This study observes the language attitude and maintenance of the border community in Telok Melano, Lundu (Sarawak, Malaysia) and Desa Temajuk, Sambas (West Kalimantan, Indonesia). The main objective of this study is to study the language attitudes of two cross-border community who shares the socio-cultural, language, and economic realms.
The research data is collected qualitatively through conversation recordings, face-to-face interviews, and participant observations.
In this preliminary study, twelve informants (six from Telok Melano and six from Desa Temajuk) were chosen based on the quota sampling method. The questions for the interview were set according to three characteristics of language choice proposed by Garvin and Mathiot (1968), namely language loyalty, language pride, and the awareness of norms. The result of this study indicates that language loyalty, language pride, and awareness of the norms towards the speakers’ mother tongue and national language are relatively high. In terms of identity maintenance issues, this study found that the community in Telok Melano (Sarawak), originally identify themselves as “Sambas Malays,” shifted to “Sarawak Malays” after the formation of Malaysia in 1963. This preliminary study serves as a basis for further research particularly on the complexity of issues concerned with the border communities in the Southwest of Sarawak.