Despite comprising the same 26 letters, the English and Indonesian alphabet are worlds apart when it comes to the sounds they make. Indonesian is a phonetic language, which means that words are pronounced exactly the way they are spelled and according to the sounds of their letters. This makes Indonesian words easy to decipher; you can listen to a word and know how to spell it, or read a word and know how to pronounce it with ease.

English, on the other hand, is non-phonetic and has a complex system of pronunciation. The letter a in ant, for example, has a different sound from the letter a in car. Some letters are even silent, such as the k in knee and the b in lamb!

Here are some more common mispronounced English words for Indonesian learners of English, along with a guide on how to say them correctly:


Because the ch digraph often makes a soft tj sound in words like chicken, chair and beach, English learners often apply the same concept to stomach. 

However, this word actually ends with a hard k sound, like black, duck and trick, which means it is actually pronounced sto-mek.


This is one of many English words that have a silent letter, which means it should be completely ignored. In answer, the w is silent to pronounce the word as an-ser.

The silent w is also present in sword (sord), wrinkle (rin-kel) and wrestle (res-sel).


When an English word ends with an e, the rules of spelling suggest that the vowel just before must be elongated, so the i takes on an ai sound, as in dine, fine and mine. This has led to the mispronunciation of similar looking words such as vehicle. However, the rule does not apply here, and vehicle is correctly pronounced vee-hik-el.

The same goes for determine (dee-ter-min) and examine (ex-a-min).


Like the letter k, the t is often silent in English, especially when it is situated in the middle of a word. Therefore, castle is actually pronounced cas-sel.

The same rule applies to listen (lis-sen), fasten (fas-sen) and whistle (wis-sel).


This word often appears in English conversations in Indonesia because of its significance to the culture. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most mispronounced English words because of the confusing ue digraph, prompting many to say mosk-you. 

But the ue is actually silent and the proper pronunciation for mosque is short and simple: mosk.


Were you surprised by the correct pronunciation of these words? To find out how you can further improve your pronunciation, contact the British Council Indonesia’s myClass at Lotte Shopping Avenue, Kuningan.