"Easiest" language?

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Rounin
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Postby Rounin » 2006-11-09, 1:18

A girl in my Chinese class told me Indonesian was really easy to learn as well. It's just anecdotal evidence of course, but it would be really interesting to learn some Indonesian some time to test the hypothesis.

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Postby 0stsee » 2006-11-19, 12:45

Rounin wrote:A girl in my Chinese class told me Indonesian was really easy to learn as well. It's just anecdotal evidence of course, but it would be really interesting to learn some Indonesian some time to test the hypothesis.


I think Norwegian is an easy language as well. :wink:


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Postby Rounin » 2007-03-05, 0:57

By the way, I wonder if it's possible to find a more comprehensive listing of the data presented during that conference? After all, it would be even more interesting if it turned out that they'd covered other languages as well, such as Mandarin and Indonesian and so on. Anyone have any ideas?

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Postby 0stsee » 2007-03-05, 13:49

Rounin wrote:By the way, I wonder if it's possible to find a more comprehensive listing of the data presented during that conference? After all, it would be even more interesting if it turned out that they'd covered other languages as well, such as Mandarin and Indonesian and so on. Anyone have any ideas?


Which conference?

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Postby Rounin » 2007-03-05, 17:44

The conference mentioned in the article. The professor cited there provided me with a clarification, though; it seems as it's mainly the morphological structure which is easily learned, rather than the language as a whole. She also suggested reading Dan Slobin's "The crosslinguistic study of language acquisition".

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Postby ausdag » 2007-05-17, 12:51

Hello, new member here.

I think it's a bit inaccurate to say Indonesian is an easy language. Grammatically it is less complex than a lot of European languages or English. But Indonesian as taught in grammar books is what we call 'Standard Indonesian' - Bahasa Baku. These days more and more people are making a greater distinction between Standard Indonesian and the many varieties of Spoken Indonesian.

These varieties are not 'dialects'. They all constitute Indonesian, ie, Bahasa Indonesia.
Until recently many Indonesian linguists even refused to acknowledge these varieties as legitimate I think because they did not conform to the standards of Standard Indonesian, and because they couldn;t be classified as dialects.

Standard Indonesian is rarely encountered in spoken form except in older movies, some TV dramas TV advertisements and the news and on formal occassions although none of these contexts necessarily exhibit purely Standard Indonesian.

The disparity between Standard Indonesian and the colloquial Jakarta variety is very wide - wider than that between Standard (Oxford) English and most colloquial forms of English.

The Central Java variety (the one I'm most familiar with) is different again, but still Indonesian - not a dialect. It is endowed with a rich array of idiom and inuendo as a result of the influence of Javanese. This is not necessarily in the form of loan words from Javanese, but in the form of ideas translated over into spoken Indonesian.

The Jakarta Chinese variety, which I now encounter on a daily basis in my job as a high school teacher here in Jakarta is different again. It is influenced by a variety of factors and is spoken at a very fast pace.

In fact, it may be fair to say that once you have studied the grammar of Standard Indonesian, in order to progress on to spoken communication there is much you have to 'unlearn'.

My dilemma after years of exposure to non-standard varieties of Indonesian has actually been getting back into Standard Indonesian in order to improve my written Indonesian skills.

This shouldn't be taken as discouragement, but rather encouragement to explore the very interesting array of spoken Indonesian on offer in this country.

Cheers,

DavidG

....oh..did I mention 'Bahasa Gaul' as well? Now there's an interesting variety. There're even a few dictionaries (albeit little ones) devoted to this variety of spoken Indonesian.... :whistle:

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Postby Rounin » 2007-05-17, 22:13

Thank you for that very useful bit of information. It's nice to know the situation's not always as simple as it may seem...! :)

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Genau!

Postby 0stsee » 2007-06-26, 14:58

ausdag wrote:Hello, new member here.

I think it's a bit inaccurate to say Indonesian is an easy language. Grammatically it is less complex than a lot of European languages or English. But Indonesian as taught in grammar books is what we call 'Standard Indonesian' - Bahasa Baku. These days more and more people are making a greater distinction between Standard Indonesian and the many varieties of Spoken Indonesian.

These varieties are not 'dialects'. They all constitute Indonesian, ie, Bahasa Indonesia.
Until recently many Indonesian linguists even refused to acknowledge these varieties as legitimate I think because they did not conform to the standards of Standard Indonesian, and because they couldn;t be classified as dialects.

Standard Indonesian is rarely encountered in spoken form except in older movies, some TV dramas TV advertisements and the news and on formal occassions although none of these contexts necessarily exhibit purely Standard Indonesian.

The disparity between Standard Indonesian and the colloquial Jakarta variety is very wide - wider than that between Standard (Oxford) English and most colloquial forms of English.

The Central Java variety (the one I'm most familiar with) is different again, but still Indonesian - not a dialect. It is endowed with a rich array of idiom and inuendo as a result of the influence of Javanese. This is not necessarily in the form of loan words from Javanese, but in the form of ideas translated over into spoken Indonesian.

The Jakarta Chinese variety, which I now encounter on a daily basis in my job as a high school teacher here in Jakarta is different again. It is influenced by a variety of factors and is spoken at a very fast pace.

In fact, it may be fair to say that once you have studied the grammar of Standard Indonesian, in order to progress on to spoken communication there is much you have to 'unlearn'.

My dilemma after years of exposure to non-standard varieties of Indonesian has actually been getting back into Standard Indonesian in order to improve my written Indonesian skills.

This shouldn't be taken as discouragement, but rather encouragement to explore the very interesting array of spoken Indonesian on offer in this country.

Cheers,

DavidG

....oh..did I mention 'Bahasa Gaul' as well? Now there's an interesting variety. There're even a few dictionaries (albeit little ones) devoted to this variety of spoken Indonesian.... :whistle:


Very well said David!

The written Indonesian is indeed so different from the spoken one(s), it sounds very artificial.
Nobody would speak that way in everyday life.

There are some exceptions though:
I met people from Nusa Tenggara (Southeastern Indonesia), and their spoken Indonesian corresponds very much to the written one, it even shocked me a bit at first. :lol:


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Postby Jiwa Matahari » 2007-07-19, 7:34

Sure it's easy! To think that I'm having so much trouble in English, thinking about tenses all the time :oops:

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Postby Barong » 2007-07-29, 20:58

Im a native Dutch speaker, and people say Dutch is one of the hardest languages to learn, and believe me, im still having trouble with the grammar :shock:

English on the other hand is quite simple, maybe because English arised from Dutch.

anyway, people around me are saying that bahasa indonesia is very easy to learn, maybe because of all the Dutch loanwords :P

but my grandfather said, that spoken Indonesian is different from written Indonesian, but i think that is true for any language.

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Postby hanumizzle » 2007-07-29, 21:52

Jamie*On wrote:
I don't think there is any word loaned from Hindi.


It's the Sanskrit influence: (from Wikipedia)

Unlike other loanwords, Sanskrit loanwords have entered the basic vocabulary of Indonesian, so by many these aren't felt as foreign anymore.


They stick out to me as sharp as English words would.


'Dunia' is a good example.

Tons and tons of Dutch words in Bahasa as well.

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Written vis à vis Spoken

Postby 0stsee » 2007-09-10, 10:02

ausdag wrote:The disparity between Standard Indonesian and the colloquial Jakarta variety is very wide - wider than that between Standard (Oxford) English and most colloquial forms of English.

I have to say here that comparing English and Indonesian is like taking two extremes.

English belong to those languages where the spoken form is not very far away from the written one. Another example is German if one doesn't take into account the Southern German spoken varieties.

Many languages in this world are considerably different from their written forms.
Examples in Europe:

Swiss German
Norwegian
Greek
(Until a couple a decades ago. The government finally decided to use a written language closer to the spoken vernacular.)

French and Czech also have a considerable disparity between the written and the oral varieties.

Another example from outside Europe is the relatively large Arab world.
The disparity between MSA and spoken Arabic is pretty large and nobody speaks MSA, either.
You can take a look at the discussions in the Arabic forum, like this thread to begin with.
Last edited by 0stsee on 2007-09-10, 20:39, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Rounin » 2007-09-10, 18:27

I'm not sure why you use Norwegian as an example of a language where the spoken norm differs from the written, while at the same time you use English as an example of the opposite. How many other languages that have an alphabet do you know where the written language gives so little indication of the correct pronunciation of words? Norwegian, on the other hand, is fairly regular in comparison, with some vowel lengths and a few silent consonants here and there being the major hurdles.

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Norwegian Indonesian

Postby 0stsee » 2007-09-10, 18:42

I meant where the spoken form differs considerably from the written norm.

I don't know if you really speak Bokmaal exactly as it is written in your everyday life. If you speak Nynorsk I would be even more surprised.
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Postby Rounin » 2007-09-10, 19:14

But does the Bokmål standard give suggestions on style to begin with? I would have thought that it was mostly a spelling standard, perhaps with a bit of grammar thrown in.

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Norwegian Indonesian

Postby 0stsee » 2007-09-10, 19:37

Rounin wrote:But does the Bokmål standard give suggestions on style to begin with? I would have thought that it was mostly a spelling standard, perhaps with a bit of grammar thrown in.

Are you talking about the written Bokmaal or spoken Norwegian vernacular?
Do you mean Bokmaal gives suggestions on style of spoken Norwegian?
I don't understand the second sentence. What do you mean by that?
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Postby Rounin » 2007-09-10, 19:44

I'm talking about Norwegian, and how the spoken form doesn't deviate that much from the written.

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Norwegian Indonesian

Postby 0stsee » 2007-09-10, 19:51

I read that in the Oslo area the people speak closely to Bokmaal.

Most of the Norwegians I heard differed considerably from Bokmaal. You get used to them quickly, though.
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Postby Rounin » 2007-09-10, 20:30

Ah! Well, that is true, there is considerable dialectical variation. I wasn't aware that it was great enough to warrant a comparison with Swiss German, though..

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Norwegian Indonesian

Postby 0stsee » 2007-09-10, 20:38

Of course the disparity is at different levels in each language, and mostly there are regions which speak closer to the Standard Written Language.
It is hard to make comparison between languages, though, because there are different criteria.

But all in all one can say that in English and (North) German, perhaps also in Oslo, you speak the way you write.
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