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Why Learn Indonesian?

For Westerners searching for a second language to master, Indonesian may not be the most obvious choice. Take a closer look, however, and it becomes clear that speaking Indonesian is an extremely useful skill.

Indonesian Dialects

Perhaps one of the main reasons that more people don't consider learning the language is that the range of dialects spoken across the Indonesian archipelago can be intimidating; after all, you're looking to learn one new language, not hundreds. However, what is referred to as Indonesian in the Western world is typically locally known as Bahasa Indonesia. A close linguistic relative of Malay, it has become a unifying language across Indonesia, and is spoken by a large majority of the country's 238 million people. While only 23 million of those are native speakers, most of those people who speak other dialects such as Javanese or Sundanese are fluent in Bahasa Indonesia as a second language. Seen in this context, the benefits of speaking Bahasa Indonesia are undeniable.

Benefits For Business And Tourism

As the fourth most populous country in the world, Indonesia is increasingly attracting both commercial and tourist attention. The advantages of learning Bahasa Indonesia for anyone in the business world should be obvious. Given the relative rarity of fluent Western speakers of the language, anyone who is able to converse with Indonesians on their own terms will experience a significant commercial advantage. Tourists will also benefit from speaking Indonesian, even if their understanding is limited to a few phrases. Just like people anywhere in the world, Indonesians respond well to those who have taken the time to understand their culture, and a tourist's experience is likely to be enhanced by being able to have actual conversations with local people.

Bahasa Indonesia Is Easy To Learn

Crucially, for those seeking to learn Indonesian, the language is widely recognized as one of the easiest to master in the world. With no tenses and simple word formation, the basic grammar and vocabulary is easy to pick up. What is more, due to its close relation to Malay, those who learn Indonesian are essentially learning two languages for the price of one. Bahasa Indonesia is a form of Malay which became standardized in 1945 when it was adopted as the official language of the newly independent Indonesia. The language has always been open to the many linguistic traditions of the country borrowing words from many of the other Indonesian dialects, as well as Dutch, Arabic and English.

How To Learn Bahasa Indonesia

The best method for learning a language is always to get private instruction from a trained language teacher who is a native speaker. Even if you can find a Bahasa Indonesia tutor, you may not have the time or money to invest in intensive one-on-one instruction. If you want to start picking up the basics of Indonesian by yourself, and according to your own schedule, Babbel's online courses offer a convenient and inexpensive alternative to classes or private tutors. Whether you learn on your computer with or on your tablet or smartphone with the apps, your progress is saved and synced to the cloud; you can learn Indonesian any time, anywhere. Try your first lesson for free and see what Babbel is

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