English Compared to Bahasa Indonesia 2

Differences Between the two Languages


1. Bahasa Indonesia is still a root-based language with nice complete root word families while English has diverged and the study of root words is not as useful. Many original English root words are now not used and forgotten although some of their derived forms remain popular.

2. English has tenses for verbs while bahasa Indonesia has no similar concept.

3. Bahasa Indonesia doesn’t have gender (male/female/neuter personal pronouns)

4. Bahasa Indonesia doesn’t have a plural suffix which is comparable to the English “s”. Indonesian plural concept is understood by context or by the addition of other words to express the concept of something being “more than one”.

5. Pronunciation is different but not drastically different.

6. Bahsaa Indonesia doesn’t use contractions such as aren’t, won’t, etc.

7. Indonesian sentences almost always have the primary thought or focus on the beginning of the sentence, the main thought comes first and the adjunct second. English is more varied and inconsistent.

8. Many English words can be used in different ways (e.g. same-spelled words with different meanings) while bahasa Indonesia has fewer.

9. Modifying adjectives are usually placed before the noun in English but after nouns in bahasa Indonesia

10. There are no articles in bahasa Indonesia (no a, an or the), although the se- prefix can act in a similar manner such as in secarik = a scrap or sebuah = a piece (of fruit).

11. English doesn’t use the circumfix affix

12. English uses figurative forms a lot more frequently than in bahasa Indonesia

13. English has different spellings for 3rd person singular verbs while bahasa Indonesia does not change the verb. (example: “I go, you go, he goes” – “I go” is 1st person singular, “you go” is 2nd person singular and “he goes” is 3rd person singular with “goes” as a different spelling of “go”.)

14. Hyphens – English uses hyphens to form adjectives & nouns from differing words, compounding them with the combined meaning (e.g. life-giving = adj.). Bahasa Indonesia uses hyphens for repetition of the same word or almost-same words (reduplication, expressing repetition or indicating things smaller than real size like toys).

15. In spoken Indonesian, there are no linking verbs corresponding to the English words “be, am, is, are, was, were”.


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