Abstract: Bahasa Inggris telah menjadi bahasa asing yang banyak dikaji oleh pelajar dan mahasiswa dewasa ini. Ia telah menjadi bahasa asing yang sangat dibutuhkan dalam dunia pendidikan dan bidang-bidang yang lain. Untuk mempelajari bahasa tersebut, satu langkah yang mungkin dapat dilakukan adalah dengan membuat Contrastive analysis yaitu analisa yang membahas persamaan dan perbedaan kedua bahasa, yaitu Inggris dan Indonesia. Contrastive Analysis inilah yang kemudian dituangkan ke dalam makalah ini.
Kata kunci: persamaan, perbedaan, struktur bahasa

Teaching English to the Indonesian students is not as difficult as most people imagine. There is a strong belief that almost every one can do it. The experience has clearly indicated that the ideas of “Contrastive Analysis” play a very decisive role and contribute very much to the successful of doing this (Koencoro, 2006). Contrastive analysis has been regarded as main pillars in the domain of second or foreign language acquisition especially in Indonesia. Yet, not many English teachers know much about this term and it seems they have found difficulties related to how to conduct a simple contrastive analysis of Indonesian and English language. For that sake this paper is written. This paper is aimed to give a bright example how to make a contrastive analysis of Indonesian and English. Further than that, this paper is also aimed to give a clear understanding about how Indonesian differs from English in the sense of its language features.

This paper mainly deals with the similarities and dissimilarities of the two languages, Indonesian and English, in the morphological, syntactical, and sociolinguistics levels. In the first discussion, some remarks are given about the Contrastive analysis. In the second discussion, comparison of the idea of plural have been made and similarities and dissimilarities between the two languages are brought out. In the third discussion comparisons has been made for the sentence structure at syntactic level. Discussion four, deals with the comparison of passive and object-focus construction. Discussion five, six, seven and eight deals with the similarities and dissimilarities of subject prominence in English and –nya in Indonesian, terms of address, code mixing and code sifting in sociolinguistics level, and gender orientation versus kinship orientation. The concluding remarks of the above contrastive studies have, are outlined in the last session of this paper. This study is helpful for L2 learners in the process of language acquisition and also for the descriptive study of the languages.

A. Contrastive Analysis
Contrastive analysis in general term is an inductive investigative approach based on the distinctive elements in a language (Kardaleska, 2006). In common definition, the term can be defined as the method of analyzing the structure of any two languages with a view to estimate the differential aspects of their system, irrespective or their genetic affinity of level development (Geethakumary, 2006).

Contrastive Analysis of two languages in question: L1 and L2, pointing at the specific features of each language system (in its major areas: phonology, morphology, lexicology, syntax, text analysis) helps in the process of anticipation of possible difficulties with the L2 learners. A part of the difficulties can be attributed to the mother tongue (first language) interference (Kardaleska, 2006).

A systematic comparative study analyzing component wise the differences and similarities among languages was clearly recognized towards the end of 19th century and the beginning of 20th century, especially in Europe. The term “Contrastive linguistics” was suggested by Whorf, for comparative study which is giving emphasis on linguistic differences. Meanwhile contrastive linguistics has been redefined as “a subdiscipline of linguistics concerned with the comparison of two or more languages or subsystems of languages in order to determine both the differences and similarities between them” (Geethakumary, 2006).

The contrastive analysis emphasizes the influence of the mother tongue in learning a second language in phonological, morphological and syntactic levels. Examination of the differences between the first and second languages helps to predict the possible errors that can be made by L2 learners

Contrastive analysis provides an objective and scientific base for second language teaching. While learning a second language, if the mother tongue of the learner and the target language both has significantly similar linguistic features on all the levels of their structures, there will not be much difficulty in learning the new language in a limited time. For knowing the significantly similar structures in both languages the first step to be adopted is that both languages should be analysed independently. After the independent analysis, to sort out the different features of the two languages, comparison of the two languages is necessary. From this analysis it is easy to make out that at different levels of structures of these two languages there are some features quite similar and some quite dissimilar.

According to the popular assumptions of the contrastive analysis, the structural similarities will lead to facilitation and differences will cause interferences in the context of second/foreign language learning situations. This is however only a prediction and a partial understanding of the problems and prospects of a second/foreign language situation. The learner’s problems are not always constrained to the predictions of a contrastive study. Teachers’ competence, motivation and attitude of learners, teaching methods and instructional materials are the other variables that can significantly influence second/foreign language teaching. However, a contrastive grammar is highly useful for a motivated teacher and a learner for a more effective process of teaching and learning.

B. The idea of plural
The first idea to be discussed in this paper lies on the idea of plural. Plural here refers to the form of a noun or a verb which refers to more than one person or thing. English expresses plural implicitly by creating patterns how to use –s and –es. Indonesian on the other hand expresses plural explicitly. No definite rules how to create a plural form of a word except by reduplicating it, e.g rumah-rumah, mobil-mobil. The idea of plural can be clearly seen trough the following examples:

Indonesian                                                                 English

Serigala itu binatang                                                A wolf is an animal
Wolves are animal
Wolf is animal

Hiu itu ikan apa mamalia?                                        Is a shark fish or mammal?
Are sharks fish or mammal?
Is shark fish or mammal?

Tukang pos selalu membawa surat                      A postman always brings letters
Postmen always bring letters
Postman always bring letters

Hewan peliharaan membutuhkan perhatian         A pet needs care
Pets need care
Pet need care

From the example above, we can see that in English, the ideas of plural are expressed in many ways. A final –s or –es is added to a noun to make a noun plural. Sometimes, the changing a (man) to e (men) is also needed to indicate plural. A final –s or –es is added to a verb I when the subject is a singular noun (a wolf, a shark, a pet) or a third a person singular pronoun (she, he, it) (Azar, 1989).

C. Sentence structure
The basic order for Indonesian sentence is; Subject, Verb, Object or Adjective or Adverb. In syntactical term, simply we use the definition of S = NP.VP. A short hand way of saying that pattern is; a sentence consists of Noun Phrase and Verb Phrase. Yet in many cases, the order can be put in various ways, e.g a sentence may come from NP.VP, or NP.NP, or NP.AP or NP.PP. In English, the order strictly lies on S = NP.VP (sometimes VP with to be or linking verb). Below, you will find the differences in syntactical level

Indonesian                                                                              English

NP.VP                                                                                      NP.VP
Paman pergi ke Surabaya tadi malam                                  Uncle went to Surabaya last night
Kakak ke kampus naik motor                                                Brother rides to campus
Ibu ke pasar naik becak                                                         Mother goes to market by peddycap

NP.AdvP                                           NP.VP
Bibi di kebun                                   Aunty is in the garden
Dompetnya di atas meja                His wallet is on the table

NP.AP                                                     NP.VP
Brudin sakit semalam                            Brudin was sick last night
Mereka bising sekali tadi sore            They were very noisy this afternoon

NP.NP                                                                          NP.VP
Orang yang di sana tadi malam Andi                      The man who was there last night is Andy
Kebanyakan warga desa ini nelayan                       Most citizen of this village are sailors

Note: NP: Noun Phrase                  Adv P: Adverbial Phrase
AP: Adjective Phrase                      VP    : Verb Phrase

D. Passive and Object-Focus Construction
The idea of passive is rare in speech, yet it occurs often in academic writing. The passive form of a verb phrase contain this pattern; be + past participle, e.g is bitten, was stolen, can be taken. In Indonesian, passive is shown by adding di- before a verb, e.g dimakan, ditipu, dipermalukan. In most clauses, the subject refers to the “doer”, or actor of the action of the verb (Leech and friends, 2003). When we create a passive sentence, the focus of the sentence goes to Subject. This term is well known as Canonical passive, e.g Buku itu sudah dibaca oleh Andi or The book has been read by Andi.

Passive sentence in Indonesian, the position of focus may go to Object. We call it Object focus or in another word non canonical passive. The term can be defined as a sentence which has semi-active and semi-passive construction, e.g Buku itu sudah saya baca. This phenomenon does not occur in English except in relative clauses.

Indonesian                                                        English
A: Erni menulis makalah ini                            A: Erni writes this paper
P: Makalah ini ditulis oleh erni                       P: This paper is written by Erni
Makalah ini ditulis Erni
Makalah ini Erni tulis*

A: Dia sudah mengirim suratnya?                 A: Has she sent the letter yet?
P: Suratnya sudah dikirim oleh dia?              P: Has the letter been sent by
Suratnya sudah dikirim dia?
Suratnya sudah dia kirim?*
Sudah dia kirim suratnya?*

A: Saya tidak memakan makanan itu              A: I did not eat that food
P: Makanan itu tidak dimakan oleh saya        P: That food was not eaten by me yet
Makanan itu tidak saya makan*
Tidak saya makan makanan itu*

Note: A: Active        P:Passive
* NonCanonical Passive/Object focus

Notice that object focus constructions in Indonesian also occur in the so-called relative clauses in English. While relative clauses of the object pattern type in English do not change the voice of the verb, in Indonesian they do. That is, the antecedent referred to by the relative pronoun becomes an object focus in Indonesian. Compare the following English sentences with their Indonesian counterparts

Indonesian                                                                                        English
Orang tua yang ditemui Rika di sekolah adalah kakeknya        The old man (whom) Rika met at the school was his grand father

*Orang tua yang Rika menemui di  sekolah……..

Indonesian                                                                                          English
Demonstrasi yang saya tonton di TV sangat menakutkan         Demonstration I watched on TV was scary

*Demonstrasi yang saya menonton di TV…….

Errors such as *Orang tua yang Rika menemui di sekolah….or *Demonstrasi yang saya menonton di TV…are common to occur in the speech or writing produced by speakers of English learning Indonesian. Apparently, this is a kind of error known in TEFL as transfer. That is the carrying over of a syntactic structure in English into Indonesian (Kadarisman, 2002:3)

Object-focus construction in Indonesian are different from cleft in English, e.g That is the man that I have met, or That is the key I am looking for. In Indonesian, cleft sentences are equal to object-focus + -lah construction, e.g  Lelaki itulah yang pernah saya temui, and Kunci itulah yang sedang saya cari.

In English, it is also possible to have object focus. Here we will call it Object fronting, e.g  The man I have met, and The key I am looking for. However, it should be noted that object focus in English is a “marked” or unusual structure, whereas object focus in Indonesian as an “unmarked” or common structure. Moreover, object focus in Indonesian makes the sentence “partly passive and hence the term Non-cannonical passive. In contrast, English object fronting does not change the sentence from active into passive. (Kadarisman, 2002:4).

E. Subject prominence in English and –nya in Indonesian
English is a subject prominent language. It means every sentence in English always requires a subject. The subject can be a proper name, pronoun or something else. Yet in Indonesian, the subject may be omitted. This phenomenon can be mentioned as Zero subject sentence. The subject is coverable from the context

Indonesian                                                            English
Tinggalnya dimana sekarang?                           Where do you stay now?
Pekerjaannya apa?                                               What do you do for living?
Butuhnya apa dariku?                                         What do you need from me?
Uangnya berapa?                                                 How much money do you have?

In the sentence Tinggalnya di mana?, we do not find a subject since the subject needs not to be put there. Yet, this sentence still be understood by Indonesian people. Here zero subjects play role, and it is coverable from the context. In the sentence Where do you stay now?, the subject is definite, and in this case the subject is “you”.

F. Terms of Address
In Indonesia, The term of address is used to differentiate positions of people. It is also used to show politeness in conversation. To address someone who is older than us, we must use the proper address, e.g Bapak, Ibu, Panjennengan. In English, those terms are not used. English only addresses “You” to all of their interlocutors.

Indonesian                                                                                      English
Anda                                            sudah makan?                          Have you had your dinner?
Bapak/Ibu                                                                                       Are you hungry?
Pak Roni/Bu Dewi
Heri/Puspita                                 lapar?

G. Code Switching and Code Mixing
The next discussion in this topic lies in the term of Code Switching and Code mixing that occurs in Indonesian and English spoken community. The existence of these two phenomena is familiar in daily conversations conducted among them. Many Code switching and code mixing’s events occur both in Indonesian people conversation and English spoken community. Here, Code-switching refers the use of two languages simultaneously or interchangeably (Valdes-Fallis, 1977). Chana (1984) describes code-switching as the juxtaposition within the same speech exchange of passages of speech belonging to two different grammatical systems or subsystems. Code mixing on the other hand can be defined as the involvement of the deliberate mixing of two languages without an associated topic change. The example given by Pfaff (1979) demonstrates this event, a code mixing phenomenon between English and Spanish language.
*I went to the house chiquita
I went to the little house (Pfaff, 1979)

In this session, we are going to talk shortly about Code mixing phenomenon that occurs in Indonesian. Below, you will find clear examples of code mixing in a conversation between two Javanese;
A: Mana Pak Wendi Lim, kok belum datang?
B: Wah, dalem mboten ngertos, Pak
A: Lho, kemarin kan kamu saya suruh menyampaikan nota saya ke kantornya.
B: Waktu saya sowan ke sana, beliau tidak ada. Sedang tindakan ke Madiun, kata  Mbak Nunung Sekretarisnya.
A: Mbak Nunung bilang apa?
B: Mungkin sore atau malam hari Pak Wendi baru pulang dari Madiun. Lalu bilang,“Notanya ditinggal di sini saja. Kalau Bapak rawuh, nanti saya haturkan” (Kadarisman, 2002:5).

H. Gender versus Kinship Orientation
The idea of gender orientation in English is commonly used in the form of pronoun, both subject and object. It may appear as he, she, him or her. More than that, the gender orientation is also used to differentiate subjects in a sentence. There are many terms to differentiate subject. One is used to differentiate siblings. We find the words “brother” and “sister” is aimed to differentiate male and female siblings, or son or daughter to differentiate male and female child. In Indonesian the term of gender orientation is not well known. When we talk about a child, we commonly say anak without referring what sex the child has. English will say a boy or a girl instead of a child. In this case we can say that English is a strongly gender oriented language. Below you will find example for that:

Indonesian                                                   English
Kemana dia pergi?                                      Where does he go?
Where does she go?

Buku itu milik dia                                         The book belongs to her
The book belongs to him

Anak itu bermain di lapangan                    The boy plays on the playground
The girl plays on the playground

In Indonesian language, the ideas of kinship are very popular. These ideas play basic role in conducting a conversation. It seems the cultural background may support these Ideas. The cultural bound of Indonesian people create a close and respectful relationship with others. Someone who is close to us will be treated differently with someone who has no relative connection. The differentiation of address may be the realization for that.

Indonesian                                                English
Nak Deni         mau kemana?                   Where are you going?
Mas Deni
Pak Deni
Saudara Deni
Om Deni

Concluding Remarks
The paper starts by making a brief explanation about Contrastive analysis. Then it continuous further by giving many examples of differences and similarities between two languages, Indonesian and English. This contrastive analysis may not provide a very significant role to scholars, yet in certain case, it helps much to L2 learner or to teachers of English language to give them a clear picture about the differences and the similarities lie between two languages.


Azar, Scramfer, Betty. 1989. Understanding and Using English Grammar. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.Inc

Chana, U. 1984. Evaluative reactions to Punjabi/English code-switching. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. 5 (6), pp. 447-473.

Geethakumary, V. 2006. A Contrastive Analysis of Hindi and Malayalam. http://www.languageinindia.com. 24 May  2006

Koencoro, S. 2006. The Application of Contrastive Analysis in Teaching Indonesian to  English Speaking Expatriates. http://www.ialf.edu. 24 May.2006

Kadarisman, Effendi. 2002. Trends and Issues in Linguistics: an exercise. Unpublished modul: State University of Malang.

Kadarisman, Effendi. 2002. Trends and Issues in Linguistics: an exercise. Unpublished modul: State University of Malang

Kardaleska, Ljubica. 2006. Contrastive Analysis and Error Analysis in Copmbination with Analysis of the Semantic Level. http://www.sil.org. 24 May  2006

Leech, Geofrey&friends. 2003. An A-Z of English Grammar & Usage. Malaysia: Longman

Pfaff, C.W. 1976. Functional and structural constraints on syntactic variation on code-switching. Papers from the Parasession on Diachronic Syntax. Chicago: CLS. pp. 248-59

Valdes-Fallis, G. 1977. Code-switching among bilingual Mexican-American women: Towards an understanding of sex-related language alternation. International Journal of The Sociology of Language, 7, 65-72.


  1. Kartika Shinta Dewi
    April 19, 2011 pukul 1:48 pm

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    Mei 19, 2011 pukul 6:32 am

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  3. sendro
    September 22, 2011 pukul 4:29 am

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  4. Oktober 28, 2011 pukul 3:55 am

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    Februari 24, 2012 pukul 12:21 pm

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    Februari 29, 2012 pukul 2:28 pm

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  7. bertha
    Oktober 13, 2012 pukul 1:47 am

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  12. Februari 24, 2014 pukul 11:12 pm

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  13. miski
    Desember 8, 2014 pukul 10:02 am

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  14. Yuanovita Prihatianti Fitria
    Oktober 25, 2016 pukul 3:24 am

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  16. November 2, 2017 pukul 7:25 am

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