I am an Indonesian. I and my family speak Indonesian language in our daily life. To be specific, we also speak our local region language, Javanese. To be more specific, the city where we live, Surabaya, has absolutely influenced the way we communicate with its distinctive local dialect added to our Javanese language. In practice, we may use those three languages all together or mix them in our everyday conversations.
English? As widely known to be the internationally used language, English has surely broadened its functionality to Indonesia. About in the last two decades, the awareness of Indonesian people to speaking English has remarkably increased. For comparison, I was initially acquainted to English when I was in junior high school. But now, my kids have the same way in their elementary school level, at a much earlier stage.
However, it felt a little bit hard to teach the kids how to understand and speak English. While it seemed much easier when they learned Indonesian and Javanese at the outset, it didn’t look the same when they learned English. Just because we’re not native speakers of English? It could be. But I’d rather think that there’s a little bit psychological constraint as considering English is a foreign language.
Wanna see the ‘drama’ when Attar –my youngest kid- was learning English? Here are some. When I asked him to write down the spelling of English numbers, he showed up: WAN, TU, TRII, FOR, FAIF, SIKS… When I let him know the correct answer: ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, SIX for some other takes, the 6-year-old boy wrote the same and replied, “I write them down just exactly what I heard”. Well, he might think that the spelling and pronunciation of English words are articulated in the exactly same manner 😀
When I continued guiding him using English, he slightly nudged me saying: “Ayah ngomong apa sih? Aku nggak ngerti!” (Dad what are you talking about? I don’t understand!)
Oh my… How are you supposed to end up with your English in the next time, my boy? 😀
Kind of exhausting, I guessed. I then took a little time to draw back and try to find out why things got in the way when Attar tried to get to English. I closed my eyes in the bed and suddenly get up: “Come on, he’s only 6. He still has a long way to go.”
That’s right. I remembered learning English for the first time when I was 12 years old. As Attar sets it off at the age of 6, I think he’s making a big leap. What can limit the ‘Gen Y’ in this era of open accessibility to information? I then came to realize that things kids have something to do with are so close with English in many ways. At my counting: story books, TV programs, games in the Android devices, and even the language of his examination of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in which he enters the piano class.
Phewww… I think I can just sit back and relax now. All I do now is watch him grow in his normal way and find him mature with his English when the time comes. English first, my boy.. for your future…