Eleutheromania is defined by one lexicographer as “a frantic zeal for freedom.” This frantic zeal for casting off former linguistic shackles (or what seemed to be shackles) has led to some problems that are worth examining here.

Before launching into an analysis of Indonesian problems I might recall similar and probably more familiar situations of the past hundred years in Europe and Asia. The newly unified states of Germany and Italy suffered some of the same growing pains during their consolidation, but linguistically their situations were widely different. The Trecento in Italy left a language that has been able to resist encroachment gently yet firmly enough to forestall both xenomania and xenophobia. German has had both Luther and Goethe as great unifying literary forces, but Gallomania and Gallophobia have alternated to provide sociolinguistic attitudes comparable in a remote way with those besetting the Indonesians, Malays, Indians, and Pakistanis.

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