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Indonesian Language Blog

Indonesian-speaking culture Posted by on Oct 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

Language and Culture cannot be separated. Language is vital to understanding our unique cultural perspectives. We could not understand a culture without having direct access to its language because of the native speakers intimate connection.

Therefore, you are also expected the learn the cultural aspects of the language you are learning.

The table below shows you how Indonesian native speakers respond differently to those English native speakers.

Indonesian native speakers English native speakers
Saya tidak enak badan I am not feeling well
Respond: Respond:
– Apa  Anda sudah pergi ke dokter I am sorry to hear that.
   Have you been to the doctor ? I hope you get well soon.
-Apa sudah minum obat ?
  Have taken any medicine ?
Indonesian native speakers English native speakers
– Apa kabar ? How are you?
– How are you ?
Respond: Respond:
– Baik. Bapak apa kabar ?  I am fine. Thank you. And you?
– I am fine. How are you?
2. Baik-baik saja (informal). Bapak bagaimana kabarnya ?
   I am well. How about you?
Indonesian native speakers English native speakers
The person perspective is looking into the picture. The person perspective is looking out the picture.
It means when s/he navigates you about the picture and tells you about her/his left it says it is the right or vice versa of the English native speakers.
Indonesian native speakers English native speakers
dari Jalan Sudirman Anda belok kanan ke Jalan Suropati.
From Sudirman Street, you make a turn to Suropati Street You take a turn at Sudirman Street
Indonesian will give you directions “to take a turn to the next street”
 Indonesian native speakers   English native speakers
Saya dan isteri saya pergi ke pesta. it is uncommon to place the pronoun before other people belonging to the same group. E.g “My wife and I”, “Andy’s friends and I”, etc.
I and my wife. Indonesian put the ‘I’ first to emphasize that it is ‘I’ who accompany my wife the party not someone else. To a native English speaker, “My wife and I have” is more polite and respectful than “I and my wife have….”


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About the Author:asimonoff

I’m an Indonesian language instructor, instructional material developer, reading test developer, and interpreter. I have been teaching Indonesian to adult students for 15 years, and have been teaching students from many backgrounds, such as private, military and diplomatic service employees. I’m Indonesian, but am living in the US now; my exposure to different cultures in my home country and in the US has enriched my knowledge in teaching Indonesian as a second language. I approach the teaching of the Indonesian language by developing students’ critical cultural awareness and competence. This method of teaching has been proven to be a key to the success of my students. Students become conscious of the essential role culture plays in the language.