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Jakarta Post

Frederick John Bowden: A passionate linguistic typologist

  • Setiono Sugiharto


Jakarta   /   Wed, November 21 2012   /  11:14 am

Fascinated with the Indonesian language and its vernacular languages, John Bowden decided to visit Maluku in 1993 — the year when he learned the language through conversing with people on the streets. His choice of Maluku over other provinces was motivated by his passion to research the South Halmahera language spoken there.

Though he had spent a year learning Indonesian at the University of Melbourne, Bowden felt that direct interaction with native speakers of the language would be much more effective in helping him grasp Indonesian.

Having lived in Indonesia for almost twenty years, Bowden admits that he still encounters difficulty in understanding written Standard Indonesian.

“Frankly, I have to take a look at the Indonesian dictionary whenever I come across difficult words printed in most Indonesian newspapers,” he said during an interview with The Jakarta ...