The Indonesian Language is Easy to Learn
Last Updated On: October 27, 2023 by The Migration Translators
The Global Reach of Bahasa Indonesia
Bahasa Indonesia, or Bahasa Melayu, usually just called Bahasa, has 200 million speakers throughout the world which makes it one of the ten most spoken global languages. Its speakers live in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Southern Thailand, and the Philippines Sulu archipelago. It has a useful characteristic and that is it’s one of the simplest languages to learn.
The Language’s Accessibility
This is partly due to the fact that over the years some spoken words in Indonesian have been officially accepted into the English dictionary. This includes words like gong, sago, kapok, and sarong. However, there are other suggested reasons why learning Indonesian is not that difficult.
A Non-Tonal Language
It isn’t a tonal language, which for speakers who don’t know much about tonal languages, listening to Bahasa for the very first time makes the language appear quite straightforward and direct. It is quite easy to pronounce and imitate and still be understood. It is even easier for people from parts of Africa and Asia as there are similarities in sentence formation and pronunciation. There are also some words that have been borrowed from Arabic, Dutch, and even Sanskrit.
Bahasa is often referred to as “agglutinative.” This basically means that it uses many suffixes and prefixes. It is so easy that some basic words only require affixes to change the meaning of the word. This is easy to adapt to English speakers.
Bahasa’s grammatical rules are not too difficult and even if you don’t follow the standard rules in grammar for forming sentences you should be understood. Even if you put sentences together which aren’t grammatically correct as long as there are some keywords in them you should still be understood.
Importance of learning Indonesian
Whether you wish to travel to either Malaysia or Indonesia the two languages are pretty well much the same. So you can use your hard-won Bahasa Indonesia in Malaysia as well. You will without a question be understood. You will find when visiting either country that English isn’t necessarily widely spoken but you can throw in a few words into roughly formed sentences in Indonesian and you will be understood. More and more businesses are selling their manufactured products to Malaysia and Indonesia so if you work for these companies just a smattering of Indonesian will help you establish a good reputation for yourself and your business.
Some people say if you buy a dictionary or even use an Indonesian language app and memorize a lot of words and keep practicing with the locals you will soon get a good understanding and feel for the language. There are no complicated verb forms to worry about in Indonesian. The past tense is created by adding other words to the main verb. There are some pronunciation rules worth knowing like “C” is pronounced as CH in Indonesian. If you see the letter “nga” in a word you may have trouble pronouncing the word. It is pronounced as “NNGGG,” such as pengacarra, meaning lawyer, and lapangan, meaning meadow. There are lots of words like this. There is the letter “a” to consider as well which is pronounced like the British pronounce it and that is “ah.” It is very easy to communicate by just putting the words together. The local Indonesians will think you are clever / “pintar” if you can put words together when holding a conversation with them. They will probably ask “Dimana belajar Bahasa Indonesia?” which means where did you get to learn our language, Indonesian? The normal reply is “Saya members kamus, (I purchased a dictionary) saya belajar banyak kata2, (I taught myself many words from it) and dan saya latihan dengan laki-laki di panti, (I practiced talking with young men while relaxing on the beach”). They would be so impressed. It is even better if you can learn some humorous phrases as they just love to laugh.
Here are some surprising Indonesian phrases and their English translations.
- An Indonesian isn’t ever “two-faced.” S/he is a “sheep with make-up.” In Indonesian that is kambing dibedakin.
- Indonesians are not “coy,” but they’re “shy-shy kitten.” In Indonesian that is malu-malu kucing.
- Indonesians never “get sick” or “catch a cold,” but they “enter wind.” In Indonesian that is masuk angin.
- Indonesians never have “beauty marks,” but they do have “fly poos.” In Indonesian that is tahi lalat.
- An Indonesian won’t tell you that s/he “is not feeling well,” but s/he will say that s/he is “not of the delicious body.” In Indonesian that is gak enak badan.
- An Indonesian never “loses interest” in his/her passion, but s/ he gets the ”warm-warm chicken shit.” In Indonesian that is hangat-hangat tahi ayam.
- An Indonesian will never tell you that s/he is feeling “tired,” but s/he may say that s/he has “5 watts left.” In Indonesian that is tinggal lima-watt.
- Indonesians never order eggs “sunny-side up,” but they have what they call “cow’s-eye eggs.” In Indonesian that is telur mata-sapi.