example the one who firstly used Gianyar dialect, but because he/she lives in Singaraja for a long time and usually make interactions and conversations with Singaraja’s people, he/she can use Singaraja dialect also. He/she will automatically follow the dominating dialect because that is the dialect in his/her new environment.


In conclusion, language as a means of communication might be found varied. The variation is known as dialects, whose differences comprise intonation, pronunciation, as well as vocabulary. The dialects within the society exist in two forms namely the standard and non standard dialect. Both of the variants share one thing in common, that is they are of the same language. However, the differences between them are that standardized dialect is considered to be more prestigious, and is applied in wider area compared with the non standard dialect. Dialects are acquired through the daily conversation, through other people who are involved in a talk. Thus, any dialect that has ever been created should be kept in use in order for the dialect itself not to be perished.