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  LANGUAGE INTERFERENCE: THE INFLUENCES OF INDONESIAN MOTHER TONGUE ON THE INDONESIAN LEARNERS OF EN ABSTRACT This study attempts to discuss language interference with special reference to the Indonesian mother tongue, which can affect Indonesian learners of English. It also addresses some aspects of the two languages, English and Indonesian, which can cause some ‗errors‘ on the English learners in particular, and on Indonesian speaking people in general. It has been identified that there are seve ral language aspects of the students‘ native language, in this case Indonesian, which are different from the target language (English) and presumed to influence L2 learning. Among them are: sound system (e.g. spelling, substitution of phonemes, differentiation of vowels), structure (e.g. tenses, plurality, nouns and the use of articles,  prepositions), sociolinguistics (e.g. greeting, leave talking, and ‗small talk‘ after introduction).  It is suggested that the language produced by foreign learners (including Indonesian) is so unavoidably influenced, and even distorted, by the mother tongue of the learners that it should rather be termed an ‗Interlanguage‘ (Selinker, 1972), since it will always be a blend of the foreign language and the mother tongue. The better the learner is at overcoming language interference, the more dilute that blend will be. Key words: interference, mother tongue, Indonesian learners of English Introduction People have constantly communicated via language, particularly their family language which they use to communicate with others and in order to be able to live as a social community. A language is often identified as ‗a group of people‘ (Finegan et. al., 1997:6). For instance, Indonesians are people who speak Indonesian, Germans are people who speak German, the English are people who speak English, etc. Such language identification is called ―people‘s mother tongue‖ or native language, or home language, because these languages are primarily used in families where the people grow up. Mother tongue is a language which is potentially mastered when people are born (some say that even before we are born!). It is acquired informally and unconsciously. It is ―the language learned as a child because it is the one used in the child‘s environment‖ (Tomlinson, 1984:95). This is known as first language acquisition, which according to Krashen (1988:64) is ―an unconscious process, the sort of spontaneous ‗picking up‘ of a language that occurs in natural settings where no formal classroom instruct ion is involved;‖ whereas a second language is the language learned formally and consciously as a foreign language, or the language acquired after the first language. It is ―the study of how learners learn an additional language after they have acquired th eir mother tongue‖ (Ellis, 1985:5).    Furthermore, first language acquisition refers to all people‘s activities to master their mother tongue. The stream of activities could be done through both informal and formal education. Informal education is often name d ‗learning a language at home or untutored or naturalistic acquisition,‘ while formal education refers to ‗learning a language at school or tutored or classroom acquisition‘ (Ellis 1985:5). Similarly, Tarigan (1988:4) argues that informal education is learning a language naturally, whereas formal education is learning a language scientifically. Moreover, people who speak two languages (bilingual) or more (multilingual) interchangeably may affect the use of each language because one can use the L1‘s rules on L2‘s, and vice versa. This language interference is most often discussed as a source of errors (negative transfer), although where the relevant feature of both languages are the same, it results in correct language  production (positive transfer). The greater the differences between the two languages, the more negative the effects of interference are likely to be. This study, therefore, attempts to discuss language interference with special reference to the Indonesian mother tongue, which can affect Indonesian learners of English. It also addresses some aspects of the two languages, English and Indonesian, which can cause some ‗errors‘ on the English learners in particular, and on Indonesian speaking people in general. Literature Review Extensive research has already been done in the area of native language or mother tongue interference on the target language. Dulay et.al. (1982) define interference as the automatic transfer, due to habit, of the surface structure of the first language onto the surface of the target language. Interference may also be viewed as the transference of elements of one language to another at various levels including phonological, grammatical, lexical and orthographical (Berthold, Mangubhai & Batorowicz 1997, cf. Skiba 1997). Lott (1983) defines interference as ―errors in the learner‘s use of the foreign language that can be traced back to the mother tongue.‖ Whereas Brown (2000:95) states that interference occurs when ―the previous performance disrupts the performance of a second ta sk.‖   In addition, Ellis (1994: 51) refers to interference as ‗transfer,‘ which he says is ―the influence that the learner‘s L1 exerts over the acquisition of an L2.‖ He argues that transfer is governed by learners‘ perceptions about what is transferable an d by their stage of development in L2 learning. In learning a target language, learners construct their own interim rules (Selinker 1971 cf. Bhela 1999, Seligar 1988 and Ellis 1994) with the use of their L1 knowledge, but only when they  believe it will help them in the learning task or when they have become sufficiently proficient in the L2 for transfer to be possible. Moreover, Ellis (1994) raises the need to distinguish between ‗errors‘ and ‗mistakes‘ and makes an important distinction between the two. He says that errors reflect gaps in the learner‘s knowledge; they occur because the learner does not know what is correct. Mistakes reflect occasional lapses in performance; they occur because, in a particular instance, the learner is unable to perform what he or she knows. In addition, Carroll (1964) argues that the circumstances of learning a second language are like those of a mother tongue. Sometimes there are interferences and occasionally responses from one language system will intrude into speech in the other language. It appears that learning is most successful when the situations in which the two languages (L1 and L2) are learned, are kept as distinct as possible (Faerch and Kasper 1983, cf. Bhela 1999). To successfully learn L2 requires the L2 learner to often prevent the L1 structures from the L2 learning process, if the structures of the two languages are distinctly different. Beardsmore (1982) suggests that many of the difficulties a second language learner has  with the phonology, vocabulary and grammar of L2 are due to the interference of habits from L1. The formal elements of L1 are used within the context of L2, resulting in errors in L2, as the structures of the languages, L1 and L2 are different. Some Aspects of the Students‘ L1 (Indonesian) w hich may Influence the Learning of L2 (English) There are several language aspects of the students‘ native language, in this case Indonesian, which are different from the target language (English) and presumed to influence L2 learning. Among them are: A. Sound System The students who learn English are required to know and understand the sound system of the language. In using English vocabulary, they may be prevented from using ‗unfamiliar‘ words since the choices of vocabulary are huge. Similarly, the use of sentence patterns may still be selected, though the choices are not as many as the vocabulary. In producing the sound system, however, it is easily recognized between English native speakers and non-native ones from their  pronunciation of words. The greater the mispronunciation of the words, the more difficult the words are understood. For instance, an Indonesian student may find it difficult to differentiate  between ‗I need a pen‘ and ‗I need a pan,‘ since Indonesian language does not distinguish the  pronunciation of the two vowels (Tarigan, 1988:15). Furthermore, the problems of sound system may still be divided into several parts: 1. Spelling English is a language that has complicated spellings. Mispronunciation may be caused by spelling; and it may then cause a misunderstanding. The sound /i:/, for example, has many spellings: ‗ee‘ as in ‗need‘ or ‗feet‘   ‗ei‘ as in ‗receive‘   ‗ie‘ as in ‗belief‘   ‗i‘ as in ‗machine‘   ‗eo‘ as in ‗people‘ However, the spelling ‗ough‘ may have six different sounds:   ‗cough‘ ‗koff‘   ‗tough‘ ‗tuff‘   ‗bough‘ ‗bow‘   ‗through‘ ‗thru‘   ‗though‘ ‗tho‘   ‗thoroughfare‘ ‗thurafare‘ There are also some English letters which are not uttered, such as: - letter ‗k‘ as in ‗know, knight, knee‘  - letter ‗l‘ as in ‗talk, walk, balk‘  - letter ‗e‘ as in ‗love, care, make‘  - letter ‗b‘ as in ‗doubt, debt‘  - letter ‗p‘ as in ‗photo, psychology, pneumonia‘   In addition, some words which have different spelling and meaning, but they have the same  pronunciation are:  bear  –   bare /be?r/ sight  –   site /sait/ night  –   knight /nait/ role  –   roll /roul/ meat  –   meet /mi:t/  Non-native speakers, of course, are not the only people who have difficulties with spelling in English, and not all spelling errors can be attributed to language interference. But it is interesting to note that a list of the most commonly misspelled words of English native speakers will have only a small overlap with a similar list of common non-native-speaker spelling errors (Nicholls, 2003). Equally, lists of common English spelling errors for learners with different mother tongues will give a very different picture of the problems English spelling poses for learners with different mother tongues. Here, the mother-tongue-specific 'accent' can be noted. For example, for Indonesian learners, because Indonesian does not distinguish between the sounds '/i/' and '/i:/', may find it difficult to differentiate between ‗ship‘ and ‗sheep.‘ Furthermore, language interference in learning English spelling is not, however, restricted to  problems of pronunciation being carried over into spelling. Unlike many languages-Indonesian, for example-English does not have a high correspondence between sound and spelling. For learners in whose mother tongue this correspondence is greater, it is harder to grasp some of the complexities of English spelling. The vowel sounds of letters 'e' and 'i' are often confused (e.g. dicided, devided), and ‗this‘ and ‗these‘ are also often confused because the sound -distinction is unclear to learners. Indonesian speakers will often reduce a double consonant to a single one, as in their mother tongue, hence atention, oportunity, diferent. Indonesian speakers whose mother tongues do not feature clusters of consonants (two or more consonants grouped together, as in ‗twelve‘ or ‗department‘) will interpose an extra vowel (‗departement‘), or rearrange the vowels and consonants available into a configuration which feels more natural to them (twelev), based on their mother tongue. 2. Substitution of Phonemes Several English phonemes which do not exist in Indonesian phonemes are often substituted for their use. As a result, they may change the meaning of the words. For example: they /ð/ is uttered as ‗day‘ /d/ thank /?/ is uttered as ‗sank‘ /s/   shade /?/ is uttered as ‗said‘ /s/  very /v/ is uttered as ‗ferry‘ /f/ 3. Differentiation of Vowels English has more vowels than Indonesian. As a matter of fact, Indonesian learners may  pronounce two different English vowels with the same pronunciation; and this may change the meaning of the sentences. For example: /i/ and /i:/
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