“May I borrow your veil?” Romlah asked to her friend.
”biru (blue),” Romlah pointed to the veil which lied on the bed.
“Oh, please. That is green. Are you color blind?”
This dialog is not kind of narrative fiction. It happened to Romlah, a student from Madura with her friend in Malang. In Indonesian language, blue is biru-just the same with Java, and green is hijau. If you pay attention to Romlah or other Madurees when they pointed blue color, you will hear a sound seem the word biru. Biru in Madura language means both blue and green. To differentiate blue and green they use some additional word such as, biru lange’ for blue such as the sky, and biru deun for green such as the leaf.
Listen at a glance those two words are not different. If you gave ear to it, however, you will hear that the phoneme b of biru in Madura language is aspirated, according to the phonetic transcription, it is written as bhiru.
The case in which some people use some words of their mother language or first language in a conversation using national/formal language might befall to most of Indonesian people. As we know that our country consists of various ethnics who have their own language. From Sabang to merauke, Talaud to Timor, there were more 500 ethnics. Therefore sometimes a conversation in Indonesian language permeated by first language.
It means, Romlah is not color blind, but she brought Madura’s concept to Indonesian language. For your information, human have a dictionary in their mind, it is called mental lexicon. All words are stored here. The more you use the word, the easier you retrieve it (Dardjowidjojo: 2008).
What I want to share is not the differences between biru and bhiru, or how a linguist observes it. Rather than that, when the majority people said “it is a” and you say “it is b”, they will claim that you are wrong or crazy. Even if what you belief is right.
We should remember that Indonesia is a multi-lingual society. A response like saying color blind is very not resourcefully. Prof. Henry, a cultural observer, said that we should apply pluralism not only in daily interaction, but also in daily conversation. Acknowledging the multi-lingual society is the first step, because every society has own agreement. The convention of language of Madura is different from Java, Ambon, or Indonesian itself.
As Indonesian, it is a must to know it. If we can tolerate someone to use a foreign language –English for instance-to replace a word in Indonesian language, why do not we tolerate the using of ethnical language? A society should not force others to have the same manner as us or the majority. Be tolerant and understand other is a wise step.
It reminds me to Ahmadiyah’s case. If most people have defined what Islam like, while others people have a different point of view, they will be categorized as pathological group. Ahmadiyah in Indonesia is a minority group; they have been discriminated due to the fact that they are different. Say that they are a part of people who have gone astray according to Islamic law in majority version. On the other hand, destruct their homes and mosques are not illegitimate. So far, Indonesian citizen known with their religious tolerance, for instance between Moslem live together with Christian or Buddhist. So, why cannot Moslems tolerate Ahmadiyah?