Learning Bahasa Indonesia

Learning tourist indonesian

Learning Bahasa Indonesia

It is a great idea if you are going to spend some time before coming to Bali learning Bahasa Indonesia (the Indonesian language, a version of which is spoken throughout Malaysia and Singapore) which will help you holiday enormously, and is something that the locals really appreciate.

If you are thinking of travelling to other areas of Indonesia it is pretty much essential. Bear in mind that the following is not about the Balinese language, but the common Bahasa Indonesia which pretty much everyone can at least speak if not write.

While every region in Indonesia has its own dialect, Bahasa Indonesia is pretty much spoken by everyone who has gone to school. Pronunciation will vary of course, as will the local slang and the shortening of words.

Bear in mind this is a fairly new language that is still evolving rapidly so it may be hard to follow someone, especially if they are speaking at their normal rate. Try ‘Minta bilang pelan lagi’ which is similar to ‘please speak slowly again’.

Check out Learning Tourist Indonesian on this site, where you will find many sheets to be printed out so you can make your own easy to use cards.

There is little past/present of future tense in Bahasa Indonesia so it is easy to learn, and anyway if you know a little bit it might just avoid those moments where you and a local are looking at each other stupidly while you try to figure out how to communicate something basic to them.

By Mark O’Brien, August 2015

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