To Say or Not To Say? Construing Contextual Taboo Words Used by Acehnese Speakers in Indonesia


  • Zulfadli Abdul Aziz Syiah Kuala University
  • Yunisrina Qismullah Yusuf Syiah Kuala University
  • Burhansyah Burhansyah Syiah Kuala University
  • Meutia Muzammil Syiah Kuala University


This study describes the types of taboo words used by the Acehnese people in Aceh, Indonesia. Ten language informants in the district were interviewed for this qualitative study. The interviews were recorded and then transcribed prior to analysis. The data were then analysed by the procedures of condensation, display, and conclusion drawing. The findings of the research reveal that the most common taboo types used by Acehnese speakers are taboos of vulgarity or obscenity, epithet, and the taboo of disease. This implies that calling people bad names, talking about sex, mentioning incurable or ‘repulsive’ diseases are among the most taboo discussions in Acehnese society. Taboo words related to religion are found the least in the data, which could imply that these words are small in number because the Acehnese people embrace their religion strongly and thus minimise verbal abuse related to it.


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