About the Indonesian Language
Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia) is the official language of Indonesia. Indonesian is a standardized dialect of the Malay language that was officially defined with the declaration of Indonesia's independence in 1945 although in the 1928 Indonesian Youth Pledge have declared it as the official language.
Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation in the world. Of its large population the number of people who fluently speak Indonesian is fast approaching 100%, thus making Indonesian one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.Most Indonesians, aside from speaking the national language, are often fluent in another regional language or local dialect (examples include Minangkabau, Sundanese and Javanese) which are commonly used at home and within the local community. Most formal education, as well as nearly all national media and other forms of communication, are conducted in Indonesian. In East Timor, which was an Indonesian province from 1975 to 1999, the Indonesian language is recognised by the constitution as one of the two working languages (the other is English, alongside the official languages of Tetum and Portuguese).
The Indonesian name for the language is Bahasa Indonesia (lit. "the language of Indonesia"). In the same way that English speakers would refer to the official language of France as "French" (not Français), the most accurate way of referring to Indonesia's national language in English is "Indonesian". However, the foreign term Bahasa Indonesia can sometimes still be found in written or spoken English. In addition, the language is sometimes referred to as "Bahasa" by English-speakers, though this simply means "language" and thus is also not an official term for the Indonesian language.
To a certain degree, Indonesian can be regarded as an open language. Over the years, foreign languages such as Sanskrit, Chinese, Arabic, Portuguese, Dutch and English have enriched and expanded the Indonesian language, mostly through trade contacts and international media.
Because of its semi-open status, there are those who regard Indonesian (as well as other forms of Malay) as lacking sufficient vocabularly and specialist terminologies. Yet some linguists consider this view to be a misconception, as a vast majority of foreign adopted words do have native equivalents. For example, the word asimilasi (from the Dutch word assimilatie) can also be expressed in Indonesian as penggabungan. Many words describing more modern inventions, objects or ideas are often Indonesianised adoptions of foreign words (e.g. computer becomes komputer), although many of these words also have Indonesian equivalents. For example, a "cell/mobile phone" can be referred to in Indonesian as either pon-sel/ telepon seluler (lit. cellular-telephone), HP (pronounced hah-péh - the acronymic form of hand phone) or telepon genggam (lit. "hold-in-the-hand telephone"). Other words such as "rice cooker" may be referred to simply as "rice cooker" or, again, in a more native Indonesian/ Malay form, i.e. penanak nasi (a word formed from the verb menanak, meaning 'to cook rice by boiling' + nasi, meaning 'cooked rice'). Overall, the use of native and non-native words in Indonesian is equally common and reflects the country's efforts towards modernization and globalization.
Many aspects of Indonesian grammar are relatively simple in the initial stages of study, making it one of the easiest languages to learn for adults. Indonesian does not require conjugation of verb tenses or participles, plural forms, articles and gender distinction for the third person pronouns. It is important to note that neither do many other languages traditionally regarded as 'complex', including Chinese (see Chinese grammar) and Thai for example. In spite of this, Indonesian and Malay are generally regarded as easy languages to learn, mostly because they are not tonal languages and they no longer use complex characters within their writing system, but rather utilize the Latin alphabet. Similar cases can also be seen in other Southeast Asian languages such as Vietnamese and Tagalog.
However, Indonesian does possess a complex system of affixations. The absence of tenses in the language is substituted through the use of aspect particles and (as with any language) Indonesian grammar often presents an array of exceptions. Also, the simplicity of Indonesian grammar at a beginners or basic level has the disadvantage of misleading many learners of the language into thinking that more advanced Indonesian grammar is just as simple.
Dr Paul Pimsleur
Paul Pimsleur (1928 – 1972) was an authority in the field of applied linguistics. He taught French phonetics and phonemics at the University of California, Los Angeles after obtaining his Ph.D. in French and a master's degree in psychological statistics from Columbia University. After leaving UCLA, Pimsleur went on to faculty positions at Ohio State University, where he taught French and foreign language education. At the time, the foreign language education program at OSU was the major doctoral program in that field in the US. While at Ohio State he created and directed the Listening Center, one of the largest language laboratories in the United States. Pimsleur was later a Professor of Education and Romance Languages at The State University of New York at Albany, where he held dual professorships in Education and French. He was also a Fulbright lecturer at the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg, and a founding member of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. He did research on the psychology of language learning and in 1969 was Section Head of Psychology of Second Languages Learning at the International Congress of Applied Linguistics.
His research focused on understanding the language acquisition process, especially the organic learning of children who speak a language without knowing its formal structure. For this, he studied the learning process of groups made of children, adults, and multilingual adults. The result of this research was the Pimsleur language learning system. His many books and articles had an impact on theories of language learning and teaching.
In the period from 1958 to 1966, Pimsleur reviewed previously published studies regarding linguistic and psychological factors involved in language learning. He also conducted several studies himself. This led to the publication in 1963 of a coauthored monograph, Underachievement in Foreign Language Learning, which was published by the Modern Language Association of America. Through this research, he identified three factors that could be measured to calculate language aptitude: verbal intelligence, auditory ability and motivation. Pimsleur and his associates developed the Pimsleur Language Aptitude Battery (PLAB) based on these three factors to assess language aptitude. He was one of the first foreign language educators to show an interest in students who have difficulty in learning a foreign language, while doing well in other subjects. Today, the PLAB is used to determine the language learning aptitude or even a language learning disability among secondary school students.
Dr. Pimsleur died unexpectedly of pneumonia during a visit to France in 1972.