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AHMAD SYUKRI                          408 445


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When we talk about the society, language becomes an interesting thin to talk. In communication speakers take into account normative expectations acquired in the course of socialization which allow them to anticipate the consequences of their language choices. So far, there is a number of social variables that affect choices, including the choices of codes which may be different language or dialect of the same language.

The range of choices is variable, but that speaker can and have to choose from more than one code is very common, both in bilingual societies and monolingual ones whose member think of themselves as making choices between two noticeably diverse varieties of one language. In a number of a cases, choice of these varieties does not depend on region, class, gender or age, but primarily on function context. So, in this chapter we will examine the forms of societal bilingualism and multilingualism.

















In the Society, A bilingual person is someone who speaks two languages. A person who speaks more than two languages is called ‘multilingual’ (although the term ‘bilingualism’ can be used for both situations). Multilingualism isn’t unusual; in fact, it’s the norm for most of the world’s societies. It’s possible for a person to know and use three, four, or even more languages fluently. As written in Oxfords Advance Learner’s Dictionary, bilingual means that able to speak two languages equally well because you have used them since you are very young.

There are many aspects that related to bilingualism who have the language in the communication, such as social, individual, pedagogic, and psychology term. As Dittmar, as cited by Alwasilah (1989 : 123) stated that there are four questions in examining the bilingualism, they are:

  1. Sejauh mana seseorang berdwibahasa? Bagaimana penguasaanya akan masing-masing bahasa?
  2. Dalam fungsi-fungsi apakah si penutur memakai kedua bahasa tersebut? Suasana mana memungkinkan penggunaan satu bahasa dan suasana mana untuk satu bahasa yang lainnya?
  3. Sejauh manakah si penutur berpindah bahasa? Dalam hal-hal apa saja dia bisa memilih antara kedua bahasa itu?
  4. Sejauh manakah penutur dwibahasa mennggunakan dwibahasa menggunakan dua bahasa secara terpisah sebagai system yang terpadu. Gejala-gejala interfensi apakah yang teramati dalam pemakaian ulah-alih dua bahasa? Bagaimanakah pemakaian satu bahasa yang mempengaruhi yang lainnya?

After considering the questions above, we can say that bilingualism consists of ability and psychic of speaker and also related to the social side. Mackey said, as cited by Alwashilah (1989 : 123) stated that bilingualism is not symptom of language, but it is the characteristic of the using.

Popularly the ability to speak to two languages equally or almost equally well, it is used technically to refer to any degree of knowledge of two languages by the same person (Lado as cited in Alwashilah, 124). People may become bilingual either by acquiring two languages at the same time in childhood or by learning a second language sometime after acquiring their first language.

In addition, Hartmann and Stork stated that the use of two languages by a speech community. There are many types of bilingualism, e.g. someone with the parents of different native language living in either speech community or a person having learned to master a foreign language through intensive formal instruction. Bilingual speakers are not necessarily born translators and interpreters, as the skill of switching between two languages must be acquired separately and person who are equally conversant in both languages in all situations.

In this bilingual language, Morocco is a country of bilingual language. The seemingly simple dichotomy of literary of Arabic and Morocco Arabic is embedded in a situation that involves another variety of Arabic, called ‘middle Moroccan Arabic’, as well as two other languages, Berber called ‘Tamazight’ in Morocco, and French. Generalizing from this example and rephrasing as cited by Coulmas (2005 : 135), the following the question encapsulates what a theory of societal bilingualism should explain: who chooses to speak what language to whom and when?

An important preliminary issue that has to be addressed before this question can be dealt with reasonably is to determine the kind of the community about which it can be asked. Most country are multilingual, but a country such Morocco is not the only relevant unit of research on societal bilingualism and multilingualism. When bilingualism is being investigated it is crucial to indentify the relevant unit: a nation-state, a city, a frontier district, a township, a ghetto, an immigrant neighborhood, a soccer team or a family.

In multilingual societies, language choice takes place on two levels. At a higher level of macro-sociolinguistic investigation, language choice is informed by language planning, language policy and language legislation, whereas language choice in a particular interaction is micro-sociolinguistic process. Multilingualism is the act of using, or promoting the use of, multiple languages, either by an individual speaker or by a community of speakers. Multilingual speakers outnumber monolingual speakers in the world’s population.

A multilingual person, in a broad definition, is one who can communicate in more than one language, be it actively (through speaking, writing, or signing) or passively (through listening, reading, or perceiving). More specifically, the terms bilingual and trilingual are used to describe comparable situations in which two or three languages are involved. A multilingual person is generally referred to as a polyglot. Poly (Greek: πολύς) means “many”, glot (Greek: γλώττα) means “language”. Multilingual speakers have acquired and maintained at least one language during childhood, the so-called first language (L1). The first language (sometimes also referred to as the mother tongue) is acquired without formal education, by mechanisms heavily disputed. Children acquiring two languages in this way are called simultaneous bilinguals. Even in the case of simultaneous bilinguals one language usually dominates over the other.

As a bilingual speaker, bilingualism has relative concept, it means that it is difficult to measure the language ability.  As Mackey stated, there are four aspect to know someone is bilingual. They are:

  1. Degree

Language degree will be shown by four skills in language, such as listening, speaking, reading and writing. These skills consist of some levels,

  • Phonological / graphic
  • Lexical
  • Semantic
  • Stylistic


  1. Function

Fluency of language depends on the function or the use of language. We can say that as much as a speaker uses that language, so as well as he / she has a good fluency. There are two factors which influence the fluency, they are:

Internal factors, such as:

  1. The use of Internal, such as counting, praying, dreaming, writing, and note taking.
  2. Aptitude, talent and intelligence.

External factors, such as:

  1. How someone use the language to the outside, e.g. house, school, society, or contact.
  2. Variable which influence the speaker to talk, such as economy, culture, politic, etc.



  1. Alternation

Alternation depends on fluency of the speaker. In what condition a speaker can change the language to speak?  There are some conditions will create, such as, topic of speaking, speakers, and tension. As Roger T. Bell statement as cited by Alwashilah (1985 : 129), two kinds of bilingualism, The compound has a single semantic based connected to two input and two output mechanism while the coordinate has two semantic bases, each connected to language specific.
















  1. Interference

The error by carrying over the speech habits of the native language or dialect into a second language or dialect. As Al Washilah ( 131) statement that :

“Interferensi  bisa saja terjadi pada pengucapan, tata bahasa, kosa kata, dan makna bahkan budaya – baik dalam ucapan maupun tulisan- terutama kalau seoarang sedang mempelajari bahasa kedua”.

Interference means that languages influence each other. Each of language will change as far as the language used by the people. Such as ‘loan words’, no one of the language does not loan some word from the other language.  As Pei’s statement that I has been fully established that a language on part of an individual is attended by corresponding changes in gestures, facial expressions, carriage, even humor an taboos. This is readily observable in the case of bilingual speakers when they pass from one language to the other language.


































            In short, when a speaker has two languages or more (bilingualism and multilingualism) to use, it means that the speaker constitutes two languages which is different to use at correct time, whereas the speaker must consider to the native language that the speaker has. In linguistics, first language acquisition is closely related to the concept of a “native speaker”. At last, both of the language will influence each other which related to culture of some place.


























Alwashilah, A Chaedar. 1989. Sosiologi Bahasa. Bandung : Angkasa.

Coulmas, Florian. 2005. Sociolinguistics the Study of the Speakers’ Choices. Cambridge University.






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