How to Speak Indonesian

How easy is it to speak Indonesian? Very easy! Indonesian language which is written in Romanized script is pronounced similar to the Germanic alphabets. Before you learn Indonesian grammar or vocabularies, it is essential that you learn how to pronounce the Indonesian words first. The question is now: How to read words in Indonesian language? Simply read them into their syllables.

Each language has its own system of sounds which is unlike that of any other language. When you begin to learn a new language, you must learn to make distinctions which are not made in your own language, and you must learn to articulate in a way different from that to which you are accustomed. Correct pronunciation and the ability to distinguish new sounds do not come automatically, but are achieved through a process of comparison and imitation, as we lead you to do in the exercises in this and the following lessons. The ability to articulate like an Indonesian will come from constant imitation of the sentences and sounds spoken on the tapes and spoken by your tutor.

In this section, we will give you a notion of what the sounds used in Indonesian are, how they are made, and how they differ from those used in English. And hopefully this could give you a slight idea of how to speak Indonesian.


a: In open syllables is pronounced more or less like the a in "far".
For example: kata  = word

In closed syllables it sounds like the English u in "but".
For example: surat = letter

e: When unstressed is pronounced as the mute e in "open".
For example: kelas = class

When stressed it sounds somewhere between the e in "bed" and the a in "bad".
For example: meja = table

i: In open syllables is pronounced as the ee in "feet".
For example: kita = we

In closed syllables the sound is shorter, like i in "tip".
For example: minta = to ask for

o: is pronounced like the a in "tall".
For example: botol = bottle

u: is pronounced like the oo in "tool", however with lips rounded.
For example: susu = milk


ai: The diphthong ai in open syllables sounds like the i in "fine".
For example: sampai = to arrive

However the diphthong ai can also pronounced as two separate sounds a-i :
For example: lain = other

au: Has the same sound as ow in "how".
For example: kalau = if

However in closed syllables it is two-syllabic.
For example: haus = thirsty.

Below is the video which could help you learn how to speak Indonesian based on the examples above:

To be able to speak Indonesian well is the primary goal for every one who is learning Indonesian language. It's no use learning the language if you can't use it to communicate with the locals. Therefore it is highly recommended that you get yourself a professional Indonesian language teacher should you want to improve your Indonesian speaking skills within a short period of time.

Sumitted by Jasaritin from Online Indonesian Language Course and Lesson


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