Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

Requesting Behavior of Tenggerese Ethnic in East Java-Indonesia

Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

Requesting Behavior of Tenggerese Ethnic in East Java-Indonesia

Article excerpt

Abstract

This article explores the requesting behavior of Tenggerese ethnic, a relic Javanese community inhibiting the highlands of mounts Bromo, Tengger, and Semeru located in East Java, Indonesia. My aim in the first part is to describe the forms of requestive utterances of the ethnic members along with the use of linguistic mitigating devices within the utterances. Through the analysis on the Tenggerese's natural conversations, I found that their requestive utterances tend to be realized in a direct illocution. Their polite behavior is manifested in the uses of mitigating devices, placed either within or outside the head act. Subsequently, I attempt to explain the relationship between their socio-cultural values and their politeness behavior in expressing requests. In this part, I argue that the verbal politeness behavior of Tenggerese, in fact, reflects the two fundamental socio-cultural principles of Tenggerese, i.e. the principles of group harmony and deference.

Keywords: Tenggerese requesting behavior, Mitigating devices, Socio-cultural values

1. Introduction

This paper addresses the request behavior of Tenggerese ethnic inhibiting the highlands of mounts Bromo, Tengger, and Semeru located in East Java, Indonesia. This ethnic is historically linked to the decendents of a group of Javanese people escorting the King of Majapahit, Prabu Brawijaya, fleeing from the kingdom to the highlands of Bromo due to the civil war occuring in 16th century. As the King proceeded his escape to Bali, because of feeling unsafe, some of the followers chose to stay in the highlands of mounts Tengger-Bromo-Semeru, developing a community currently named as Tenggerese ethnic. The members of this ethnic speaks old Javanese, which is slightly different from the modern dialect commonly spoken by Javanese people nowadays.

This ethnic group is culturally unique because of its traditional and religious ways of life despite its surrounding modern Javanese counterparts. They still strongly hold up the old Javanese socio-cultural values and Hinduism. The old Javanese traditions are well-maintained and fully practiced in their daily lives. Religious rites are still routinely carried out as to worship their God and respect their ancients whom they believe still alive after their death. They believe in karma, a revenge system by which one's fortune after his or her death is determined by the quality of his or her deed during worldly living. That is why every ethnic member tends to behave in a such a way that they are not to hurt or to make others suffer from losses since, if they do so, they will someday get the same misfortune as the person whom they had treated badly.

Based on the teaching of Hinduism, Tenggerese people (TP) hold up a life guideline named Welas Asih Pepitu, which means 'seven kinds of love and care', on which they must adjust and assess the propriety of their behavior (Waluyo dan Setiawati, 1997). This life guideline includes such moral precepts as (1) Welas asih marang Bapa Kuasa (Love and care of God as the Creator of Universe), (2) Welas asih marang Ibu Pertiwi (Love and care of the State and the motherland), (3) Welas asih marang Bapa Biyung (Love and care of Father and Mother), (4) Welas asih marang rasa jiwa (Love and care of soul), (5) Welas asih marang sepadhane urip (Love and care of human beings), (6) Welas asih marang sato kewan (Love and care of animals), and (7) Welas asih marang tandur tuwuh (Love and care of plants). Such a life guideline is strongly endorsed to be manifested on TP's behaviors and social conducts. At present, TP's lives are still prominently colored by the spirits of togetherness and mutual assistance and respect whereas such spirits have currently begun to fade away in other groups of Javanese in general.

Considered to be culturally unique, this ethnic is of a preferable testing medium for the validity of theoretical framework of Brown & Levinson (1987), especially in relation to the claim that an act of requesting is of a negative face-threatening act (FTA) (1987, p. …

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