Common Mistakes in Learning Indonesian

Making mistakes in the learning process is necessary. The same principle is also applied in learning new languages. By knowing where you went wrong, you will be enlightened with more room for improvements and it will help you to know which part of the language that you still need to work on. Furthermore, it will prevent you from making more mistakes in the future.


If you are currently learning Indonesian and you feel stuck with some repeated mistakes, perhaps you have not figured out the core problem. Here are what our instructors said about the common mistakes that can be the core problem of what has been hindering your learning progress!


1. Comparing Bahasa Indonesia to Your Native Language

Like it or not, comparing the language you are currently learning to your native language happens all the time. This happened because the way you think and speak has been very much influenced by your native language. Usually, this can be seen when you are trying to pronounce an Indonesian word. Sometimes, you pronounce it using the alphabet sound from your native language. Hence, it ends up in mispronunciation.


In another case, you often have difficulties in distinguishing two different Indonesian words with a slightly different pronunciation. For example, ‘Merah’ and ‘Marah’ are two Indonesian words that have completely different meanings which commonly mispronounce or use in the opposite context. ‘Merah’ means the color red, whilst ‘Marah’ means being angry.


2. Direct Translation

It is very common to directly translate word by word to form a sentence without considering its context. As the following impacts, you usually will have a hard time to understand the structure of a sentence, idioms, and affixes.


In the Indonesian language, it is very much likely for a verb to be used not only in its basic form but using affixes. These affixes vary based on their meanings. With direct translation, you might miss the affix and only use the basic forms. This will end up taking the sense out of the sentences that you are trying to say.


3. Guessing the Context During Conversations

Sometimes when you are excited about learning a new language, you tend to be involved in its conversation eagerly, right? If you do not clearly get what the speaker said, you tend to guess the context so you will have the idea of what it is about, correct?


Guessing the context is not completely wrong. Your effort in doing so is highly appreciated, but we have a better way to help you smoothen your conversation. The key is to always ask questions if you don’t understand. You can always get away with the right answer by guessing the context, but you will not understand the question and might end up learning nothing. On an extreme level, you would only be able to passively answer the question rather than initiating the conversation.


4. Memorizing Vocabularies

You cannot speak the language without understanding the principles and using the right vocabulary. Both are equally important. What has been another common mistake is you tend to focus on memorizing more vocabs while you have not understood the principles profoundly.


When you focus on memorizing the vocab, you will spend more time thinking if your words are correct. This will also slow down your learning progress because you spend too much time remembering what the right vocab is. Learning Indonesian is not about how many vocabs you know, but more about how much you can understand and produce the language.


5. Lack of Confidence

Learning Indonesian is not only about understanding the language but also about implementing it on a daily basis. To be able to speak and engage with the language, the fundamental element that you need to own is confidence.


Having enough confidence will make you feel great about trying to use the language. You do not need to be shy and afraid of saying the wrong word or mispronouncing it. The harder you try, the sooner you will get to master the Indonesian language!


These common mistakes are written to support our beloved learners in learning the language so they will always be aware and a step ahead!








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