The Struggle of Mastering Dutch Sentences by Indonesian Learners

Sugeng Riyanto


Many studies reveal that understanding process of sentences is universal. Indonesian learners of the Dutch, however, tend to process sentences in another way than the native speakers. This article focuses on the psycholinguistic study of the syntactic aspects of Dutch-Indonesian interlanguage. The study is based on the interlanguage syntax observed in an oral test given to thirty Indonesian learners of Dutch as a second language, whose purpose is to test the Processability Theory of Pienemann. The results of the study provide evidence for the validity of Pienemann’s theory. Learners who have acquired sentences with the highest level of processing will also already have acquired sentences with a lower level of processing. The results from learners with a high level of Dutch proficiency verify the processability theory with more certainty than the results of learners with a lower proficiency. Learners tend to rely on meaning if they are not confident of their grammatical proficiency. Investigations into interlanguage inspire people not to negatively judge language products of second language learners.

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