• tips 23.05.2008 7 Comments

    We Indonesians do not speak English as our mother tongue (although some people do). We mostly speak our local language; for example, we speak Javanese because we are Javanese. As Indonesians, we are also able to speak our national language, Bahasa Indonesia. However, English is a foreign language in our country. Many of us do not acquire English at birth, therefore we often make errors and mistakes learning it. But don’t worry, American or British kids make them too. Language acquisition is a process, and it takes time. So when you make mistake, don’t consider it a terrible thing.

    I have seen people making mistakes when speaking English. I do make mistakes too sometimes as a learner. The interesting thing is that we usually make similar mistakes when speaking English. There are many studies proving this. Here are some common mistakes I have noticed:

    Thanks before

    You are supposed to say “thanks in advance”. Indonesians tend to say “thanks before” because there is an Indonesian language interference. We usually say “terima kasih sebelumnya” right? And we just translate it directly to terima kasih ‘thanks’ and sebelumnya ‘before’. But native speakers don’t say it that way. As I said above, they say it “thanks in advance”. So if you write its abbreviation when you send an SMS you should use TIA (thanks in advance) instead of thanks b4 (before).

    No hurt feeling, no heart feeling, etc.

    Sometimes you say one of these when you’ve said something you think is rude and would like to apologize just in case the other person feels offended. Those phrases are incorrect. Native speakers might know what you mean when you utter those phrases, but it’s not written correctly. You should change ‘hurt’ and ‘heart’ to ‘hard’, and add ‘s’ to ‘feeling’. So you have to say “no hard feelings”.

    Its mean, it’s mean, its happen, etc.

    These are common mistakes made when the speakers intend to say “it means, or it happens”. A kind of a slip of the tongue? It could be. In addition, the present tense marker -s attached to a verb is not an easy feature to acquire. It is easier for an English learner to say or notice the -ing sound (as in ‘meaning’) rather than -s sound (as in means), because -ing sound is a salient feature in English. It sounds obvious, and you can hear it clearly. So, let’s say you want to explain something, then you have to say “it means”. If you say “it’s mean,” then you mean something is cruel (mean is an adjective synonymous to cruel).

    [Note: Actually you would say “that’s mean” or “that was mean” not “it’s mean”. If you say “its mean” an English speaker might think you are talking statistics.]

    Now you know how to say the correct English forms. I hope this short passage helps you improve your English. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

    Glossary

    acquire = memperoleh

    acquisition = pemerolehan

    adjective = kata sifat

    feel offended = merasa terhina

    mother tongue = bahasa ibu

    salient = mencolok

    slip of the tongue = keseleo lidah

    sound = bunyi

    synonymous = bersinonim

  • tips 08.05.2008 9 Comments

    G’day mate! When I was in college my professor once told the class a funny story about Australian English. I think many of you notice that Australians have their own English accent, which is different from American or British English.

    So this is how the story goes. I think my prof modified it but I still think it is funny, anyway.

    Australian guy : Are you going to the hospital to die?

    Indonesian prof : [surprised] No, I’m not going there to die.

    Australian guy : I mean, are you going to the hospital TO DIE?

    Indonesian prof : I’m not going there TO DIE, okay? [aggravated]

    Australian guy : I was asking if you are going to the hospital to die or tomorrow.

    Indonesian prof : Oh, you mean TODAY?

    Australian guy : Yea, to die, wednes-die.

    Vowel pronunciation is the most significant difference between American, British, and Australian English. Elongate your vowels [Eel-oon-gayte uur vowls]. Note that words ending with [ay] sound are pronounced [ie]. So, practice “to-die” so you will be ready tomorrow :).