Following on from my previous post, which I should add was a response to a comment made on a forum that Indonesian is an easy language to learn, the following is a second response to add more clarification to my initial point:
My point is, it's the difference between the vagueness of Indonesian (I mean 'vague' in a positive sense), which relies to a high(er) degree on context rather than words, thus 'High-Context language' and languages such as English which rely to a high(er) degree on spoken words over context, hence 'Low-Context language'.
In that sense, Westerners need to come to grips with being able to understand all the words, yet struggle with the gaps because the context-based message is far less apparent. Indonesians learning English need to come to terms with the speed and the many idioms found, especially in Australian English, amongst other hindrances that Australian English presents. I'm being overly simply here. It's far more complex than that.
I should point out too, that between US English, British English and Australian English, US English could be considered to be a 'lower-context' variety of English than British English, whereas Australian English could be considered to be the highest-context form of the three. Meaning, Americans tend to use more words than Australians to get their messages across. Australians have a subtle vagueness which means our meaning, especially in our humour, is often lost on Americans.
I actually struggle speaking Indonesian with other western learners of Indonesian because, having become more accustomed to the Central Javanese vagueness (again I mean this in a positive sense), I find westerners try to use way too many Indonesian words, comparatively speaking, in a single sentence to get their points across. And for some reason Westerners, myself included simply cannot pronounce Indonesian all that well. No matter how much I practice and try to mimic Indonesian pronunciation, I just cannot stop sounding like a westerner.
In a nutshell, the point I'm making is that no language should be considered any easier or difficult than any other language. All languages present their own unique challenges to learners.
* Update on this post (10-08-2012)
In response to my statement above that, "westerners try to use way too many Indonesian words..." a forum member made the following statement:
'True, we do this, and we also have the annoying habit of ending way too
many sentences with a "yaa?", turning the simplest observations into
I have observed exactly the same thing. I wonder, why is it that westerners like to append a 'Yaa?' on to the end of so many of their Indonesian statements?