Teaching English to the Indonesian students is not as difficult as most people imagine. There is a strong belief that almost every one can do it. The experience has clearly indicated that the ideas of “Contrastive Analysis” play a very decisive role and contribute very much to the successful of doing this (Koencoro, 2006). Contrastive analysis has been regarded as main pillars in the domain of second or foreign language acquisition especially in Indonesia. Yet, not many English teachers know much about this term and it seems they have found difficulties related to how to conduct a simple contrastive analysis of Indonesian and English language.
Contrastive analysis in general term is an inductive investigative approach based on the distinctive elements in a language (Kardaleska, 2006). In common definition, the term can be defined as the method of analyzing the structure of any two languages with a view to estimate the differential aspects of their system, irrespective or their genetic affinity of level development (Geethakumary, 2006).
Contrastive Analysis of two languages in question: L1 and L2, pointing at the specific features of each language system (in its major areas: phonology, morphology, lexicology, syntax, text analysis) helps in the process of anticipation of possible difficulties with the L2 learners. A part of the difficulties can be attributed to the mother tongue (first language) interference (Kardaleska, 2006).
A systematic comparative study analyzing component wise the differences and similarities among languages was clearly recognized towards the end of 19th century and the beginning of 20th century, especially in Europe. The term “Contrastive linguistics” was suggested by Whorf, for comparative study which is giving emphasis on linguistic differences. Meanwhile contrastive linguistics has been redefined as “a subdiscipline of linguistics concerned with the comparison of two or more languages or subsystems of languages in order to determine both the differences and similarities between them” (Geethakumary, 2006).