Dalan Mehuli Perangin Angin: From the local ones, to the global ones

Born in Fak-Fak, Papua, and raised in Brebes, Central Java, Mr. Dalan Mehuli Perangin-angin has been quite a nomadent since a very young age. This peculiarity allowed him to be exposed to the diverse perspectives, cultures, and especially, languages from time to time.

While looking back, Mr. Dalan admits that he indeed always favors study languages, especially the local ones. Javanese, Ngapak, Malay Palembang, and Papuan are some of numerous local languages that he is fluent in. 

The USD English Letters’ alumnee shared with us that he was once jokingly aspiring to speak one hundred languages, but precisely, he had never dreamed to be a linguist. His current career is rather a life calling that had never been imagined nor planned before.

At the following year after graduated, the gentleman of Karo descent initiated his career as a research assistant at Jakarta Field Station, Max Planc Institute (a German-based institute which focuses on the language research) which turned out, opened him a new page. His strong interest in linguistic research, allowed him to travel as far as Utretch, Netherlands and Hong Kong, China to pursue his master and doctoral degree in language study accordingly which further assured his path as a linguist. He attained realization during his academic years, that it is crucial for Indonesian ourselves to employ our own certain approach in studying our language, especially in the midst of recurring Eurocentric frameworks which still denotes the study of the local languages.

In Jakarta Field Station, Mr. Dalan started his contribution in a rather contemporary discipline: the documentation of languages. He told us that there are more than 800 languages around the globe that are currently in danger.  In the spher of Indonesia, the languages of Eastern Indonesia or what so called as Non-Austronesian languages or Papuan languages are losing its speakers significantly. Mr. Dalan’s focus is to documentate these endangered languages, so that the future generations could stay in touch with the footprints and preserve the language.  One of the Papuan languages that Mr. Dalan focused in his research is Pagu language, a minority language spoken in Halmahera (Molucca), which proposals later brought him to his doctoral study.

After frequently moving from place to place as a researcher, in 2018, Mr. Dalan decided to settle. He decided to return to the place where he spent the rest of his undergraduate days, The English Letters Department USD, to teach younger students. Being a teacher in our department doesn’t equal leaving the research field for Mr. Dalan. He believes in “Tri Dharma”, that one (an academician) is supposed to hold: pedagogy, research, and community dedication. It was pretty foreign for Mr. Dalan to teach in the classroom at first as his early background is a field researcher, but in the end, the linguist is meant to adapt. He also points out regarding the aspect of contribution that it is indeed as significant as other aspects. Currently, he with other lecturers are planning on the project to do English training for Indonesian migrant workers in Hong Hong.

In correlation with Integrity’s current theme of “Serendipity”, Mr. Dalan is glancing back to his older days, that in the midst of every struggle, one, at the end, could achieve the confidence and success. It is the numerous challenges that made one could encounter a good thing in the end, indeed, with the hardworks of difficult times. He never thought that he would return to Jogja, during his academic journey. He points out that it is important to remain adaptable wherever he goes, including respecting the locals with distinct norms and cultures in different places. In the end, Mr. Dalan wishes the success for every English Letters’ students. He believes that with the background in English language and literature, one could deliver their aspiration and knowledge to the whole world, out there, while it’s also very noteworthy to remain in touch with our local cultures and background. Let’s wish Mr. Dalan every happiness and success in his future endeavour!

Journalist: Nathaniel Alvino R. Prima 

Editor: Michael Tan 

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