The Comparison of the Monolingual and Bilingual Japanese Students in the English Achievement

The fact that English has been used as the language of wider communication can be seen from two sides. The first is from the references and the second is from the reality around us. Baugh and Cable (1997: 4) mentioned that “English is spoken by more that 370 million people as a first language in the United Kingdom, the United States, and the former British Empire; it is the largest of the occidental languages”. The recent research on The Most Asian Language studied in US (2002) indicates that all around the world there are about 514.000.000 people speaking English. Besides, English has been used in the international area especially in the politics, education, as well as the economical matters. As the countries using English as the first language are powerful in those three areas, the influence of their language as the lingua franca is accepted by all countries (Baugh and Cable 1997).

Indonesia seems to realize the importance of English, therefore, the government decided to include English in the formal school curriculum beginning from the Junior High School. Not only the government, but also the Elementary Schools as well as Kindergartens are aware of this fact. Therefore, some of them put the English subject in their curriculum. Besides the government, the parents seem to realize this development very well. They send their children to the English courses which are getting bigger and bigger in number. The result is that all Indonesian students graduated from Senior High Schools are bilinguals at least English and Indonesian with surely the different mastery of each language. On the other hand, as Indonesia consists of a lot of islands and with various vernaculars, the first language of the students can be either Indonesian or other local languages such as Javanese, Sundanese, or Chinese.

From the situation above, it can be inferred that before learning English students are able to communicate in Indonesian only, meaning that they are monolingual. Another possibility is that they learn Indonesian as their second language because their first language is their vernaculars, meaning that they are bilinguals before learning English. Therefore in general this research is intended to know the mastery of English from monolingual, and bilingual groups by using UN and TOEFL.

The research intends to see who is the better learners in English, monolinguals or bilinguals by checking the results of their English National Exam and TOEFL test. In this case, the consistency of the results of the two tests and the influence of the non-formal education is also investigated. From the problems above this study is intended to find out the following details: The English mastery in the English National Exam by the monolingual and bilingual having exposure outside the school from 0 – 2 years and more than 2 years; The English mastery in TOEFL test the monolingual and bilingual having exposure outside the school from 0 – 2 years and more than 2 years; The result consistency between the English National Exam and the TOEFL; The mastery of English of the monolingual students and bilingual students.

This results of this research can be used for the students, teachers, and parents to see whether they should send their children to have additional English course, at least for two years or more or think the ways of giving the children more exposure in learning and practicing their English. Besides, as the object is the students of the Japanese Department who are at the first year, the teachers will be able to use the data to predict which students will have problems in learning Japanese at least for their third language or more. If bilingual students are already have difficulties in learning English, the parents and teachers should stop teaching the next new language in order not to make the students more confused.

Name : Ienneke Indra Dewi

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