By: Oky Primadeka (FITK/PBI)
In the effort of global market competition, most of people in every country are struggling to master foreign language. Today, it is very clear that foreign language is urgently needed because in 2015 there will be Asian Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) that enables about 500 millions people from every Asian country to spread their businesses across all over Asian region. If Indonesia does not prepare for this regional challenge, Indonesia probably will be left behind and its’ local worker will be replaced by people from other countries who have mastered Indonesian
language with high quality skills and services. In contrast, there is a perception about learning foreign language as a colonization (language colonization). What an excessive perception I think. Learning foreign language does not mean we replace our mother or national language in daily communication. We do not need to do this. In my perception, learning foreign language means as a preparation to be able to communicate in place and context in which we are supposed to use foreign language. It can be in formal or informal place and context. For instance, a discussion forum is the formal one, and daily communication is the informal one. In deep intention, mastering in foreign language is about learning how to get good skills of basic language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing). Sometimes, there are also a lot of people who only expect to have a good ability in speaking skill.
In this very modern era, having good foreign language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) is a key towards a big door of many thing we need. Business, good education, and trade as large as we want are the examples. To join in world community, we have to be able in speaking foreign language intelligibly. Related to the perception that learning foreign language is such a colonization, it is not true or false but can be excessive one. It is about what side we view this claim based on the reality.
There are two kinds of people who learn foreign language. First, they who learn it as reason to have a tool to communicate in international forum (for example). In this kind of learning, they usually practice foreign language not in the whole time of their lives but they practice it in the context needed to use foreign language only. For a specific example, if I am as an English students, I shall not practice my English when I am in a traditional market even though accompanied with my classmates who want to developed their English skill (speaking as the example). It is because the context and place are not appropriate. It will be different if I am in a base camp of foreign language community which provides me opportunity to practice. In such this community, the members have a same intention to get better in mastering foreign language skills.
However, there are also people who excessively practicing foreign language. For instances, people who are learning foreign language then they decide to practice it during most of their time. They do not consider the matter about what context they find in a place that they practice the foreign language. This is what I called as the excessive one. For this kind of excessive learner, it automatically against their mother or national language which is supposed to be used in daily or national interaction. As stated in our constitution, “National language is Bahasa Indonesia.”
Thereby, the essential part of learning foreign language is how we master its basics skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) without forgetting our own language identity (mother or national language). These are the points I would like to emphasize on this article. We use them to get many benefits when sometimes join in world community or to access many sources, books or sites written in foreign language. Especially for speaking ability, we have to speak international language (English) whether or not we want to. This is important to fulfill the expectation of having mutual understanding.