Many languages spoken around the world share similarities in syntax, grammar or even vocabulary because they share the same origins, such as Dutch and German, Indonesian and Malaysian, or French and Spanish.
English and Indonesian, however, are worlds apart, having West Germanic and Austronesian roots, respectively. Given the vastly different rules separating the two, it can be quite challenging for a native speaker of Indonesian to learn the ins and outs of the more complex English language.
By keeping these four differences in mind, you might have an easier time understanding English:
Syntax is the arrangement of words in a sentence, which is mostly the same between English and Indonesian in simple phrases, but begins to differ in questions and adjective phrases.
English questions, for example, start with a question word (who, what, when, why, where, how) followed by a verb and then subject; or in yes/no questions, they begin with a verb followed by the subject:
What are you eating? / Are you eating?
In Indonesian, questions start with the subject:
Kamu makan apa? / Kamu mau makan?
Meanwhile, adjective phrases in the two languages are in opposite order. In English, the adjective comes before the noun, but in Indonesian, the noun is mentioned first:
red car / mobil merah
Bahasa Indonesia is relatively easy to learn because of its simple grammar rules, particularly with regards to verb tenses – or the lack of it. Unlike Indonesian, which uses the same verb for past, present and future situations, English has 16 different tenses! It may take time to master all of them, but it is not impossible!