Bahasa Indonesia

Nov 19th, 2007, in IM Posts, by

Australians don't want to learn Indonesian.

Australian ambassador to Indonesia Bill Farmer said in Surabaya on 16th November that in recent years the demand for studying bahasa Indonesia in Australian schools had continued to fall.

When Indonesia was ruled by Suharto learning Indonesian in both Australian elementary and high schools became somewhat popular but in the last 10 years languages such as Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Hindi had pushed Indonesian into the background.

Bill Farmer
Bill Farmer.

Farmer said this was because more and more immigrants were coming to Australia from China, Korea, Japan, and India, at least according to the report. [1]

Ever the diplomat, he said the decline in interest for learning Indonesian had nothing to do with Indonesia's reputation in Australia worsening or otherwise, but was simply based on immigration trends.

According to a March 2007 report only 15% of Australian final year high school students study a foreign language, and of those only a little over 1% study Indonesian. [2]


158 Comments on “Bahasa Indonesia”

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  1. avatar Tuan says:
    November 19th, 2007 at 5:20 am

    It makes sense. Indonesia is not an influential country as it was under Suharto’s rule. In the major US cities there is an interest in public schools to have Chinese, Arabic, and to a certain extent a South Asian language (Urdo and Hindi) taught to students as a foreign language, along with Spanish, French, and German. Chinese is popular because of the economic power of China and the influence of Chinese Americans in the US. Arabic is popular because of the influence of Arab countries economically, growing number of Muslims in the US, and 9/11. South Asian languages are popular due to India’s economic strength (US jobs are outsourced there) and the influence of the successful South Asian-American community (“minority role models”) in the US.

    ~Tuan Indonesian-American Muslim

  2. avatar Ihaknt says:
    November 19th, 2007 at 7:25 am

    Agree Tuan. I’d like to learn Chinese and Japanese. They’re important in business, but very hard to learn.

  3. avatar Arema says:
    November 19th, 2007 at 8:22 am

    Nowadays people learn new languages mainly because of two sources of motivation:
    1) Functionality: whether it will be useful for their study or future career. Example: German , English, Chinese, Japanese
    2) Interest: maybe because the language sounds nice to listen to, or for any other subjective reasons. Example: French, Japanese.

    Looking at these two reasons, you can see very well why Bahasa Indonesia is losing popularity. The only saving grace is maybe Bahasa Indonesia is better than Malay. Well, that’s what most of my Malay Singaporean friends said to me. They said Indonesian is softer than Malay and sounds nicer.

    but in the last 10 years languages such as Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Hindi had pushed Indonesian into the background.

    Hindi? I don’t believe many non-Indians want to learn Hindi. Not only difficult, but also not functional, because you can “live normally” in India with just English.

  4. avatar Parvita says:
    November 19th, 2007 at 8:48 am

    Why should Australian learn Bahasa Indonesia? I never understood why it is in their choice of language to learn.

  5. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:
    November 19th, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    Sorry mates, Bahasa Indonesian is ever popular except with the Australians. I suspect there is a conspiracy by the discredited AFP and ASIO to discredit our suave language. It is highly probable that the imminent revival of the Mojopahit empire in a land so close to Terra Incognito has to do with it. Remember the good old days when our brave Javanese warriors fought off the Mongolian invaders in West Kalimantan; remember the yearly bunga emas tribute to our rajahs by the Malaysian and Bruneian sultanates; remember the emissaries sent from China to pay respect to our Javanese kings. Well, signs of these are happening. I will give you a hint: Javanese Language

  6. avatar Aditya says:
    November 19th, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    90% of the expats in Indo can’t/won’t learn BI –
    Jakarta is full of little enclaves of bules who have no need to speak Indo – therefore they have little or no understanding of the Indonesian people.

  7. avatar Anita McKay says:
    November 19th, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    I met several “indo” (mixed Australian-Indonesian) students in Sydney a few years ago and that’s the only reason they took Indonesian, because they’re half Indonesian and they’re interested in getting to know the country better. I never meet people who want to learn bahasa Indonesia on the basis of (as Arema pointed out) functionality and interest. Several of my expat friends in Indonesia learned Indonesian but it’s not mandatory for them. Interestingly most of Caucasian friends who can speak Indonesian are Dutch.

  8. avatar Sputjam says:
    November 19th, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    Arema said :-

    The only saving grace is maybe Bahasa Indonesia is better than Malay. Well, that’s what most of my Malay Singaporean friends said to me. They said Indonesian is softer than Malay and sounds nicer.

    bahasa indonesia is “malay language”. Unfortunately, the malays in malaysia and singapore does not know how to speak in a proper manner. If they were confronted with an indonesian, they would seek shelter by replying in english, otherwise it may make them sound silly.

    compared to others, malay is easy to learn. And written malay has evolved from sanskrit to jawi to roman alphabets. which other language can be written in several forms?
    malay language decline overseas is due to economic reasons only. It would be different if indonesia/malaysia is an economic powerhouse. Then, every tom, dick and harry will be pursuing malay language in order to gain career advancement.

  9. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:
    November 19th, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    The only saving grace is maybe Bahasa Indonesia is better than Malay.

    Did Arema actually say that? How ignorant!

    Whenever you say Bahasa Indonesia or Malaysia or Brunei, it is Bahasa Melayu, native language of the Riau inhabitants in Sumatra. Have you ever wonder why majority of Indonesian are Javanese, but yet the official language is not Bahasa Jovo but Bahasa Melayu?

    Dear Arema, we were persuaded (coerced to be precise) to use Riau’s language by the colonial rulers.

    Malaysian and Singaporean Malays has the original version of Bahasa Melayu. Bahasa Indonesia is greatly influenced by Bahasa Jovo, whereas Bahasa Brunei by Tagalog.

    Salam.

  10. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:
    November 19th, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    Aluang Anak Bayang said

    It is highly probable that the imminent revival of the Mojopahit empire in a land so close to Terra Incognito has to do with it.

    Fair dinkum.

  11. avatar Zaq says:
    November 19th, 2007 at 11:22 pm

    Arema:
    Nowadays people learn new languages mainly because of two sources of motivation:
    1) Functionality: whether it will be useful for their study or future career. Example: German , English, Chinese, Japanese

    Me:
    Smart business people will learn languages of countries where they can sell. I met many business students at Monash University in Melbourne learning Indonesian as they said that Indonesia is the most potential market for their products. Pity huh?

    The posting:
    “Farmer said this was because more and more immigrants were coming to Australia from China, Korea, Japan, and India, at least according to the report. [1]”

    Me:
    Probably it is the time for Indonesian to migrate to Aussie? Let’s do some faking riots and send as many Indonesian as possible to Aussie as refugees?

    Have you ever think why not much Indonesian migrate to Aussie? Is it because the country – whatever people said bad things about it – is so nice good place to live? I was once living in Aussie for some years, and everyday I was longing for my country and counting the days of my coming home. Even traffics was great in Melbourne, everything were well managed, but I was very lonely. I miss the warm people of my town.

    I found myself not having the spirit of pioneers, as a Javanese, I am “ndeso”. “Mangan Ora Mangan Kumpul” works for me. Wondering how many Javanese people are like me. We love our country more than anything. So why bother if not much Australian learn Bahasa Indonesia? The more they don’t know us, the better.

  12. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:
    November 19th, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    Friend: they are afraid of the rise of Mojopahit.

  13. avatar naga says:
    November 20th, 2007 at 2:21 am

    Australians are not learning the language because as Indonesia becomes increasingly mismanaged, the country is becoming increasingly irrelevant on the regional and world stage, why bother?

  14. avatar Teng says:
    November 20th, 2007 at 3:02 am

    2) Interest: maybe because the language sounds nice to listen to, or for any other subjective reasons. Example: French, Japanese.

    This is the reason I studied sastra, kebudayaan dan bahasa Indonesia

  15. avatar Zaq says:
    November 20th, 2007 at 6:52 am

    It looks like me and Naga got the illness of national fanatics huh?

  16. avatar Ihaknt says:
    November 20th, 2007 at 7:55 am

    Sounds to me Naga is actually on the Ozi’s side. Why bother if Indonesia is becoming all that.

  17. avatar Arema says:
    November 20th, 2007 at 10:23 am

    bahasa indonesia is “malay language”. Unfortunately, the malays in malaysia and singapore does not know how to speak in a proper manner. If they were confronted with an indonesian, they would seek shelter by replying in english, otherwise it may make them sound silly.

    Ah, thanks Sputjam, that’s most probably the correct explanation. I think Malay (language) is slowly but surely on the way to extinction. My Malay friends either speak full English or mixed Malay-English. I almost never see one that speak “genuine” Malay. One of them even said they are no longer comfortable speaking in Malay, and they speak English at home.

    Q:The only saving grace is maybe Bahasa Indonesia is better than Malay.

    Did Arema actually say that? How ignorant!

    Yes Aluang, I did say that, but I’m just “forwarding” what my malay friends said. So it’s not directly my personal opinion, although I also think so (that Indonesian sounds better than Malay) but maybe that’s because I’m just too used to it.

    I know that both came from the same root. I’m just saying that the “derived form” sounds better, and I’m not the only one who think that way.

  18. avatar Tuan says:
    November 20th, 2007 at 11:21 am

    I met several “indo” (mixed Australian-Indonesian) students in Sydney a few years ago and that’s the only reason they took Indonesian, because they’re half Indonesian and they’re interested in getting to know the country better.

    From a person of Indonesian heritage, I am somewhat interested in learning Indonesian myself. I hear it is an easy language to learn.

    Interestingly most of Caucasian friends who can speak Indonesian are Dutch.

    Interestingly there are Indonesian communities (decedants of exiles from Dutch rule) that speak a version of Bahasa from the western part of Indonesia, in Sri Lanka and Suriname. Although, Cape Malays (Indonesian exiles as well) in South Africa no longer speak Bahasa.

    ~Tuan Indonesian-American Muslim

  19. avatar Wati says:
    November 20th, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    I have been working in Malaysia for 5 years. A few people only speaking Malay. Foreigner don’t have problem about language. Indonesia is different, most Indonesian can’t speak English properly including myself ha ha. Need for foreigner especially bules to learn B. Indonesia if they want to mix with our society, is not bad to learn other language anyway.
    Javanese dialect seems popular in Malaysia. I had once ask by the immigration officer in the air port in Javanese dialect. Sometimes I speak with our Malaysian client in B. Jawa, sound funny, but I never been asked in B. Indonesia, pity.

  20. avatar Zaq says:
    November 20th, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    Ihaknt:

    Sounds to me Naga is actually on the Ozi’s side. Why bother if Indonesia is becoming all that.

    Yes Ihaknt, national fanatics to our own country. I presume Naga is Australian. Got it?

  21. avatar Zaq says:
    November 20th, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    Patung,

    the title of your post is not wise. The news was not saying Australian DON’T want. It said that they would prefer to learn other languages, and it was said that the cause of it is the more and more immigrants from these countrues.

    The title lead to the sense of arrogancy at the side of the Australian. Reckless words in writing could bring hatred and I believe it was and is not your intention in creating this blog.

  22. avatar Pena Budaya says:
    November 20th, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    I agree with Zaq..the title could be misleading.

    Indonesia and Malay government should work together to pursue United Nations to admit Indonesian-Malay as one of UN official languages. Otherwise, don’t expect too much for Australians or other countries to learn our language! We can not use Indonesian except in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. Indonesian language is not globally accepted and that is the fact.

  23. avatar WP says:
    November 20th, 2007 at 9:10 pm

    I will be much happier if we put English as an official national language along side BI. Whereas BI has served its purpose to allow people from different islands to communicate, now we have a great need to make our people able to communicate with the rest of the world. If the first fact justifies BI as an official language, the second is more than justifiable to promote English to official as well.

  24. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:
    November 20th, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    Om swastyastu

    Friends, Sanscrit will be the official language of the up and coming Empire of Majapahit.

    Majapahit will rule again. Merdeka!

    Om santi santi santi om

  25. avatar Sputjam says:
    November 21st, 2007 at 1:07 am

    maybe 15 years ago, you can speak to a taxi driver in singapore in malay, although he may be of non-malay race. today, they will look blankly at you for speaking malay to them.

    In malaysia, malay language is taught and spoken incorrectly. I think, it is due to trying to teach malay in similar manner as english. So now, they have a generation of bumi malays wo are not able to communicate in any language, or as the malaysian says, speak in rojak language, mixture of malay/english and some cantonese words.

    watching Indonesian movies/dramas on malaysian satelite channels is actually a language learning experience for malaysians. And many are now learning to speak malay the “indonesian way”.

    As for singaporeans, the army volunteers they sent to aceh post tsunami were not able to communicate with their indonesian counterpart. so it is not only australins that is ignoring the malay language. singapore abandoned it for mandarin about 15 years ago.

  26. avatar Cukurungan says:
    November 21st, 2007 at 6:54 am

    Om swastyastu

    Friends, Sanscrit will be the official language of the up and coming Empire of Majapahit.

    Majapahit will rule again. Merdeka!

    Om santi santi santi om

    Thank you
    The first Sultan of a New Kesultanan Majapahit would be Sheikh Cukurungan bin Cukurmiring

  27. avatar Parvita says:
    November 21st, 2007 at 7:45 am

    From a person of Indonesian heritage, I am somewhat interested in learning Indonesian myself. I hear it is an easy language to learn.

    Tuan Amerika Muslim, the best way to learn a language is to date one. Single expats that I know can speak Bahasa Indonesia in 2-3 months compared to the married ones (unless they are married to an Indonesian).

  28. avatar pj_bali says:
    November 21st, 2007 at 8:27 am

    Another way is put yourself somewhere like a small village where nobody speaks English(my experience -not really recommended) or stay with an indonesian family for a time. Language courses are very cheap here as well and the many schools offer flexible teaching packages. Most Indonesians will really warm up to you if you can speak their language, and they are, I think, very patient and tolerant instructors. As to dating one well I suppose that depends: my ex gf preferred to use english in the house, my present gf uses bahasa at home.

    best of luck

  29. avatar Aditya says:
    November 21st, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    Tuan Amerika Muslim, the best way to learn a language is to date one. Single expats that I know can speak Bahasa Indonesia in 2-3 months compared to the married ones (unless they are married to an Indonesian).

    For all of the bluster about how easy BI is to master the standard amongst many bules is truly terrible – limited to the “satu bir dingin” type of dialogue that we all tire of in expat bars, I was quite in favour of the proposed language test, shame it didn’t go anywhere.

  30. avatar Bas says:
    November 21st, 2007 at 7:20 pm

    En Apparté…

    “15% of Australian final year high school students studied a foreign language.”

    and 100% of French final year high school students studied at least 2 foreign languages.

    It always make me laugh when I hear morons from the UK, America or Australia say French are arrogant and don’t want to learn foreign languages while it is actually them who can only speak English and do not want learn other language lol

    I must add in 15 years in Indonesia I can count with the fingers of my hands the English spoken people who spoke good Indonesian. A real shame.

    The least you can do when you live in a country is to learn the language.

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