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How to speak Indonesian

Indonesian is the national language of Indonesia, uniting over 273 million people. Aside from all the regions of Indonesia, it is also spoken in countries such as Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, Netherlands, and the USA.

Based on the Euro-continental orthography, Indonesian uses the Roman script. It is a relatively young language and is different from Malay, which was widely used until the 1950s. There are as many as 300 distinct ethnic groups in Indonesia who speak Indonesian, and each dialect is unique in its own way. Therefore, a phrase common in one group may have different connotations in another.

Not many Indonesians are able to speak English. Consequently, by learning how to speak Indonesian, you will be able to communicate with them more effectively. Whether you are on vacation in Bali or a business trip to Jakarta, knowing how to speak Indonesian will really add to and enrich your experience.

Learn and speak Indonesian - Differences between English and Indonesian

Indonesian is a very different language from English. It is highly influenced by hierarchical Javanese and, hence, uses different tones in different situations for different audiences. The usage of the second person ‘you’ is replaced with more indirect terms or references unless the speaker and the listener know each other well.

Indonesian has no tenses at all and relies on time indicators in sentences, such as next week, yesterday etc., to denote the time being spoken about. Moreover, Indonesian does not have grammar cases attached to nouns or gender usage either. Plurals are also easy to learn, as you only need to repeat the noun or add a quantitative indicator, such as few or many before the noun.

Phonetic in nature, it is written just the way it is spoken, barring a few exceptions. The Indonesian sentence structure is similar to English, as it also follows the pattern – Subject + Verb + Object.

Unlike English, Indonesian is a fairly regular language with simple rules, no genders, no tenses and simple plurals.

Learn Indonesian - Different learning methods

It is easy to learn Indonesian. There are several ways in which you can learn and speak Indonesian.

  • Formal Courses – There are numerous schools and organisations that offer structured and comprehensive programmes to learn Indonesian.

  • Private Tutors – One can also hire private tutors to learn Indonesian. However, this may be an expensive option, and the quality of teaching may not always be very high.

  • Exchange Programmes – These enable you to learn the language by staying in the place and interacting with the natives regularly. You can even enrol for a course in Indonesian to master the language.

  • Online Programmes – There are many websites that offer online courses to learn how to speak Indonesian. These have e-learning programmes along with online guides and tutorials to help you with the basics as well as the advanced aspects of the language.

Learn how to speak Indonesian with Babbel

Babbel offers highly interactive courses to learn how to speak Indonesian. Combining multimedia tools with social networking and mobile apps, Babbel provides several tutorials as well as mobile applications for iPhone and Android users.

Babbel’s online exercises help you enhance your vocabulary while learning the basics and strengthening your Indonesian speaking ability. Tools such as the Review Manager and integrated speech recognition tool monitor and assess your knowledge and ability to speak Indonesian, and guide you in a systematic manner so you can move forward rapidly.
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