English Attacking Bahasa Indonesia in Indonesia

English is the global destroyer, taking out native languages here and there, right and left, over there and over here. I’ve never heard of it damaging actual national languages yet.

Looks like it’s going to town on Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia) somewhat. Pretty weird when people in either speaking the national language poorly or not at all. Actually, it ridiculous. It’s like Ireland all over again, this time shamrocks in Bali.

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18 thoughts on “English Attacking Bahasa Indonesia in Indonesia”

  1. Come on, Indonesia has over 200 million people! What is more likely to happen is that a caste system will develop in Indonesia based on English language proficiency.

    Languages under threat from English in Europe are generally reckoned to have less than 5 million speakers. In Europe, Danish is in that category, Icelandic, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian,
    Romansch, Basque, the smaller languages of Spain (not Catalan), Breton and others like Faroese and Scots Gaelic. Scots Gaelic appears to be dying. Breton isn’t healthy either. Zero economic usefulness….My guess is Icelandic will survive while Danish will struggle.

    National pride has a lot to do with keeping a language alive. Welsh is a difficult language, but healthy. If anything it’s gaining ground, even though diglossia is the rule in Wales, and first language speakers of Welsh are mostly old or dead. Cornish, revived from the dead, has 200 plus speakers, but it’s a hobby of Cornish nationalist nuts.

    If Indonesians suffer from an inferiority complex vis-a-vis the Anglo-Saxon world we’ll see a national literature developing in the medium of English. This has happened in India, notably.

    Danish is the one I’m concerned about. It’s such a beautiful language! Every time I hear it I think someone is being sick!

    Indonesian is one of those languages I’ve actually thought about studying. It seems to have been impacted by European languages, Dutch and Portugese, which might make it slightly easier to learn. The other one is Persian (Farsi). On balance Farsi looks more promising, with around 60 million speakers, and amazing poetic corpus to get into, and a close relationship with Dari, the language of a lot of Afghans. Plus it’s not as difficult as Arabic.

    If you wished to learn a non-European foreign language, which would it be, and why?

    Cyrus, don’t you speak the Palestinian dialect of Arabic?

    1. Hi! Native speaker of Bahasa Indonesia here.
      Actually it is getting attacked by English as in people like to incorporate “illegal” borrowed words from English instead of using original words because they see it as being cool. For example, the native Bahasa Indonesia word for attention is perhatian, however now people like to use atensi. So is the case with tepat vs akurat (from accurate), etc

  2. Whoops! Danish has over 6 million speakers. My advice to Danes is, learn a pronounceable language like German. The you’ll understand each other better, and the divorce rate will drop. My previous girlfriend was a fluent Danish speaker. She couldn’t even persuade me to go to Denmark. We used to listen to Bob Dylan in Danish….hilarious!

    In German Dylan sounds rather good. I have CDs of Dylan songs in French and Spanish and they sound really weird. Especially the Spanish. There’s a whole website devoted to Dylan songs in foreign languages – can’t find it at the moment. I have a recording of Desolation Row sung in Italian which sounds really cool.

    German’s a superior world language, the main language of three states, and has a much bigger vocabulary…If I were Danish I would campaign for political union with Germany. I hope this brings the Danish nationalists running lol!

    1. In my home country 75% of the Population spoke a French Creole prior to WW 2, and the rest spoke Spanish with English being spoken amongst the elites and the British Colonial Rulers.
      Fast Forward to 2010 and the French Creole speakers are just 3000 in number, mainly living in rural areas of the country.
      Their are groups now fighting to keep it alive, I’m thinking of taking a course to learn the language later this year.
      English is like those Characters from Star Trek (the Borg) its absorbing everything and Resistance is futile.

  3. From: http://www.dylancoveralbums.com/internat.htm
    Dansk Bob, Dylansk

    Gadesanger (Mr. Tambourine Man)
    Du Bli’r Bare Her (You Ain’t Going Nowhere)
    Med døden er alting ikke endt (Death Is Not The End)
    Hvis Du Skal Gå – Gå Nu (If You Gotta Go – Go Now)
    Jeg Vil Dig (I Want You)
    Blæst I Vinden Hen (Blowin’ In The Wind) Grænseløs Kærlighed (Love Minus Zero – No Limit)
    Jeg Vil Bli’ Forløst (I Shall Be Released)
    Spande Af regn (Buckets Of Rain)
    Én Er Endt I Gryden (Cat’s In The Well)
    I Haven (In The Garden)
    Tre Engle (Three Angels)

    1. That was in Danish. There 2 versions in Danish, several in German, several in French. None in Indonesian yet! Koji Wakui and the Celluloid heroes sing Dylan in Japanese, and Youssou N’Dour sings Chimes of Freedom in Wolof, and there are versions in Asturian, West Frisian and Galician, as well as Finnish, Hungarian and Catalan…

        1. Hey! Have you ever thought about this? You know “witty?”

          It rhymes with “shitty,” huh?

          LOL! That’s funny! I’m saving that one for the next wild party I go to!

  4. Unfortunately this is cultural imperialism at work. This trend has been goin on especially after the end of the Cold war. English is becoming Globish. It is important for all nationalities to maintain their language status quo in order to preserve a sense of identity.

  5. I think its a great thing that we have a Global COMMON Language. I am not say the Only language but a COMMON Language. Language is a important tool in uniting people, sharing ideas breaking down barriers etc… Sure learning other languages is great… but with a few thousand languages i the world, having 1 COMMON Language makes sense, and can only benefit Globalization / Global Unity!

  6. Ain’t gonna happen. I stayed there recently, and barely anyone knows English except maybe in airports and tourist areas. What is happening is Bahasa Gaul (slang) is incorporating some English words, but the mainstream language is still the same as it was when i was there in 1980’s.

    I was also in Philippines, which allegedly had 94% or so English speakers. Ain’t true. They can understand maybe, but get them to try to speak, and you’ll get Broken English, and almost nothing when in rural areas.

  7. Oh, and Bahasa is pretty easy to pick up, so even in expat households, it’s the expats who learn the language to talk to the household help and drivers and not the other way round. I was pretty fluent in a couple months when I lived there.

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