The Recent Use of Walikan Language by English Department Students

A. Introduction

1.  Background

At present time, mobilisation is inevitable. People tend not to stay in one place, but migrate to other places they would prefer. They not only leave for somewhere else, but also bring their native culture with them. Unsurprisingly, this phenomenon sparks off assimilation between the culture possessed both by new comers and the natives. However, mobilisation merely occurs in an urban area.

In this case, Malang as one of major cities in Indonesia has been developing and becoming a central destination for several people.  Consequently, there are many cultures growing in this city. Malang is famously known for its eccentric language which is different from any other languages used by Indonesian’s ethnics. This particular language is widely known as Walikan language.

Walikan language is technically unique since every word is spelt backwards. This is what makes Walikan language sound outlandish for people who never heard it. Almost every native of Malang preferred using it in a daily conversation due to some reasons. Sort of speakers may vary from football supporters to the drivers of local public transportation. However, nowadays, the natives are rarely seen using Walikan, for many extruders indirectly change the cultural forms which have already developed, or in this case, the Walikan itself.

     2.  Purpose of the Study and Research Questions

Since the city of Malang has long been famous for its education centres, many students coming from outlying regions study in this city. They speak differently with their own mother tongues. Meanwhile, the students who originally live in this town become influenced by various languages spoken by their friends who are not Malang natives for sure. In a long term, these students will be idle to speak Walikan because their society influences what and how they speak.

Furthermore, if one whose native language is, for instance, Walikan, is majoring a certain field, the way they speak will be affected by what they are learning in college as well. It is no wonder that the English Department students, especially those who are Malang natives, are supposed to speak English almost every day in class. It means that the frequency of speaking Walikan will be decreasing. In this report, it will be concerning more about the use of Walikan language by the students who are majoring in English. This research also tries to find out how the recent use of Walikan language by the English students is and what makes them stand with this particular language.

     3.  Hypothesis

The English students who are Malangese tend to speak Walikan less frequently nowadays due to some factors, especially the social factor which sparks off a language shifting.

B. Method

     1.  Kind of Data

Kinds of data which we take are Qualitative as well as Quantitative Data. Why we use both of these kinds of data is because they are all supposed to answer the research questions already provided above.

     2.  Respondents

To conduct this research, some people whose living is in Malang natively were interviewed. However, it is not only about people who live in Malang, but merely those who more often speak Walikan language, particularly the English students of State University of Malang. We assumed that these certain people speak English more often rather than their mother tongue because of their surrounding which gets them to speak English.

     3.  How to Collect the Data

To accomplish the goal of this research, the interview is so significant that we pulled ourselves apart in order to seek for the respondents who fulfilled the criteria of this research. They had to be Malang natives who were studying English while this research was being conducted. These samples have to be able to represent the whole population whose background is at least similar.

     4.  How to Analyse Them

After collecting the data, we analyse them. One of the major analyses is taking a hypothesis which becomes the fundamental base on this research. The relevant theories are highly useful to support this research, for this paper is concerning about the language used by certain societies, particularly the English students who are Malang natives. The next step is converting the results already obtained into a form of chart which may suggest the numeric result statistically. It is very beneficial since the number of respondents who took part in this research is more than five persons. Thus the conversion is perhaps necessary to cover the broadness of this research.

After all significant steps have been accomplished; we shall be taking a conclusion which shows the percentage of people remaining to speak Walikan in their daily conversations. Not only is it analysing how many people who keep speaking this unique language, but also the reasons why they preserve it.

C. Results

The following items show the results obtained from the interviews with the respondents who fulfilled certain criteria of this study. Each person has already been interviewed and the results can be shown as follows.

  • Nia – an English Department student of State University of Malang (sophomore)

She is not a hundred percent active speaker of Walikan language. She sometimes uses this particular language. Society, in her opinion, caused her to speak Walikan more often. When she is in a calm condition or being relaxed, she speaks Walikan with people she knows well, for instance, her close friends. She never applies Walikan language to the elder people since she assumed that it is not polite. Not only does she use Walikan verbally, but also in a written form. Certain words she prefers using in a daily conversation are like rek, ladhub, hamur, oyi. She opined that by using Walikan, she felt like she was different from others whose languages vary. It is like a pride for her.

  • Dini – an English Department student of State University of Malang (sophomore)

She is not an active speaker. It implies that she rarely used it. While having a chat, she spoke Walikan in order to be friendly with people she was talking to. She had an opinion that it was impolite to speak Walikan with the elder ones. Surprisingly and spontaneously, she rendered her Bahasa Indonesia into Walikan providing that she met friends who spoke this language as well. Why she kept speaking it is due to the society where she lives in and pride. One of her most-frequently-used Walikan words is tangames.

  • Fahmi – an English Department student of State University of Malang (sophomore)

He speaks Walikan language almost every day despite the fact that he is not really an active speaker. In certain cases, he speaks Walikan with his friends but not with the elder ones since. He thought that it was not polite. Moreover, the person to whom he speaks Walikan is likely to be male. The people he knew well also got him to speak this language in order to be friendly. The reasons why he remained to speak Walikan are to socialize with people around him, especially those who are Malang natives. In addition, he rarely speaks Walikan with the ones he just encountered, for he was afraid that they were not able to comprehend what he said. He also had an opinion that he should preserve his mother tongue for any reasons since it was his pride to have Walikan. Some of his favorite words are umak, ayas, nakam, ladhub and odis.

  • Ilham – an English Department student of State University of Malang (sophomore)

From the interview, it can be inferred that he rarely speaks Walikan language. His friends usually communicate to him by using Walikan language, and only in this condition, he replied it with Walikan language. He spoke this language only with his friends. They spoke Walikan language in daily conversation or informal situation. Although he rarely speaks Walikan language, he has some favourite words, such as kadit and nakam. He thought that speaking Walikan language is fully useful to show a local identity. In this case, Walikan language is the characteristic of Malang city itself.

  • Devi – an English Department student of State University of Malang (sophomore)

From the interview, it can be concluded that she is not an active speaker of Walikan language which means that she seldom speaks it. For daily conversations she preferred Indonesian language. She spoke Walikan language in informal situation only among her friends. Her favourite words of Walikan language are ongis nade and nawak. Uniquely, she is a fan of Arema (an Indonesian football club of Malang), so she followed the trends among Arema’s supporters, one of which was speaking Walikan language. In her opinion, the use of Walikan language was actually just for fun.

  • Thio – an English Department student of State University of Malang (sophomore)

He is an active speaker of Walikan. Sometimes he speaks it with his friends wherever he meets them. When he meets his friends, or even gathers with them, Walikan language always becomes his likeness. In addition to that, he speaks Walikan almost every day. On the one hand, he talks to his friends with this unique language; on the other hand, he seldom speaks with his parents by using Walikan. His purpose to speak Walikan is to make himself friendlier with his close ones. Some of his favourite words of Walikan language are like nendes kombet, and kadit itreng.

  • Kurnia – an English Department student of State University of Malang (sophomore)

He is not a hundred percent active speaker of Walikan language, only in certain cases, such as, when joking with his friends. However, he assumed that it is too rude to speak to his parents by using Walikan language. The purpose of speaking Walikan for himself is only for fun. Some of his favourite words are nakam, ngalub, and kadit.

  • Yoga – an English Department student of State University of Malang (junior)

He is not an active speaker of Walikan language. Sometimes does he speak it to his friends or people who he heard speaking the same language, too. The purpose of his to speak Walikan language is certainly for enjoyment. His most favourite word of Walikan is ewul.

After all of these samples have been collected, the analysis will be likely to be in a form of statistics which can be showed as the following figure.


From the chart above, it suggests that the English students, who have been the samples of this research, do not entirely speak Walikan in their daily conversations. In particular cases, they even seldom speak Walikan. There are some reasons why they think so. The following chart summarises various reasons indicating that Walikan language is, howsoever, still predominantly used:


The above chart shows that a number of English Department students have their opinions regarding with Walikan language they speak. Most of them said that speaking Walikan language is merely a pride for them because, as far as they could see, not many people, especially teenagers, are willing to preserve this unique language from the extinction. They argued it was sort of pride and their pleasure to be able to keep speaking Walikan despite not so often. Meanwhile, other respondents stated that speaking Walikan in their daily life was only a sort of enjoyment. The rest said that it is supposedly to make him able to socialise intimately with people he already knew well.

D. Discussions

After displaying the whole data, it can be stated that most of the respondents speak Walikan to people they already recognise although one out of all confessed that the purpose of speaking Walikan tends to be a sort of intimacy.

The previous studies have ever stated that the use of Walikan did happen between the youth. When growing up and becoming mature, they no longer spoke Walikan. The people’s belief in Walikan language is that it tends to be spoken more frequently by the youth rather than by the elders.

However, after finding the results which have been analysed from the collected data, this study is staggeringly different from the previous ones which claimed that the youth is the main speakers of Walikan language. The youth, particularly the English Department students who are Malangese have a tendency to speak Walikan less frequently nowadays. There are some factors, including social factors, which affect how these people speak.

Despite the fact that there are just less people remaining to speak Walikan, the rest goes on speaking Walikan with different purposes, such as a communal intimacy, etc. It has been clear that they do not speak Walikan every time, but in certain conditions, Walikan is still idolised as well as a pride.

E. Conclusion

From the data above, it can be inferred that the English Department students of State University of Malang are not thoroughly speaking Walikan in every day’s conversations due to the social impact towards the way they speak. One of the causes is, for instance, their mutual friends who come from many different areas with different mother tongues.

Apart from that, the frequency of speaking Walikan amongst them, compared to previous studies which said that youth spoke Walikan more often than the elder, tends to be decreasing. As mentioned above, social factor truly impacts on what sort of language they are using. In short, the recent use of Walikan language by the English Department students depends on where the speaker is at the time. For example, the one who is speaking to people he knows well will use Walikan, instead of common Javanese language, in order to be intimate and equal in his community.

Moreover, many English Department students who were involved in this research stated that their assurance to speak Walikan is based on the pride towards their hometown, Malang. Thus it is no wonder that we are able to spot some students, especially English students, who remain to speak Walikan as a result of being proud of their identity in spite of the fact that it is not a routine.

 F. Reference

Language Attitudes, Acquisition and Usage of Osob Kiwalan Ngalam: An Indo – Javanese Language of Malang. Espree-Conaway, DeAndré. A. (Online), (, accessed on December 11, 2013

This mini research was conducted by Rega Y. B., Ahmad Ainur R., Primaldi in completion of the final assignment of the Introduction to Research Method course


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