Monday, April 04, 2005

English or Bahasa Indonesia?

A while ago I posted a question, whether we should use English or Bahasa Indonesia in this blog. I never got a convincing answer. I kept using English, just for reaching out to wider audience (readers). Our formal web site is already in Bahasa Indonesia.

Well, now pak Harsono Taroepratjeka posted a message in a local mailing list asking why we use English in many things around campus. He gave a short history about our university:

During the 60s and 70s, many Indonesians (ITB lecturers) just got back from studying abroad. So, English was used quite extensive. There was "Ganesha Open Air,"
"Opening Ceremony," "Closing Ceremony," "Student Center," "Student Government," and so on.

Gradually, things were changed. Bahasa Indonesia was used. We had "Ruang Serba Guna" as oppose of "Multipurpose Room." Then, there were "Gedung Serba Guna," "Upacara Pembukaan," "Penutupan," and so on.

Now, since late 90s, things are back in English. New buildings were named in English; "Basic Science building," "Career Development Center," and so on. What's with us? Why don't we use Bahasa Indonesia? Any specific reason(s)?


Blogger Pak Sui said...

Welcome to the information era, pak Budi. I understand that in the 60s-70s many new ITB lecturers were just come from abroad, bring a new knowledge and they were trained in English, and then English became, not just a habit, but a kind of highly educated symbol for the person. After that, things became fed up of so many English-speaking persons, talking all phrases in English, unnaturally. Nationalism was increased and people want Bahasa Indonesia back.

When the Internet was born in the 90s, people were thirsty on all kind of information, which (un)fortunately are available in English. They were get used to read everything in English. We can see all IT-related jargons, words and techie stuffs that cannot be translated to local language. I remember one of my lecturer in IF-ITB who was insisted to use all kind of IT words in Bahasa Indonesia, such as "larik" for array, "temu-kembali" for retrieval, etc., which I think they are ridiculous.

Thus I think, the choice of using English or Bahasa Indonesia in a webpage basically depends on who is your reader. If you want to spread more information to the whole world, then there is no way to use English, though ironically Mandarin is the most spoken language in the world, followed by Spanish, English, Arabic and Bengali. And Bahasa Indonesia/Malayan is at 12th. Not bad. :-)

9:19 PM  
Blogger budi said...

Hi Pak Sui.
I have posted your comment in our local (dosen) mailing list. There are a few comments. Later I may repost those comments in this blog.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Pak Sui said...

Well, I don't know how to say, since you may expect a long discussion with no end there.

First of all, I am not also a good English-(speaking/writing) person, I am still learning. My papers were all being commented out by my prof., because of a lot of grammar mistakes. I can see some grammar mistakes in my previous comment:
1. "...,bring a new knowledge...", that should be "bringing".
2. "...who was insisted...", that should be "who insisted".
3. "Nationalism was increased...", that should be "was increasing.."
4. and so on.

I remember again once when I wrote a paper for a conference. There I wanted to say "an observation who were performed blindly", but instead of that, I wrote: "a blinded observation was performed". :)) My supervisor was laughing.

Anyway, I gained a lot of improvement in English by reading English websites and books. In my job now, I should be able to write and to speak in reasonably understandable English.

I am looking forward for those comments from your local mailing list. It'll be interesting. ;)

5:29 PM  
Blogger Pak Sui said...

No, no, I was wrong again. Phew.
I wrote: "a blind observer performed..." and my supervisor laughed.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Roby said...

sama dengan pak sui, komentar saya memang sebaiknya pragmatis saja. bhs utk komunikasi dan saling mengerti.

2:32 AM  
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1:27 PM  

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