Thursday, December 26, 2013

12 Common English Mistakes That Indonesians Make

First of all, this list of 12 mistakes is based on my experience. I encounter Indonesians every day (of course! I'm an Indonesian) and I've found these to be common among them. Secondly, I hope that it will be useful for English-learning Indonesians—and perhaps other English learners as well. Lastly, enjoy it!

1. infinitives everywhere
There are many kinds and forms of verbs in English. Indonesians tend to use infinitives for almost every occasion.

• Erick go to school every day. (should be Erick goes...)
• She have dinner with her boyfriend at Sushi Tei Central Park yesterday. (should be She had dinner...)
• Berry want to play basketball this evening. (should be Berry wants...)

2. be + infinitive
Be forms are commonly found with infinitives. They tend to "stick" to each other.

• I am like to read romance novels. (should be I like to...)
• Last Friday I was bring some food to Tony. (should be Last Friday I brought ...)

3. more + short adjective + -er
Indonesians often struggle when it comes to short comparatives.

• Elephants are more bigger than humans. (should be Elephants are bigger...)
• Kobe Bryant is more taller than Jay Chou. (should be Kobe Bryant is taller...)
• Benny is more busier than Santi. (should be Benny is busier...)
• Papayas are more healthier than beer. (should be Papayas are healthier...)

4. wh-questions
- wrong auxiliary position

• Why you are wearing jeans? (should be Why are you...)
• Why you haven't put down the guitar yet? (should be Why haven't you...)
• Why she bought that medicine? (should be Why did she buy...)

- no auxiliaries

• Why she walking around the park? (should be Why is she walking...)
• Why Carol eat last night? (should be Why did Carol eat...)

5. adjective + with
"With" is not combined with some adjectives.

• Richard is different with my father. (should be Richard is different from/than (US)/to (Brit)...)
• Jane's car is similar with Rocky's. (should be Jane's car is similar to...)
• My book is same with his. (should be My book is the same as...)
• Victoria Beckham is married with David Beckham. (should be Victoria Beckham is married to...)
However, you can say "Victoria Beckham is married with four children."

6. silent t in words ending with -st, -nt and -ct, and silent k in words ending with -nk
Indonesians tend not to pronounce the last t in words ending in -st and -nt.

• "Fast" is pronounced /'fæs/ (US) or /'fɑːs/ (Brit). (should be pronounced /'fæst/ (US) or /'fɑːst/ (Brit))
• "First" is pronounced /'fɚs/. (should be pronounced /'fɚst/)
• "List" is pronounced /'lɪs/. (should be pronounced /'lɪst/)
• "Sent" is pronounced /'sɛn/. (should be pronounced /'sɛnt/)
• "Mint" is pronounced /'mɪn/. (should be pronounced /'mɪnt/)
• "Want" is pronounced /'wɑːn/. (should be pronounced /'wɑːnt/)
• "Act" is pronounced /'æk/. (should be pronounced /'ækt/)
• "Fact" is pronounced /'fæk/. (should be pronounced /'fækt/)
• "Effect" is pronounced /ɪ'fɛk/. (should be pronounced /'ɪ'fɛkt/)
• "Expect" is pronounced /ɛk'spɛk/. (should be pronounced /ɪk'spɛkt/)

In addition, they tend not to pronounce the last k in words ending in -nk.

• "Bank" is pronounced /'bæŋ/. (should be pronounced /'bæŋk/)
• "Link" is pronounced /'lɪŋ/. (should be pronounced /'lɪŋk/)
• "Sink" is pronounced /'sɪŋ/. (should be pronounced /'sɪŋk/)
• "Tank" is pronounced /'tæŋ/. (should be pronounced /'tæŋk/)

7. wrong pronunciation of words ending in -sk
Indonesians tend to pronounce /k/ and then /s/ in words ending in -sk. Sometimes the /k/ is silent.

• "Ask" is pronounced /'æks/ or /'æs/ (US), or /'ɑːks/ or /'ɑ:s/ (Brit). (should be pronounced /'æsk/ (US) or /'ɑːsk/ (Brit))
• "Disk" is pronounced /'dɪks/ or /'dɪs/. (should be pronounced /'dɪsk/)
• "Risk" is pronounced /'rɪks/ or /'rɪs/. (should be pronounced /'rɪsk/)
• "Task" is pronounced /'tæks/ or /'tæs/ (US), or /'tɑːks/ or /'tɑ:s/ (Brit). (should be pronounced /'tæsk/ (US) or /'tɑːsk/ (Brit))

8. th sounds (/θ/ and /ð/)
Th is often pronounced /t/ when it should be pronounced /θ/, and it is often pronounced /d/ when it should be pronounced /ð/.

• "Bath" is pronounced /'bæt/ (US) or /'bɑ:t/ (Brit). (should be pronounced /'bæθ/ (US) or /'bɑ:θ/ (Brit))
• "Thick" is pronounced /'tɪk/. (should be pronounced /'θɪk/)
• "Thin" is pronounced /'tɪn/. (should be pronounced /'θɪn/)
• "This" is pronounced /'dɪs/. (should be pronounced /'ðɪs/)
• "That" is pronounced /'dæt/. (should be pronounced /'ðæt/)
• "Then" is pronounced /'dɛn/. (should be pronounced /'ðɛn/)
• "With" is pronounced /'wɪt/. (should be pronounced /'wIθ/ or /'wɪð/)

9. /v/ sound
Indonesians are not accustomed to pronouncing /v/. They often use /f/ instead of /v/.

• "Give" is pronounced /'gɪf/. (should be pronounced /'gɪv/)
• "Live" is pronounced /'lɪf/. (should be pronounced /'lɪv/)
• "Verb" is pronounced /'fɚb/. (should be pronounced /'vɚb/)
• "Very" is pronounced /'feri/. (should be pronounced /'veri/)

10. pronounced gh
When gh should be silent, it is pronounced /g/.

• "Eight" is pronounced /'eɪgt/. (should be pronounced /'eɪt/)
• "High" is pronounced /'haɪg/. (should be pronounced /'haɪ/)
• "Right" is pronounced /'raɪgt/. (should be pronounced /'raɪt/)
• "Weight" is pronounced /'weɪgt/. (should be pronounced /'weɪt/)

11. pronounced w in words beginning with wr-
When w should be silent in wr- words, it is pronounced.

• "Write" is pronounced /'wraɪt/. (should be pronounced /'raɪt/)
• "Wrong" is pronounced /'wrɑːŋ/. (should be pronounced /'rɑːŋ/)

12. strong forms
Indonesians tend to use strong forms when they are not normally used.

Can you swim?
"Can" here is pronounced /'kæn/ (strong form). (should be pronounced /kən/ (weak form))
• I think I will make a cup of coffee.
"Will" here is pronounced /'wIl/ (strong form). (should be pronounced /wəl/ (weak form))


  1. Really ???
    I didn't know that...

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Hafidz! ^^ Hope it is useful for you. :)

  3. Nice article! thanks for this material has been a great help, I recommend this app has really been a great tool for my learning and pronunciation

    1. Thanks! I'm glad that you found it helpful. :) Cool. Technology really makes it easier for us to do things. ^^