Thursday, June 07, 2007

Losing my vocabulary

I've been neglecting this blog. It's not intentional. It's just that I've been focusing my energy, time, and thought to my other blog (the one in wordpress). There, I write dailly. Many times I write more than one blog entries in a day. The lack of update in this blog is just a casuality.

Then... I notice is that I am losing my English vocabulary. Oh, man!

I don't get to use my English as much I wanted to. I can use English in my daily activities but I consider this rude. Why should I talk to Indonesians in Indonesia in English? Wierd, isn't it? I should use Bahasa Indonesia. Not that it is not uncommon to mix-and-match languages. I've seen people use English and Bahasa Indonesia in a mix-match fashion. I don't like it.

I don't know if they do it (mixing the languages) unintentionally or they just do it to show off. I said unintentionally because it is possible. I happened to do it many times in the past. English words, phrases, idioms and such just blurted out of my mouth. Now, I am trying to control this unacceptable behavior (in my opionion). Ocassionally, I still think in English though. Yes, it is true. In many cases it is more difficult for me to explain certain things in Bahasa Indonesia. Now that I am losing my English, I am in a difficult position. Picture this ... I am trying to explain things but I am struggling to find the right (English) words. Ha!

Now, I see that my English is slipping away. A few days ago, my son asked; "what's the English word for 'gerhana'." I just stunned. I could not answer it right away. The word was in the tip of my tounge, but I just could not recall it. Dang! I reached for a dictionary. Sure enough, it's easy. The answer is "eclipse."

Incidentally, in our group we were talking about eclipse - the integrated development environment (IDE) for software development. How could I forget that word?

I've got to write more in this blog to keep my English intact. I just gotta ...!


probodj said...

Quote: "I've seen people use English and Bahasa Indonesia in a mix-match fashion. I don't like it."

Well sir, here you did it yourself: using the phrase "Bahasa Indonesia" in an English sentence.

Saying "I can speak Bahasa Indonesia fluently" is akin to saying "Saya bisa bicara bahasa English dengan lancar". Or how about this: "I can speak English, Bahasa Indonesia, Deutsch, Nihongo and 한궄어", if you insist on using the native names of languages. Weird, eh?

So, when speaking English, the Indonesian language should be called Indonesian language.

But I agree with the rest of your post: we need to keep using the languages that we have mastered, if we don't want to lose them.

budi said...

No. In English our language is not even called "Indonesian language". It's called "Bahasa". Go figure ...

I am trying to correct this by using "Bahasa Indonesia". In my opinion "Bahasa Indonesia" is a noun. So it's not "Bahasa" or "Indonesian language" :)

But that's just my opinion.

probodj said...

At first, I thought that the term "Bahasa Indonesia" was not a standard term, just a colloquial term used by foreigners who happened to have visited Indonesia or had some encounter with Indonesians. But then I checked and also the New Oxford American Dictionary that came bundled with MacOS X Tiger (I consider these dictionaries as coming from the most prominent English dictionary makers) -- and sure enough, there were entries for "bahasa" and "Bahasa Indonesia" in these two dictionaries. Which means, the use of the phrase "Bahasa Indonesia" is completely acceptable. Therefore, I withdray my comment about your use of the term "Bahasa Indonesia" in English.

Back to the topic: I agree with you that it would be "wagu" *) to use English when speaking to fellow Indonesians in Indonesia. However, if you could confince your colleagues about the importance of learning (and maintaining) English (or any language, for that matter), you could set up an "English-only" events or time. For example, some organisations declare Friday as English day. At my workplace, we have regular colloquia conducted entirely in English. Again, the key to learning and maintaining a language is putting it to use.

*) Forgive me for using the word, but what's the closest word in English for "wagu"?