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english vs indonesian

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One thing which recently made it into my reverse-culture-shock impact list is the
widespread use of incomprehensible (read: broken), mixed-language expressions,
potentially due to many reasons (to name a few: innocent show-off, following the
mainstream, or just trying to look more “educated”). It starts with
an easy one, like denoting the printer cartridge types as “black” and
“color”, i.e. in English, although we have good Indonesian words for
that (“hitam” and “warna”, in case you can’t recall). The
worse part is yet to come, it kills me when someone starts to sprinkle English
words in an otherwise perfect sentence, e.g. “tapi you mesti ngajak
aku to follow your, ehm [can’t find the English words], kegiatan,
which is sebenarnya quite interesting”. This
wonderful fragment is ridiculously non-sense for both foreigners who never
learned Indonesian and for my fellow countrymen who do not know English at
all.

Of course it won’t surprise you if I say that you can easily find flyers and

other promotion materials exactly using the same pattern. Just today we found a

state-sponsored, free Shopping & Travelling Guide booklet featuring

dozens of pages with English headings. Again, the contents are written in

Indonesian. This leads to a number of striking typos and mistakes, one of which

is shown here:

the typical typo

I have nothing against foreign languages (I have my share by learning few of

them), but I also still love my wonderful mother tongue, Bahasa Indonesia.

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