Hey there!

I'm Natasha, the author of this blog. I'm also a psychology student who is working hard to be a novelist. I like thinking deeply mainly about life. I'm not a wise person, I'm simply just a girl who wants inspire the world through my writing.

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08 August 2014

How to Learn Indonesian language

Speaking english for me is frustrating. And somehow, it's quite challenging. It's because I'm from non-english speaking country. When I was in elementary, my English was bad even I took extra english class after school. I used to get good grades in speaking, but not really great in other aspects.
As time goes by, until middle school, I really had no idea about how to use grammar correctly. My vocabularies are so limited, and I really bad at listening. But the good thing is most of my english teachers said that my pronunciation is very good for Indonesian. Especially, my first language is not Indonesian. I speak Javanese at home.

Now, I'm a high school student, and I really feel my english skills have improved a lot. Well, grammar it's still the biggest problem. But, now I can watch movies or TV shows without the subtitle at all. Even I prefer reading english books if it's non-fiction books. I'm a little bit struggling to speak english in front of people who are come from english speaking country. 
Yeah, let me tell you. That's the problem for us.

UHM, in this post, I'm not gonna write about english. Instead, I'm going to talk about Indonesia and teach you how to learn Indonesian language.

As you may know, Indonesia is located at southeast asia. Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world. When you see the world map, you may find Indonesia easily because it's so unique. We are divided to five main islands. They are Sumatra, Kalimantan, Java , Sulawesi, and Papua. You can find Indonesia right above Australia :)

Indonesia has only two seasons. Wet and dry. Overall, weather in Indonesia is so great. It's pretty warm every day. Especially in Jakarta. But when you travel to town which near the mountain, you will have to put your jacket on. 

Indonesia has really a lot of cultures and traditions. So, I'm proud that we can uhmm let's say can get along well with other people. We have something special in Indonesia, my civics teacher always says that Indonesia is the only country that has national ideology called Pancasila. You can search it on Google for more information :) That five principles for me represent Indonesian people. 

You have to know that Indonesia is religious country. I've ever read on an article that said 99 percents of Indonesians think that religion is important. We have to put our religion in our ID Card. And it's funny, when American teenagers insult their religious friend, but Indonesian teenagers will do the opposite.
I have a buddhist friend who never goes to Vihara( the Buddhist holy place) or at least pray, and my other friends will say, "Hey, you atheist!" 
Yeah, what I love about Indonesia is we are quite religious :) 

And that's enough about Indonesia.

 NOW, let's begin our lesson!

Indonesian language is way more simple than English. What an easy thing to learn Indonesian is we clearly use latin alphabet just same like other english speaking countries. There's no such weird letter or weird symbol or anything unusual. Indonesian is really similar to English. 

The problem is how to pronounce the vocals and consonants as well.
Example :

A in English equals to E in Indonesian
E in English equals to I in Indonesian

I have an uncle who's British. He has been living in Indonesia for about few years, but he can't speak Indonesian. He ever told me that Indonesian is hard to learn. My sister is kinda agree with him, but personally I'm not agree.

I tried to figure it out why foreigners find it difficult to learn Indonesian?

The answer is simple. Even Indonesian people are not fluent in their own language! We also not really proud of our own language.

Are you surprised?

Yeah the reason is like I told you before, Indonesia is a big country. We are separated island by island. So, we tend to speak in our native language. Like me, because I was born in East Java, I speak Javanese. Other common traditional languages are Sundanese, Bataknese, Balinese, Minahasa, etc.
My extended family who live in East Java, they speak Indonesian with Java accent. And trust me, they tend to mix Indonesian words with Javanese words. So it's so difficult to hear for foreigner who just visit Indonesia for the first time. Moreover, if they visit city or town outside Jakarta.

"Old" people or specifically, villagers likely to use their own native languages. What about people in the city?
In Jakarta, a lot of people who claim themselves "Modern" people use English. And for chinese-descendant, they will speak Mandarin. Or maybe other people who are born in very modern family will speak other languages.
I don't know why but Indonesian people mindset are funny. Many parents nowadays encourage us to learn English or Chinese or other foreign language in order to be able compete with other people when someday we apply job in a company. They say, "You know, if you can't speak English fluently, you will hard to get good job". Can't speak english = stupid = jobless = have no good future. 
Parents nowadays will force their child to attend International school and wish their children will be fluent in English. Because English is so essential. When you can speak English very well, people will think that you're so cool and smart.
I don't say learning English is wrong or unimportant, but we're so pathetic. We hate our language, and I can't imagine the fate of Indonesian language in the future if people refuse to use Indonesian to speak in daily life!

Furthermore, Indonesian people are creative. Those who live in city will know why. Teenagers in Indonesia like to use slang words! We love to use slang words! Even the conversation between me and my friends is mostly in slang language. I don't know why but if you speak Indonesian with your friends, everyone will make fun of you. You have to speak in slang language. I have a friend who loves to remove the first/ last letter in a word. (EXAMPLE : Sudah (means Already) will be written Udah or even Uda OR THE WORST IS DAH) So how foreigner can learn Indonesian when we Indonesians can't even write appropriately?

Indonesians love to use other term for speaking. Let me give you the most popular one.

In English, regardless with whom you're talking to, you will use "I" to mention yourself. However, in Indonesian there are a lot of terms to say "I"
Just like Korean which use speech levels to address someone based their status/job/age. Yeah we Indonesian do the same! 

SAYA is the most formal term to address yourself. I think foreigner will be taught to use this to speak. This is the safest word to say when you speak with strangers, your boss, people who's older than you (your friend's parents for example), politician, and when you read newspaper or watch news yeah you will find people say "SAYA". 

AKU is the informal term. For me the right time to use "Aku" is when you say this to your boyfriend/girlfriend. Some of my friends use Aku to speak with their parents. Uhm, and maybe you can use this to speak with your family or someone who's older than you (your senior for example). A lot of teenagers in small city or town use "Aku" to speak with others.

GUE is a slang word. And yeah this is consider to be the rude term to say "I" in Indonesian. REMEMBER, only use GUE when you speak to your friends ( Teenagers in Jakarta especially will use this to speak) or internet. DONT SAY GUE with older people, your teacher, police, doctor, or when you are in such formal situation. My cousin who lives in East Java said he hates to use "Gue" because it's so cocky.

And also there are 3 terms to say "You" in Indonesian :
ANDA, this is like the most formal. You will hear this word in news or when someone is really mad! My mum and sister will use "ANDA" when they're mad with a sales or waitress at the mall.

KAMU, just like AKU ;)

LO ( or LOE) equals to GUE :)

Do you know what interesting thing about Indonesian language? WE HAVE NO TENSES!!!
So I think this is why Indonesian people struggle a lot to speak English fluently :(

In English, there are a lot of tenses to be memorized, you have to use past, present, future tenses. But, in Indonesia there's no such thing like tenses So, if you can memorize Indonesian words, you'll be able to speak Indonesian so fast!

If you want to say events in the past, just say "DULU (means back then/long time ago)" or TADI (earlier) or KEMARIN (yesterday), etc
If you want to say events in the present, just say "SEKARANG" (means now)
If you want to say events in the future, just say "NANTI" (means later) or BESOK (tomorrow), etc

example :
Dulu, saya ingin menjadi dokter ( Back then, I wanted to be a doctor)
*In Indonesian, you don't have to change the base form to past or past participle verb

The most common mistakes in Indonesian grammar (even Indonesians keep repeating the same mistake over and over again) is when you use term "DI"

DI can be use for either preposition or prefix. The meaning of DI itself depends with the sentence.

I'll give you the example.

* Saya membeli baju di pasar (I bought clothes at the market)
(DI in this sentence is used as PREPOSITION, the meaning of DI = AT)
* Baju itu dijual Rp 50.000 (That clothes is sold Rp 50.000)
(DI in here is a Prefix, the meaning of DI = IS SOLD)

And a lot of Indonesian likely to write "Dijual" become "Di jual". The simple space means everything :)

Even tough I'm 17 and have been learning since I can't even speak properly, I still don't understand how to apply grammar correctly when I'm writing. Do you know the ironic fact that the lowest score on National Exam is Indonesian language? :) Yeah we do better in English. Even Indonesian students find it difficult to do Indonesian language test. Hhmmmmm

Maybe that's all I want to teach since I'm not an expert in Indonesian. Though I'm self-proclaimed good writer :p

Remember, when you try to learn Indonesian, maybe Indonesian people will laugh at you. This is true. I've ever watched videos about foreigners who are being laughed by Indonesian people because of their FUNNY pronunciation.

• Just learn to listen how Indonesian people speak.
• Please when you make videos on Internet don't use formal speech! Indonesian people will make fun of you!
• When you talk to strangers don't use "Anda" it just don't feel right :p
I'll give you example :
You want to ask a stranger where's the nearest hotel from here ( Google translate will answer : "Mana hotel terdekat dari sini?") and if you learn Indonesian language from somewhere else, mostly they will teach you to say "Apakah anda tahu dimana hotel yang paling dekat dari sini?". This is TOO FORMAL. It's not wrong seriously. But, it's more exciting if you can speak like a native Indonesian, right?
Instead of saying those funny and formal sentence, you can simply ask like this "PAK(If it is a MAN)/ BU (If it is a WOMAN), tahu gak hotel yang dekat dari sini dimana?"
When you ask like that, surely that person will be surprised with your skill!
• I often refuse to say or write something in Indonesian. Because it will sound funny. When you say something in English, it will become more interesting (AGAIN, this is how Indonesian kids think that English is way cooler than our language). We like to say "Happy Birthday" rather than "Selamat Ulang Tahun"... it sounds... weird.

Maybe later I'll write more about Indonesian language :) I just love the idea to teach people! Teaching it's so exciting!!xxx

Natasha :)

PS : Udah ulang tahun ke-17, dan sampai sekarang belom buat KTP juga aduh... :|

1 comment:

  1. Dear Natasha,
    Your post was awesome. I'm coming to Indonesia next year to teach English. It was cool to read about your perspective on the Indonesian and English languages.
    Keep on writing!