Indonesian: The easiest language?

Discussion in 'Other Languages' started by avant_gs, Jan 2, 2006.

  1. avant_gs New Member

    Hi, I was reading a book written by this guy that knows 25 languages, and it said that the Indonesian language is the easiest language. Is this true? What do you think?
  2. xav

    xav Senior Member


    Welcome on this forum !!

    I've read and heard that
    - the pronounciation is very easy (only a few phonems)
    - the grammary is very simple
    - and the alphabet is our.

    But I think esperanto is simpler for the speakers of European languages, since its vocabulary derives from these languages...
  3. Xaphirezst Member

    Maybe its true.
    The Indonesian language was made to unite 27 diffrent native languages in Indonesia. It'd be troublesome if it's not easy xD
  4. FrancescaVR

    FrancescaVR Senior Member

    New South Wales
    Savunese/English - Australia
    I can speak Indonesian as well.
    Indonesian can be both, easy and dificult.
    When you start taking it seriously, you'll find it hard.

    The alphabets were borrowed from Dutch.
    In that regards, it is a bit easier, but I'd honestly say that it's not the easiest. I don't mean to be arrogant, but I master the language reasonably well.

    If you speak Italian or Spanish, then you'll have no dificulty with the pronounciation. The modern version of Indonesian have become more of Malay-Indonesian where in the olden days, it was more Duth-Indonesian (Or Dutch-Malay).

    All the diferent dialects of the archipelago don't always share similarities in grammars and so on. The only reason that makes everyone there speak comfortably to one another is beacuse the government insisted that the Indonesian Language (which is heavily influenced or borrowed from Malay) is to be used as the official language.

    During Suharto regime, speaking Dutch was not allowed. Not to meantion other languages like Japanese and Portuguese.
    Other wise Indonesians would now be good at very speaking Dutch, Malay, Japanese, Portuguese and their own mother tounges from every island. (-:


    (-: Francesca

    Some clues for the languge:

    The Indonesian alphabets:

    Aa, Bb, Cc, Dd, Ee, Ff, Gg, Hh, Ii, Jj, Kk, Ll, Mm, Nn, Oo, Pp, Qq, Rr, Ss, Tt, Uu, Vv, Ww, Xx, Yy, Zz.

    Indonesian way of pronunciation:

    A= a (as in are - English)
    B= be (as in bear - English)
    C= che (as in chain - English) Old version pronounciation of C = se (as in century - English)
    D= de (as in defamation- English)
    E= e (as in endure - English)
    F= ef (as in effort- English)
    G= ge (as in ghetto or get – English)
    H= ha (as in hurry - English)
    I- i (as in in or knee - English)
    J= je (as in Gernmay- English)
    K= ka (as in car - English)
    L= el (same pronunciation as in English)
    M= em (same pronunciation as in English)
    N= en (same pronunciation as in English)
    O= o (as in or -English)
    P= pe (as in percent - English)
    Q= ki/qi (as in key - English)
    R= er (as in error - English) the sound of r must be strong like in Italiano.
    S= es (as in as - English) same pronunciation as in English.
    T= te (as in terrific - English)
    U= u (as in oo or moo- English)
    V= ve (as in very - English)
    W= we (as in Wendy - person's name)
    X= ex (as in extreme - English)
    Y= ye or i gret (as in yes - English) i gret was from Dutch, I think.
    Z= zet (same pronunciation as in British-English)

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2015
  5. dodie New Member

    Bahasa Indonesia, Javanese
    hi all...
    i am a new member here, and i am indonesian :)

    is indonesian the easiest language? maybe... because when you talk in indonesian you don't have to worry about your grammar at all!!! :D:D

    but you have to be careful...

    indonesian language that we use in formal sector can be totally different with the language that we use in the daily life... even indonesian language among youth (especially in the big city) you can be very confused with the language that they use because it has no specific rule that is followed

    btw, i am sorry if my english is not good :)
  6. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Comments about Chinese and Spanish, and how easy/difficult they are, have been moved to a thread that deals with those topics.

    Please restrict discussion in this thread to Indonesian and the claim that it is the easiest language.
  7. citraperdana New Member

    Being an Indonesian native speaker and having to learn other languages like English, Mandarin, French, and German, I tend to agree with the statement of Indonesian being a relatively very easy language to learn. There are no tenses, no dfferent verb forms, no gender forms, no noun cases, no strange alphabets. I'm not sure about it being the *easiest* though, but I'm pretty sure it ranks up high in the list. Foreigners (e.g. western expats and tourists) can usually take up the basics pretty quickly, in a matter of weeks.

    But here's what I think might be difficult when you learn Indonesian:

    - being a quite verbose language (the majority of root words have two and three syllables, many are more), we tend to abbreviate a lot, either in writing or speaking.

    - people from different regions/islands might import some/many of the vocabularies from their local language in their conversation.
  8. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Could the same be said about Malay?
  9. Kräuter_Fee

    Kräuter_Fee Senior Member

    Portuguese&Spanish (native)/ (English&German - foreign)
    When I was in Indonesia I had the feeling Indonesian looks similar to Basque. I don't speak any Basque and I don't speak any Indonesian either, but the letters and the way words look are quite similar to me. Anyone agrees???
  10. mansio Senior Member

    The official language of Malaysia and that of Indonesia (Bahasa Indonesia) are nearly the same language.

    The two languages unified their Latin script. That is why Bahasa Indonesia dropped some alphabetical peculiarities that it had inherited from Dutch.
  11. AkErBeLtZ Member

    Euskara; Euskal Herria
    Hello im a basque boy from a village near bilbao. as i read in this forum, basque alphabet has less letters than indonesian ones:
    aA, bB, dD, eE, fF, gG, hH, iI, jJ, kK, lL, mM, nN, oO, pP, rR, sS, tT, uU, xX, zZ.
    C, Ñ, Q, V, W and Y are sometimes used to write foreign words and place names like Abadiño, in Biscaye.
    I reply this because of what you said about the suposed resemblance between these two languages. I do not speak indonesian or know it, but i hope maybe this could help...
  12. My experience was that the hardest part is not to be unerstood in general, but to be correct in terms of social etiquette. There is a certain mentality and structure of the society in terms of what is done and what is not. so one has to know these things.
  13. Henryk Senior Member

    Germany, German
    Does anyone know the title of this book?
  14. MarX Banned

    Indonesian, Indonesia
    Aargh, my long post was lost!

    Anyways, hello!

    I'm a native speaker and having learnt many languages and from what I've heard from Indonesian learners, I dare say that Indonesian is in fact one of the easiest languages in the world.

    I don't need to name the reasons, because they have been posted many times, but one thing I heard from Indonesian learners is their difficulty of memorizing the words because Indonesian root words have two syllables and there are barely consonant clusters.

    E.g. many learners find it hard to differentiate: kerang, karang, karung, goreng, orang, arang, ngarang, barang, berang, beruang, barong, sarung, sarang, etc.

    But otherwise, Indonesian is a relatively easy language to learn.

  15. theo1006 Senior Member

    Salatiga, Indonesia
    It is true that the Indonesian language does not have verb conjugation, gender, and inflection like most European languages. But that does not mean that its grammar is overly simple like the grammar of pidgin or – perhaps – creole languages. A pidgin is a a simplified speech used for communication between people with different languages. I find in Wikipedia that some linguists (McWorther) claim that "The world's simplest languages are Creole languages" a creole being ‘a language that arises from contact between two other languages and has features of both’.

    The Malay language, of which Indonesian is a development, has given rise to many pidgin languages, most notably what in colonial times was called pasar-maleis by the Dutch. But Indonesian is certianly not identical with pasar-maleis and it is neither a pidgin nor a creole language.
    Through my wife, who was born in Suriname, I have some knowledge of Sranantongo, which is usually classified as a creole language. And I would say that its grammar is definitely simpler than the grammar of Indonesian.
    So much about the question whether Indonesian might be the simplest language in the world.

    But is it easy to learn? Up to a point, yes. As Dodie says, Indonesians do not care much about grammar in their speech, so a foreigner may quickly master enough of the language for colloquial communication. The difficulties start with its typical grammar, which relies heavily on prefixes and postfixes.
    Take the following verbs, all based on the root terang = clear:
    - menerang = to become clear (intransitive)
    - menerangi = to (en)lighten (literally by a lamp, as well as figuratively)
    - menerangkan = to explain, make clear (transitive)
    - diterangi = being or becoming (en)lighted (passive)
    - diterangkan = being explained, made clear (passive)
    - berterang-terang = to declare openly
    Or, of it comes to nouns, one has to learn the difference between:
    - penerang = a light source
    - keterangan = the content of the explanation
    - penerangan = literally lighting (e.g. electric,) figuratively like in biro penerangan = information office
    of which latter another verb can be formed:
    - berpenerangan = having lighting (e.g. electric)
    As for reduplication, you might expect terang-terang to mean doubly clear, but it actually means ‘somewhat unclear’.
    Some of my expat friends think that the Indonesian vocabulary is rather limited. You will realize that this is not at all the case when you try to read some good Indonesian literature (like Pramudya Ananta Toer). My Indonesian dictionary counts 78,000 lemmas, of which terang with all its derivations is only one.
  16. smamat New Member

    Malay - Malaysia
    I definitely agree with theo1006. I'm having the same line of thought as him.

    I have an academic interests in languagues and linguistics (although not formally trained, I'm a trained scientist mostly).

    Malay (I'm referring to both the Indonesian and Malaysian varieties) is easy to a certain extent especially when you want to be understood in the market place and coffee shops. Foreigners learn the food/shopping speak pretty quickly (especially when food plays a big part in the life of the people form the archipelago).

    However to my ear, these foreigners' command of the language is very limited and not very expressive.

    Some native speakers in this thread have written that when you speak Malay, you don't have to think about the grammar. I guess this statement may be used by any native speaker of any language! A Finn would say the same thing about Finnish. I'm learning this language and finding it rather 'different', not difficult as it is usually reputed to be. In fact the Finnish grammar is so consistent, it makes learning it so fun. It's very systematic and almost 'mathematical'.

    I'm afraid the same cannot be the same about Malay as illustrated by the above examples in theo1006's post.

    The prefix/postfix system in forming a verb in Malay is almost impossible to formulate in the way one would for example formulate the use of Finnish verb infinitives (there are 5 of them in Finnish).
    Even as a native speaker, I find it hard sometimes to agree which prefix/postfix combination to use when forming a sentence. A common example is:

    Aku cinta padamu / Aku menyintai mu / Aku cinta kamu - all mean 'I love you'. but which one do you use in which context? Anyone can help me with this?

    Dia baca buku / Dia membaca buku - both mean I (am) read(ing) a book - but what's the distinction?

    This type of problem is very difficult even for the native speakers.

    To follow the thread of theo1066

    duduk - to sit

    duduk-duduk - to hang around, to laze about
    bersekedudukan - to live together without being married
    terduduk - to sit down by accident, to fall buttock first
    menduduki - to conquer, to overpower, to take a seat, to reside
    mendudukkan - to make someone sit
    diduduki - to be inhabited by, to be conquered/colonised
    didudukkan - to be placed, to be made to sit
    berkedudukan - to have a social status

    penduduk - inhabitant, population
    pendudukan - conquest, colonisation
    kedudukan - position

    Some prefix/postfix do not apply to other words. This make things more complicated. This kind of grammar system can only be learned by reading/listening to a lot of Malay. You'll only master it when you have a 'feel' for the language.

    But how long does it take for a learner to start having a 'feel' for a new language?
  17. MarX Banned

    Indonesian, Indonesia
    What Dodie said about grammar is exaggerated, but I do get his point.
    When speaking Indonesian, you don't need to think about:
    -verb conjugation according to person and number
    -foreign alphabets (assuming the Latin alphabet is the most widely understood in today's world)
    -accents or special characters (like é, è, ü, ä, ö, ß, ô, etc.)
    -difficult consonant clusters: Some people find it hard to pronounce something like schtrasse, but most would have no difficulty pronouncing something like jalan.

    From a, (Indo-)European point of view, the first points are the ones that more or less make up the grammar. So you can in a way say (for someone who are familiar to (Indo-)European grammar) that you don't have to think about grammar in Indonesian.

    As for "Aku cinta padamu / Aku menyintai mu / Aku cinta kamu", I use them interchangeably and see no difference in meaning. Although I don't think I'd use the word cinta to a real person. By the way, you can also say mencintai instead of menyintai.

    The same with "Dia baca buku / Dia membaca buku". I see no distinction. Only "Dia baca buku" seems to miss something. I'd say "Dia lagi baca buku" or "Dia suka baca buku" or with some other compliment.
    I don't think it's that hard to explain, but it'll take too much space here. :p
    I don't know the word bersekedudukan. I guess it's a Malaysian word?


  18. MarX Banned

    Indonesian, Indonesia
    Before the spelling reform Indonesian used to have tj, dj, oe, ie, which were indeed were borrowed from Dutch. But as it is written now, I wouldn't say that the alphabet is borrowed from Dutch.

    The great majority of root words have two syllables.
    The ones with three syllables or more are mostly loanwords.
  19. smamat New Member

    Malay - Malaysia
    Thanks MarX for the comment... it seems I can't decide on which phrase to use when speaking Malay... LOL
    I guess I wouldn't say 'cinta' to another person although I could, I'd use 'sayang' instead... although so far I've yet to use either in a real-life, serious situation ;-)

    With the prefix and postfix stems, I guess it's not that hard to learn how each is used. In fact I've seen some university level grammar books for Malaysian Linguistic students written to explain their usage. But the point is, as theo1066 has brought to light, you cannot apply any prefix/postfix to any word you like. You'll only end up learning these through reading/listening mostly.

    I mean, you can't say, for the sake of the argument:


    but you can say


    although both, menerangi and menduduki both exist!! Try 'berseketerangan' LOL
    (But can you say menduduk in Indonesian? Certainly not in Malay though)

    And each variant of Malay has a slightly different prefix/postfix system.
    Sometimes I cringe when reading Indonesian texts because I think their prefix/postfix (called imbuhan in Malay) usage is incorrect.
    I guess you guys will find it the same, conversely!

    So, can we agree that Indonesian is the easiest language to learn so far?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2015
  20. MarX Banned

    Indonesian, Indonesia
    I'd also prefer sayang to say to someone in real life.

    We don't say menerang in Indonesian. There are menerangi and menerangkan (which both become nerangin in the spoken language).

    Neither do we use the word berseketerangan.

    What do menerang and berseketerangan mean, btw?

    We also say imbuhan. ;)

    I'd say one of the easiest.
  21. smamat New Member

    Malay - Malaysia
    I cannot think of a good example for menerang just yet... But I do know it exists, just the example is not good. It somewhat means to force something through a small opening. How it relates to terang, I don't know. Oh yeah, know a light bulb moment:

    lampu-lampu mula menerang (the lamps begin to brighten - excuse the pun!)

    berseketerangan doesn't exist... it was a rhetorical question.

    You are a native speaker, aren't you?
  22. MarX Banned

    Indonesian, Indonesia
    Hej Smamat!

    Yes, Indonesian is my native language.

    I think the first meaning you gave of the word menerang would be called menerawang in Indonesian. I guess it is related to terowongan.

    As for the second meaning to which you gave an example, I think we can also say lampu-lampunya mulai menerang in Indonesian. I'm going to ask my Indonesian friends about this.

  23. theo1006 Senior Member

    Salatiga, Indonesia
    Hi MarX and smamat.

    Yes, I think you can say that.
    The "Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia" published by Balai Pustaka gives the definition:

    menerang v menjadi terang

  24. theo1006 Senior Member

    Salatiga, Indonesia
    Perhaps you may say that the Indonesian alphabet is a compromise between Dutch and English alphabets, although the spelling reform comprised more changes in Indonesian than in Malay.

    C: the word for "seek" used to be written chari in Malay and tjari in Indonesian, now is cari.
    SY: the word for "poem" was written shair in Malay and sjair in Indonesian, became syair.
    KH: a sermon used to be chotbah in Indonesian, is now khotbah as it was in Malay.
    Y: an orphan used to be jatim in Indonesian, now follows English and Malay spelling, yatim.
    J: the same holds for jelek (ugli), which was djelek in Indonesian.
    And of course the Dutch oe has been replaced by u.
    I do not think the Dutch ie was formerly used in Indonesian, I do not find examples in old books.

    At the time of the reform I had a friend at the Lembaga Bahasa Nasional, so I knew about the changes half a year before they became official, and I started writing my lecture notes in the new spelling. Of course this caused a lot of hilarity and jokes, like pronouncing Coca Cola like Tjotja Tjola (as pronounced in Dutch).

  25. rasserie New Member

    Malay - Malay Peninsula
    Yes, it's VERY easy to READ Indonesian words if you are used to how the words are spelled and pronounced.

    But understanding is a different matter.

    In other words, u can even pronounce indonesian words in the local newspaper even if u dun understand it.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2008
  26. jennifergan New Member

    Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia
    Indonesian, English, Hokkian (dialect), Chinese, Malaysian
    Ahem. sorry... Indonesian language do has grammar as well as other languages. You feel that there's no grammar in Indonesian language because u are a native speaker (actually, so do I).

    Learning Indonesian language could be hard, tho. Especially when it comes to the slang. You might won't even have any ideas hows a word could go like that. The words could be totally different! ^_^

    @ dodie: You remember when we learn the suffix, affix, and those things at school? It could be easy for us since we used it before we learn it.

    No offens. Just what I think ;)
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2008
  27. fixmanius New Member

    Indonesian - Jakarta
    In my opinion, this language is both easy and hard.

    It may be easy IF you don't care much about the grammar, the tolerance is high. But I'm telling you, formal Indonesian is hard. I don't even think half of the people can speak (or write) it well.
    Agreed. These are pretty much the points why some people think Indonesian is easy.
    And this is true. The difference between the formal Indonesian and the one we use on a daily basis is very much high. Maybe there's a linguistic term for this. You guys can tell me. ;)

    In other words, if you're just having an Indonesian language course, you may be able to understand what they say on the TV news, but you will likely have a problem when it comes to the slangs. :D
    Nope. But is surely easier when compared with Chinese. :D
  28. acemach Member

    Malaysia - English & Mandarin
    Not specifically, but I believe the ability to speak a standard dialect and a local dialect, which are linguistically far apart, is referred to as "diglossia".

    As my fellow Malaysians (among others) have elaborated, in Malay and Indonesian things are simpler than Indo-European or Sinitic languages. There are no worries about cases and declension, tenses, rigid word orders, agreement and so on. Everything is pronounced as it is written.

    The real killer, I think, is the suffix-affix system.

    Anyone who studies Malay at school (aka all Malaysians) and who doesn't speak it often at home (like me) can easily get lost in a Malay exam:
    For example, the difference between memindahkan, memindah, pemindahan, perpindahan... and so on.
    Often small changes in the words are sufficient to change the meanings greatly:

    Lumba - Race
    Lumba-lumba - dolphin(s)

    Orang - people/person
    orang-orang - scarecrow

    I'd say in Indonesian it's more or less the same.

    To me both languages are easy enough to pick up, especially because the grammar rules are very, very loose and no one knows/cares if you make a grammatical error, but if you want to be grammatically perfect (and I assure you, in Malaysia at least, few even bother), then both languages are a minefield of small, bewildering, irregular differences.

    I suppose one has to learn to feel his/her way around the language, using it to the point where right/wrong is instinctively discernable.
    Even so, one has to consider that everyday Malay/Indonesian is very far from the standard used in written and formal address. I seriously doubt anyone in Malaysia speaks Malay like it is written in our textbooks, or the novels we study in class.

    That being said, I think Indonesian and Malay are easy languages to pick up not just because of their simplicity, but mainly because their everyday speakers are much more tolerant of mistakes, to the point where they become almost undetectable.

    Last edited: Dec 12, 2008
  29. MarX Banned

    Indonesian, Indonesia
    I can never really explain the affix system in Indonesian. But even then, it's still not that complicated compared with other languages which rely on affixes. In the spoken language some affixes either are dropped or merged. For example the affixes -kan and -i are merged into -in in the spoken language (in Jakarta, at least).

    The word for race is lomba in Indonesian, but dolphin is lumba-lumba. I've never really thought that those words would actually be related. :)

    *memindah does not exist in Indonesian, as far as I can remember. memindahkan does (which in the spoken language would be mindahin).

    All in all, Indonesian is a relatively easy language.
  30. handywijaya82 New Member

    you all got completely wrong idea about indonesian language, i'm an indonesian person, and i got some clients from abroad, who has been studying for 2 years in indonesia, but still can't communicate with decent understanding for what others saying to them, and still geting laughed at because when they speak to locals, they use the correct grammar, formal words, mixed prefix, sufix, add on, concepts, which is used by local people here.

    malaysian are easy - correct
    indonesian are easy - incorrect

    why do i say that? because malaysia has rules in their speaking, and ussually using the formal sentences and word, it's just like learning other foreign language, you just need to master the rules, grammar, restriction, then you just add some vocabulary as many as you can, just like english and other languages.

    indonesian language is special, perhaps one of the kind in the world. locals doesn't care with gramar, word order, tenses, they just care with the vocabularies. now the problem is the vocabularies itself has many words that could be use to specific situation, and specific emotions, not likely found in malaysian language which is quite similar, due to these very lose and no restriction thing, one word added with other suffix, prefix, andd on could be way very different from one and other looking similar word

    example :

    apa? = what?
    ada apa? = what's going on? (don't know what's going on)
    apaan sih? = what are u doing? (someone bugging you)
    apa lu? = what are u looking at? (mad expression)
    ngapain?(ng + apa + in) = what're u doing? (asking what are u doing)
    ngapain? = what're u planning to? (different meaning with the above)
    ngapain? = why do you do that? (used in totaly different condition with the above)
    ngapain sih? = why would you do that stuff anyway? (blaming u for doing that)
    ngapain ya? = what should we do now? (hehehe, another different meaning in different situation)
    ngapain tuh? = ??? ( i myself don't know how to translate this to english)

    that's only SOME of many words can come up with APA.

  31. fixmanius New Member

    Indonesian - Jakarta
    Well frankly, I am no big fan of these kinds of threads, "is language A easier than B? Is C hard?" The thing is, it is very much subjective.

    I speak English, Indonesian, and a little bit German. In my opinion, Indonesian is the easiest one, English came after that, and German's the hardest among them. But then, I was born in the UK, grew up in Indonesia, and only started learning German when I was in college, so I'm rather biased. But still, if one asks me whether Indonesian is easy or not, then I will reply, "Well, it is, but it ain't that easy."
  32. bart150 New Member

    Netherlands / West Java
    British English
    Indonesian affixes are fascinating. I've started a new thread about them over in the Other Languages forum.
  33. Hulalessar

    Hulalessar Senior Member

    English - England
    My copy of Teach Yourself Malay says in the introduction that it takes ten weeks to learn to speak it well and ten years to speak it properly.

    You often hear people say "language X has no grammar" but of course all languages have grammar because without grammar they would be soup. What they mean is that there are no conjugations, declensions and lists of irregular plurals to be mastered. The learning of some languages may be described as "front end loaded" because you need to master quite a lot before you can hold a reasonable conversation. Malay/Indonesian is not such a language. The introduction to my copy of Teach Yourself Malay (1947) says in the introduction:

    Malay is an easy language. Bafflingly easy. At the end of ten weeks you may feel that you know all that you need to know. At the end of ten years, you know you never will.

    There are no declensions, no conjugations, almost no fixed grammatical rules, to be learned at the outset. People will tell you that it is possible to 'pick up' Malay in a couple of months. So it is, if you are going to be content with the 'bazaar' Malay of the sea-ports. But if you are interested in language and wish really to know and understand the Malays, you will find that the initial confidence which such a method gives will prove illusory and will be succeeded by a feeling of frustration.
  34. aprendiendo argento

    aprendiendo argento Senior Member

    Premantura - Croatia
    Croatian (Chakavian)
    I don't think colloquial Malay/Indonesian is that easy, it sounds much more muffled than Italian and Spanish,
    maybe because E is read as a schwa in 90% cases (which makes it more similar to Portuguese and Catalan than to soft in-vowels-ending Italian).
    As for vocabulary, to my ears, Malay sounds more like Turkish than like Spanish or Italian.
  35. Gshepherd93 New Member

    My name is Marco and I am from Slovakia. I read this topic and my view is:
    Yes, Indonesian is of some thinngs very easy to learn, but It also countains for example agglutination.
  36. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    Indonesia is a changing language. Incorporating Tagalog in Bahasa is possible . IT is easy to learn Bahasa Malay/Indones. DARI ARAMAN YANG SARETA MALAY/INDONES.
  37. zellinaomi New Member

    Hi! I'm new here. And aslo, i'm an Indonesian native speaker.
    I think that's true, Bahasa is easy but also hard.
    Before, i was think that bahasa Indonesia doesn't has grammar, but then i realized, i thoungt like that because i'm a native speaker. We have grammar(s) (i'm still not sure how many grammar that this bahasa has, but sure it has). And yes, in Bahasa, we don't need to worry about some stuffs like gender, tenses, or singular-plural.
    And that's makes Bahasa is easier than orher languages. Then, what's makes bahasa hard? Well, in spoken bahasa, it will be hard if you can't get our tones. Tones is really matter in spoken bahasa, but i can't explain it properly since it must be spoken.
    -"Tanya, kenapa?" Means someone ask you to ask another person "what's happen".
    -"tanya kenapa!" Expressing madness because you didn't ask what happened.
    -"tanya kenapa." Expressing disappointment cause you didn't ask what happened.

    Then, in written bahasa, it's hard when you can't get the suffix, affix and 'space'. Because few members have explained bout suffix and affix, so i'm gonna explain bout "space".
    1. Dikali
    2. Di kali
    Both of them have totally different meaning.
    The first means: to multiplied(numbers).
    The second means: at river(location). But yes, the word "kali" in the first and the second has different meaning.
    And what makes bahasa harder is, the formal bahasa and the daily bahasa almost totally different.

    And please note that Malay and Indonesian is not same. Maybe we have similarity, but not same. If you understand Indonesian, doesn't mean you can understand Malay, also vice versa.

    Sorry for my bad english._.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015
  38. WannaBFluent

    WannaBFluent Senior Member

    Well, I don't really get what you meant there. I mean, the tones is different if you are angry, asking a question, or simply saying something, but that is common in every languages of the world!
    if you say : what are you doing? and what are YOU DOING?!!! of course you doesn't mean the same thing.

    It also happens in every languages of the world. It just some anecdotic exceptions...
    in English : add and ad have complete different meanings.

    I completely agree with that fact. and remember that Indonesia is a huge land seperated in a lot of island so the dialects spoken can be really really different from an island to another and even in the same island. In Java island, for example, you have people from the east, who speaks Javanese, and people from the west who speaks Sundanese. And yes, these are two different languages :
    one = siji (Javanese) / hiji (Sundanese)
    two = loro / dua
    three = telu / tilu
    water = banyu / cai
    person = uwong / jalma
    we = adhewe / urang

    Then you have other languages like Betawi, Sasak, Mongondow, Tolaki, Nias, Ambonese Malay, Kutainese, etc.
    There is more of 700 different languages spoken in Indonesia, but still, most of them are second language and most of the people does know how to speak Indonesian and/or Malay.

    Malay and Indonesian are quite similar, but still different in the pronounciation and the vocabulary used.
    investment = pelaburan (Malay) / penanaman modal, investasi (Indonesian)
    lawyer = peguam / pengacara
    liabilitity = liabiliti / kewajiban
    natural = semulajadi / alami
    officer = pegawai / pejabat
    rabbit = arnab (from Arabic) / kelinci

    And even some words are used in both Malay and Indonesian but the depth of the meaning is different.
    For example : shirt = baju in Malay. and baju in Indonesian refers to clothes! if you want to say shirt in Indonesian, it's better to say kaos.

    By the way, if you want to check the differences and similarity between several languages of Indonesia like Sumber, Brunei, Malaysia, Bidang go to :
    Pusat Rujukan Persuratan Melayu -
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2015
  39. caca26 New Member

    Bahasa Indonesia- Indonesia
    I agree that Bahasa Indonesia is an easy language. Adding to this, Bahasa Indonesia is a romantic language in my opinion. Excellent bahasa skill, accompanied with artistic trait, can make people write classy pieces of writtings.

    The top of all reasons why bahasa Indonesia is easy to learn is because its rules consistency outside of informal language. The second is there are only two different kind of ways to say e.
    If you know how to say 'tempe' and 'senang' you can begin your journey in saying words that contain e in them. The two words are simple teachers of saying different type of e correctly, but for the rests (words using e) u have to listen to the native speakers for correct saying.

    The only irregularity and non sense thing in Bahasa is its bahasa gaul- it means informal language in Indonesia.

    Keterlaluan: explains that things have gone too far and can make people angry or dissapointed greatly.
    Informal/ bahasa gaul: kebangetan

    Perasaan sedang tidak enak: a feeling that you are disturbed in some way.
    Bete (anger or bored feeling is indicated here, makes you look moody, or people think youre moody. You feel disturbed)

    In Indonesia there are the things called basic words.
    For example makan, sapu, cinta

    If they are transformed with prefix or suffix:

    Hewan itu memakan lawan jenisnya saat musim kawin.

    Gita menyapu lantai sampai bersih.

    Galang mencintai Mita.

    Menyintai is wrong in grammar sense. The right one is mencintai.

    Because there are specific and clear rules when basic word is being combined with prefix or suffix.

    If u are interested to know you could learn more from Indonesians who listen to their bahasa teacher with great focus in school time.

    Its just like the way some native speakers of English can't differentiate between you are and your.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2015
  40. mexerica feliz

    mexerica feliz Senior Member

    português nordestino
    Indonesian is not easy because it's a diglossic language, no diglossic language is easy.
    ''Indonesian as the national language'' started as lingua franca project back in the 1950ies,
    the goverment thought that in 30-40 years time, all local languages would disappear
    and that all Indonesians would speak the Bahasa even in informal situations (in family, among friends etc).
    But this project failed>
    1/ for most Indonesians, Bahasa is something like a foreign language, they have to learn it in school (starting at the age of 7)
    2/ due to Jakarta influence, the language has been ''Javanized'', so something that was planned like a ''one register language''
    split into acrolect (H-variant) mesolect (in between variant) and basilect (L-variant)...
    Soap operas and sitcoms on national TV stations made in Jakarta are not in H-Bahasa,
    but in Javanized/ Jakarta Bahasa,

    for someone from Bali,
    the linguistic situation would be like this:

    H [acrolect]: Bahasa Indonesia (used in formal writing, but never in speech, unless reading legal documens and orders aloud qualifies as ''speech'')
    M [mesolect]: Javanised Bahasa (they hear it all the time on national tv so they use it when people
    from Java come to Bali, and eventually, they use it orally with all other non-Balinese):
    L [basilect]: Balinese (the original tongue of the island, they use it will other Balinese persons).

    Bahasa Indonesia, a language planned as a democratic, all-use, one-register language,
    developped 2-3 different codes, typical of diglossic languages,
    what Bahasa did not take much from Javanese (vocabulary, grammar)
    was outnumbered by sociolinguistical transformation of Bahasa,
    from one register language with no Javanese influence,
    to a diglossic language with overwhelming and increasing Javanization.

    The difference between written Bahasa and Bahasa spoken on national tv (in sitcoms, movies)
    justifies all conditions of diglossia,
    that's why you see on market not only books like '"Grammar of Indonesian''
    but also ''Grammar of Spoken Indonesian'' and/or ''Grammar of Colloquial Indonesian'',

    the difference between written and spoken Bahasa is big.

    Any diglossic language is difficult, because to function normally within a society
    you have master two different (although related) variants,
    otherwise you will fail to learn the language completely

    (Swiss Germans want to make sure that even immigrants from Germany
    learn to speak '"Swiss German'' with them; Indonesians may
    not require that those learning formal written Bahasa learn how to speak colloquial/spoken Bahasa as well,
    but it's because they're being polite, and will tell you you speak excellent Bahasa
    even if you have no idea what's said on Indonesian tv shows, sitcoms, soaps etc).

    Further reading:
    Diglossia in Indonesian - jstor by JN SNEDDON

    Tenor of discourse in translated diglossic Indonesian film subtitles
    Barry John Turner, Isabella Wong
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2015
  41. Rani_Author

    Rani_Author Senior Member

    Indonesia - Indonesian
    Actually, to decide a language is easy or hard, it's very subjective matter. Depends on what language is the mother tongue and what languages s/he could master well.

    Indonesian has no grammar? It's impossible. If you said like that, it meant, you could change the basic Indonesian sentence pattern: Subject- Predicate-Object-Adverb to the different rules. In fact, Indonesians just could permit to change the adverb placement to be placed in the front of or in the middle of sentence (although, there are always some exceptions). If we write Indonesian sentence pattern freely like Russian one, it's 100 % wrong.

    Saya makan sebuah pisang di rumah. (I eat a banana at home).:tick:

    It could be:
    Di rumah, saya makan sebuah pisang. (At home, I eat a banana).:tick:
    Saya di rumah makan sebuah pisang. (I at home eat a banana).:tick:

    It would be strange to say:
    Saya makan di rumah sebuah pisang. (I eat at home a banana). :cross::cross::cross:

    When I learned Romance languages, I realized that the placement of Indonesian adverb is so different with Romance ones in this matter.

    It would be wrong if you try to change the word order freely like Russian. Because, it would change the meaning:
    Makan saya di rumah sebuah pisang. (literally: Eating I'm at home a banana):cross::cross::cross:
    Makan di rumah pisang saya. (literally: Eating at home my banana):cross::cross::cross:
    Sebuah pisang makan saya di rumah. (literally: A banana eats me at home):cross:
    Di rumah sebuah pisang saya makan. (literally: At home, a banana I eats):cross:
    Etc, etc.

    The :cross: is permitted in the different context.
    The :cross::cross::cross: isn't permitted in any contexts, except in poems or hard literatures.


    Indonesian has no plural? It's wrong.
    Indonesian plural could be like that:
    Pohon (tree) --> pepohonan (trees). Although, you also could say "pohon-pohon" to make it plural. But, "pepohonan" would make your Indonesian sound in high level.
    Bunga (flower) --> bebungaan (flowers). Although, you also could say "bunga-bunga" to make it plural. But, "bebungaan" would make your Indonesian sound in high level.

    On the contrary with: tas (bag). We couldn't say it "tetasan". Just "tas-tas".

    To learn them deeply, you should learn about Indonesian plural forms.


    Indonesian prefix, affix, suffix forms are so easy? It's nonsense for learners have no prefix, affix, suffix in their mother tongues. How smart the learners are, they should learn hard. Why I say like that? Because, even, not all of Indonesians master it deeply. Example: some Indonesians couldn't differentiate between "menyuapi" (to feed by entering food into the mouth) and "menyuapkan" (to enter food into the mouth). Between "mendapati" (to find) and "mendapatkan" (to get). Etc.


    "Di-" in Indonesian could be active or passive form. A lot of Indonesian learners were failed in this matter.
    Saya digigit oleh anjing. (I'm bitten by the dog) => passive form.
    Saya membeli baju baru untuk dipakai di pesta itu. (I bought the new shirt to wear in the party). => active form.

    About pronounciation, it's true if your mother tongue is Italian or Spanish, you could pronounce Indonesian easily. Although, as I know, the majority of learners got award and reward in Indonesian in my country were Britishs and Americans. :)

    Indonesian would be hard to pronounce, if example, the mother tongues of learners have no "NG". A lot of learners felt so hard to pronounce it. Like in "Malang", "Kupang", "mangga", "mengaca". "mengunci", etc. As I know, Arabic and Tetun native speakers felt so hard to pronounce it.

    Again, the "E". Although, there are no marks in every "E". But, "E" in every Indonesian word is read with different ways. It could be like in Italian: E and É. And in French, Ê. As I know, Tetun native speakers were confused about this. Because, in Tetun, there are marks and rules to differentiate both of "E". But, in Indonesian, you should memorize that. Based on my opinion, all of matters have no rules are hard to learn.



    You should memorize Indonesian capital letters. Example:
    Orang yang membeli buku itu adalah Ibu Ani. (The person who bought the book is Mrs. Ani)
    Orang yang membeli buku itu adalah ibu Ani. (The person who bought the book is Ani's mother)

    Although, the meanings don't always change, but it would be 100 % wrong if you change the capital letters with the small one.
    Dia mendaki gunung minggu lalu. (He climbed a mountain last week)
    Dia mendaki Gunung Bromo hari Minggu lalu. (He climbed the Bromo mountain last Sunday)

    Why I say like that? Even, Indonesians should study hard for this matter.


    You should be carefull with punctuation marks. In Indonesian, the punctuation marks mean everything. Example:
    - Kucing, makan tikus mati = a cat is eating a dead mouse.
    - Kucing makan, tikus mati = a cat was eating when the mouse died.
    - Kucing makan tikus, mati = a cat that ate a mouse, has died.

    In this matter, even, Indonesians should study hard, too.


    It's true that Indonesian has no stress, no tone. But, intonation in Indonesian means everything. If you are wrong in the intonation, even, the native speaker couldn't understand you.


    Don't worry about borrowing words from local languages in Indonesian. Even, I and my brothers don't speak any local languages. My parents want to keep the purify of Indonesian of their children. I could master my mother tongue without speaking any local languages.

    And don't worry about Indonesian accent is influenced by a lot of local languages! If you come Indonesia and stay here, you could choose which accent you prefer the most. Usually, foreigners love Javanese accent which is softest and slowest. In the big cities, like in the Central Jakarta or Surabaya, people talk Indonesian with no hard accent.

    Actually, if you learn Indonesian deeply, you could understand that Indonesian isn't the easiest language in the world. There are a lot of matters I can't explain here. But, once more, it's subjective matter.

    It's just like me. It's so hard for me to write English like that. :D All of Germanic languages are hard for me. :D Romance and Altaik ones are easier. :rolleyes: The easiest is Italian. :rolleyes: But, you know that a lot of persons over there would disagree and say like this, "Italian? Are you kidding me? It's so hard. Even, Spanish is easier than Italian." :)
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
  42. Rani_Author

    Rani_Author Senior Member

    Indonesia - Indonesian
    I care. I always correct every mistake of Indonesian use from learners or even from native speakers. The problem is the majority of Indonesian and Malayan native speakers don't care about it.

    Laughing at the learners when they make mistakes, I never agree. It could make any learners depressed. Moreover, the use of the correct grammar and formal words are 100 % true. I use formal Indonesian in the daily life. Nothing wrong with them.

    I often find that any native speakers say wrongly in any mother tongues, but no one would laugh. We should change any cultures like that.

    What exactly are you doing?/ What are you doing indeed? => That's the translation.

    I'm an Indonesian. I had studied Malayan hard. I had stopped when all of persons around me had started to tell me that I had lost my Indonesian. I had decided to stop it. Then, I started to deepen my Indonesian before studying Malayan again. Now, I have no problem to write hard literatures in both languages without feeling confused.

    If you are foreigners want to study Indonesian and Malayan, I suggest you to learn them in the same time. Except, you are just interested in one of both languages.

    These are the rules:

    (a) apabila bertemu dengan kata-kata yang bermula dengan huruf L, M, N, NG, NY, R, atau W. (If the roots are begun by letter L, M, N, NG, NY, R, or W)

    (b) apabila bertemu dengan kata-kata yang bermula dengan huruf K, P, T, atau S; K, P, T, S luluh. (If the roots are begun by letter K, P, T, or S; the K, P, T, S fuse) => nasalisasi.

    The rules of nasalisasi of K, P, T, S:
    K: meng + (K is omitted) the rest of the root.
    P: mem+ (P is omitted) the rest of the root.
    T: men+ (T is omitted) the rest of the root.
    S: meny+ (S is omitted) the rest of the root.

    apabila bertemu dengan kata-kata yang bermula dengan huruf B, F, atau V. (If the roots are begun by letter B, F, or V)

    apabila bertemu dengan kata-kata yang bermula dengan huruf C, D, atau J. (If the roots are begun by letter C, D, or J)

    apabila bertemu dengan kata-kata yang bermula dengan huruf A, E, I, O, U, G, atau H. (If the roots are begun by letter A, E, I, O, U, G or H)

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