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Indonesia forum

Learning Indonesian

Posted by flijten on 19/4/2017 at 02:33

Since I like learning new languages and I am going to be spending at least 13 weeks in Indonesia this summer I've started learning at least the basics of the Indonesian language. So far I love how they removed a lot of the irregular grammar and useless extra verbs :) learning a lot of words is now half the job.
I use babbel (payed) which works pretty good for me.

My questions:
Have you learned Indonesian?
Up to what level?
Did you need it? Where?
How do Indonesians respond to a westerner grasping the basics of Indonesian?
Any tips?

#1 flijten has been a member since 19/12/2016. Location: Netherlands. Posts: 80

Posted by somtam2000 on 19/4/2017 at 19:25 admin

An excellent online resource is Learning Indonesian. The introductory part of the course is 100% free and if you get through all of that it will give you a solid grounding in the language.


#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,090

Posted by Bungkus on 1/6/2017 at 07:48 TF writer

Late to the party, but I’ll add my two cents worth... (of course I’m generalising, but...) Indonesians are very generous when you attempt to speak Indonesian, so don’t be embarrassed, just give it a go. To answer your questions -- my level is conversational (it should be better, but I’m lazy). I was less lazy when I began, although I probably have a better understanding of culture now, which goes hand in hand with language. So did I need it -- well, honesty probably not, you can get most places with sign language, but did it enrich my trips? Defiantly! The more you know, the more you know. Where? Good for more remote places and places tourists don’t frequent so much (which are the best places). Tips -- whatever works for you, but I like to write things down, as it helps me remember. I carry a notebook, and make word pictures to try and remember words that I find difficult. This sounds lame, but an example for train - kereta api -- I imagined a train shaped like a carrot, as that’s what it sounded like to my ear. Have fun, and don't be discouraged. Indonesian is easy at first to make yourself understood, but is much more complex at higher levels.

#3 Bungkus has been a member since 28/8/2015. Posts: 16

Posted by somtam2000 on 2/6/2017 at 04:08 admin

Will never look at a train in the same way again. :)

#4 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,090

Posted by flijten on 2/6/2017 at 06:55

Late parties are the best parties :)

I can already confirm people are very happy and friendly about my "Indonesian" so I made the right choice spending some time. I noticed that even in random jakarta warungs, english is certainly not omni present so knowing numbers, food names and pleasantries already mean the world!

#5 flijten has been a member since 19/12/2016. Location: Netherlands. Posts: 80

Posted by Digitarius on 8/6/2017 at 19:18

I agree Indonesians respond very well if you attempt to speak their bahasa Indonesian. Saya **** very much and decided I would learn the language enough so when I return in a bit I will be able to say something coherent. I also speak with a few Indonesian students who help out a little. Do it, it's a great language.

#6 Digitarius has been a member since 15/6/2016. Posts: 20

Posted by buniods on 1/8/2017 at 09:00

I learned Indonesian language online prior to my coming to Indonesia (http://bahasaku.id). They provide only English speaking, native Indonesian language instructor. It took me only 3 months to learn the language while my wife took only 1.5 months to speak the language. We have tried learning ourselves via various apps however those apps don't really help us speak Indonesian.

The course fee is very affordable and the teacher is very reliable.

I'd strongly recommend you learn Indonesian first before you come to Indonesia as most Indonesians don't speak English.

#7 buniods has been a member since 1/8/2017. Posts: 1

Posted by Gabe on 6/9/2017 at 12:06

If you want to learn at a professionally run school, with proper lessons and teachers, try Cinta Bahasa (they have a website) Based in Ubud, Bali but they also do Skype lessons as well. I learned there and it has really helped me travel independently in Indonesia. Another online source of live lessons is iTalki. You can have 'lanugage partners' to just chat with if you have some basics, also paid lessons from teachers.

#8 Gabe has been a member since 5/7/2017. Posts: 8

Posted by LukeMackin on 2/11/2017 at 21:19

This is late as well, but The Indonesian Way is also a fantastic, relatively new, resource.


And to the questions:

1) Yes.

2) More or less fluent after seven years here, in pretty much full immersion all the time (no expat community where I live). Constantly learning though-would never claim to speak like a native at all. I have an extremely hard time believing someone studying for three months really knows the language beyond the very basics...

3) Outside of the main tourist areas, there are few that speak English. So yes, for me it's 100% vital.

4) Always well received when you show that you're making an effort.

5) Spend a lot of time just listening and reading at first.

#9 LukeMackin has been a member since 4/7/2013. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8

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