An Acoustic Study on English Vowels Produced by Indonesian Speakers: Exploring Determining Factors and Contact Situations

  • Ferdinan Okki Kurniawan Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia
  • Margareta Rosvita Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia
  • Rintya Yuniastari Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia
Keywords: Phonetics, Phonology, Vowels, Language Contact


Compared to English varieties spoken in the inner circle (e.g., Australian English and New Zealand English), the English variety spoken in Indonesia, especially in acoustic phonetics, is still understudied. Using the Praat computer program, this acoustic study investigates the English vowel production of fifteen Indonesian females and males. The formants (F1 and F2) of their English vowel in words heed /hid/, hid /hɪd/, head /hɛd/, had /æ/, hod /hɑd/, hawed /hɔd/, hood /hʊd/, who’d /hud/, hud /hʌd/, and heard /hɝd/ are measured and then compared with the vowels produced by American English speakers. Regardless of the speakers’ gender and English skill levels, the vowels [æ] and [ɑ] show the most significant differences between Indonesian and American English speakers. The difference in this study is conditioned more by linguistic factors, i.e., phonetics and phonemics, than by non-linguistic factors, i.e., gender and English skill level. The findings of this study offer a discussion of how acoustic evidence resulting from language education may shed light on possible language contact situations.


Download data is not yet available.


Adisasmito-Smith, N. (2004). Phonetic and phonological influences of Javanese on Indonesian (Publication No. 3140832) [Doctoral dissertation, Cornell University]. Cornell University ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.
Boersma, P., & Weenink, D. (2021). Praat. doi. ng phonetics by computer [Computer program] (version 6.1.55). Retrieved from University of Amsterdam.
Coates, J. (2015). Women, men and language: A sociolinguistic account of gender differences in language (3rd ed.). Routledge.
Crystal, D. (2003). English as a global language (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Deterding, D., & Kirkpatrick, A. (2006). Emerging South-East Asian Englishes and intelligibility. World Englishes, 25(3–4), 391–409.
Englebretson, R. (2003). Searching for structure: The problem of complementation in colloquial Indonesian conversation. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Ewing, M. (2005). Colloquial Indonesian. In A. Adelaar & N. Himmelmann (Eds.), The Austronesian languages of Asia and Madagascar (pp. 227–258). Routledge.
Fata, I. A., Ikhwani, I., Fitrian, F., Aulia, T. M., & Yusuf, Y. Q. (2017). Acoustic analysis on English oral vowels produced by Acehnese speakers from Aceh Besar by using PRAAT software. Proceedings of AICS-Social Sciences, 7, 591-596.
Hawkins, S., & Midgley, J. (2005). Formant frequencies of RP monophthongs in four age groups of speakers. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 35(2), 183–199.
Hillenbrand, J., Getty, L. A., Clark, M. J., & Wheeler, K. (1995). Acoustic characteristics of American English vowels. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 97(5 Pt. 1), 3099–3111.
Kachru, B. B. (1988). The sacred cows of English. English Today, 4(4), 3–8.
Ladefoged, P., & Johnson, K. (2011). A course in phonetics. Cengage Learning.
Lakoff, R. (1973). Language and woman’s place. Language in Society, 2(1), 45–79.
Lapoliwa, H. (1981). A generative approach to the phonology of Bahasa Indonesia. Pacific Linguistics, D, 34, 1–155.
Pépiot, E. (2012). Voice, speech and gender: Male–female acoustic differences and cross-language variation in English and French speakers. Corela, 21(HS–16).
Perwitasari, A. (2019). The acquisition of English vowels by Javanese and Sundanese native speakers [Doctoral dissertation, Leiden University]. Leiden University Repository.
R Core Team. (2021). R: A language and environment for statistical computing (version 4.2.1). R Foundation for Statistical Computing.
Subandowo, D., Faliyanti, E., & Siagiyanto, B. E. (2020). Formant measurement of Indonesian speakers in English vowels. International Journal of Innovation, Creativity and Change, 13(2), 1051–1064.
Widagsa, R., Perwitasari, A., & Sari, M. K. (2018). Vowel space area of Minangkabau learners of English. Language Circle, 12(2), 153–164.
Widagsa, R., & Putro, A. A. Y. (2017). Acoustic measurement on vowel production of English as a second language by Indonesian learners of English. English Review: Journal of English Education, 6(1), 71–80.
Zanten, E. V. (1989). Vokal-vokal Bahasa Indonesia [The Indonesian vowels]. Balai Pustaka.
How to Cite
Kurniawan, F., Rosvita, M., & Yuniastari, R. (2024). An Acoustic Study on English Vowels Produced by Indonesian Speakers: Exploring Determining Factors and Contact Situations. K@ta: A Biannual Publication on the Study of Languange and Literature, 26(1), 49-61.