Sunday, October 24, 2010

English vs Bahasa Indonesia in Daily Life

Back in NL I used to mixed languages while talking to my Indonesian friends: English, Dutch and Bahasa Indonesia. As I moved back to Indonesia, I consciously curb that habit, and do my best in speaking in 1 language in a full sentence. In the beginning sometimes it came out hilarious for Indonesian ears, because I just did foreignization of words that I forgot. Soon, I get the hang of it. In fact, one day one of my bosses said that there was this new gal who had difficulty speaking Bahasa Indonesia and spoke in British English. Being curious, he asked if she just returned from abroad, guess what? She never left the country! When he told me the story he commented how judging from my long stay abroad, it should've been me who had problem with Bahasa Indonesia and not that gal. However, I've noticed more and more young Indonesians have problem speaking Bahasa Indonesia. Some of my nieces and nephews are bilingual, they are mostly more fluent in English than in Bahasa Indonesia. It wasnt such a problem if they live abroad, but some live in Indonesia. Just like the children in the New York Times article.

However, the problem of butchering both English and Bahasa Indonesia is plaguing Indonesian young and old. Even on a newspaper such as Kompas, which most regard as a reference in term of usage of Bahasa Indonesia, I found mistakes in its writing. Television is even worse. Most of tv reporters cant even make a good logical sentence in Bahasa Indonesia during a live coverage. Celebrities and comedians didnt help either.

Perhaps we all need to re-learn how to speak Bahasa Indonesia properly, not merely the colloquial one. Perhaps I should start writing in Bahasa Indonesia again, but then who would read it, since my loyal commentator cant speak Bahasa Indonesia and people only interested to read my post in Bahasa Indonesia about how to measure your bra correctly.


colson said...

Though being bi-lingual is almost a necessity, it is sad if the native tongue is the victim. I guess most languages are being influenced by English though. It next to impossible to stop his process. A number of years ago the French government tried to ban all English words from colloquial French - and failed miserably.

Oh, by the way. As soon as you decide to blog in Bahasa Indonesia I hope you start another blog in Dutch...

And might point out that you might be surprised how much interest I still have for subjects like measuring one's bra correctly.

triesti said...

it's too much work to think in 3 languages:)

johnorford said...

crazy how someone can't speak their own language. then again I can't either, so I can't say anything : )