Learning Indonesian is a popular choice among language learners worldwide. Its rich cultural and historical significance and ability to help you navigate the stunning archipelago of Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, and many other Asian languages make it a desirable language to acquire.
If you’re wondering why you should learn Indonesian, how to begin the process of the language-learning journey, or whether is Indonesian easy to learn, know it’s worthwhile. Using the appropriate tools and technology will reward your hard work in numerous ways.
Difficulties in Learning Indonesian
The Bahasa Indonesia has an artificial standard. As a result first language itself, people tend to include slang and regional language when speaking with each other. This is why you may find YouTube videos easy to understand but need help comprehending informal conversations in your day-to-day life.
It can be disheartening to experience such a sharp contrast in your language learning styles because even if you can comprehend literature and current events, it may still seem like you have a long way to go.
To improve your understanding of informal and formal Indonesian, read online comments from YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Although internet comments are sometimes seen as meaningless, they reflect how people talk in real life. So, learning this second language register is essential to understand everyday conversations in other countries better.
Indonesian is Pretty Easy
You may have already noticed, but the last section could be more critical. In general, learning Indonesian as a foreigner is easy.
One way to approach learning complicated prefix or suffix words is to consider them separate concepts that often correspond to different words in English. In the example, it is perfectly acceptable to understand loan words membaca as “to read” and membacakan as “to read for.”
Indonesian learners have an advantage because the pronunciation is a phonetic language generally straightforward. Although it is essential to learn how to roll your R and use pure vowels, it should be noted that spoken Indonesian words match their written counterparts exactly.
In informal Indonesian communication, such as texting and online commenting, people tend to reflect their casual way of speaking even in their writing, unlike in English, where we write “have to” even though we may say the root word “hafta.” There is no strict adherence to proper writing conventions in informal Indonesian communication.
Finally, those learning the Indonesian language have a significant advantage over verbs. There is no need for conjugation as each “tense” represents a specific particle added before the verb.
Your First Indonesian Steps
To start learning Indonesian or any new language, it’s essential to prioritize mastering the pronunciation of foreign words and sounds. It is vital to practice distinguishing and producing each sound of the other language to learn and understand native speakers in the future better. Start working on this skill now to be well-prepared.
I would appreciate you finding a video series with clear Indonesian speech and subtitles to improve your understanding of how Indonesian sounds are represented in the writing system. Even though the Indonesian alphabet is straightforward, it may still take time to master this skill.
You afterward will be the vocabulary. Indonesian incorporates loanwords from European languages in science, pop culture, and Asian languages, but most words originate from Arabic, Sanskrit, and the local Austronesian language.
Creating an effective system using flashcards or wordlists is recommended to build a strong vocabulary foundation.
Advice to a New Learner
Starting to speak too soon is one of the biggest mistakes new Indonesian learners can make. This does not refer to how fast you can talk but rather to how soon you try to speak after beginning to learn the language.
To avoid feeling overwhelmed by not comprehending what you hear, it is advisable to first develop a solid understanding of Indonesian before attempting to converse. This is comparable to perfecting your speaking skills and Indonesian pronunciation in foreign languages.
It’s normal if it takes you longer to understand TV shows or movies than reading your textbooks or listening to courses designed for learners. There’s no need to worry about it.
As previously stated, Indonesian, spoken quickly, often contains a tonal language and a large amount of local slang. Even essential words such as “you” and “I” differ in informal language. The terms Anda and saya are typically used, but in informal settings, they are replaced with kamu and aku, and in Jakartan slang, they become lu and gue.
While Indonesian may be easier to learn than other languages, comprehending the official language fluently requires effort and time.
Benefits Of Learning Indonesian
Learning a new skill can unlock your creativity, stimulate your mind, and help you discover unique aspects of yourself. Indonesian language learning is an excellent example. There are numerous ways in which learning Indonesian can enhance your life, and here are just a few examples.
Learn Indonesian For Travel
If you feel adventurous, don’t be limited by language barriers. Knowing Indonesian can open up opportunities to explore different parts of the world. Learning Indonesian will help you read road signs, menus, and train tickets, allowing you to navigate new cities. Moreover, it will help you connect with the locals you’ll meet during your travels.
Exploring a new place through the eyes of a local is considered the best way to go about it. By learning Indonesian, you can view the native language speakers’ perspectives and venture off the tourist hotspots into the real world. Whether it’s the busy Jakarta streets or the Bali beaches, you can explore further and appreciate what the Indonesian-speaking world offers when you have Indonesian in your language skills.
Live The Indonesian Language Abroad
Living abroad is a great way to immerse yourself in a foreign language fully. It offers a chance to enroll in a foreign university for a unique college experience, work at a hostel and explore tourist attractions during the day while working at night, or retire to a more relaxed way of life.
Putting yourself in a situation where you must speak Indonesian will help you become more fluent in the language.
Build Your Indonesian Business Skills
In the current era of globalization, businesses and organizations are operating on an international level. Professionals must learn Indonesian to stay ahead of the competition and succeed globally.
Learning the Indonesian language can help businesses tap into the growing opportunities in Southeast Asia and facilitate communication with colleagues, clients, partners, and investors who speak Indonesian. It can also demonstrate your brand’s multicultural, international, and inclusive values.
Use Language To Train Your Brain
Learning a new skill can broaden your knowledge, and learning Indonesian can be beneficial in keeping your mind agile, especially as you age. Learning a new language requires building connections between words and their meanings, analyzing and constructing grammatical and Indonesian grammar rules, engaging in impromptu speech and quick thinking, persevering when faced with complex and confusing situations, and active listening. Studying Indonesian is one of the most effective ways to improve cognitive abilities.
Immerse Yourself In Indonesian Culture, Unfiltered
Studying the Indonesian language is not just about improving language skills; it also provides insights into the rich arts and culture of communities that speak it. Delving into the works of renowned Indonesian writers such as Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Dewi “Dee” Lestari, and Andrea Hirata brings an appreciation of the language’s aesthetic and vivid expressions. To fully experience the contemporary Indonesian language in various forms of media, such as podcasts, radio shows, audiobooks, and TV shows, it would be beneficial to view it from the Indonesian perspective.
When you learn Indonesian, you can access famous culinary recipes such as nasi goreng and beef rendang. You can also understand the dialogues in most languages of well-known Indonesian movies and the lyrics of classical Indonesian gamelan and kroncong music.
So is Indonesian easy to learn?
Defining what ” an easy language to learn ” means is subjective, but it can be said that Indonesian is relatively easier for English speakers to learn than other non-European languages. It is considered the most accessible non-European language for English speakers. To learn Indonesian, be prepared to start with a new Indonesian vocabulary since it has little overlap with English. However, the good news is that the words are easy to pronounce and memorize, and the grammar is simple.
Once you begin learning, you can quickly start speaking Indonesian. Focus on learning the most important words, try constructing sentences, and before you know it, you can have basic conversations in Indonesian and communicate with Indonesian individuals.
Formally learning the language is only one part of the challenge. When you arrive in Indonesia and start conversing with locals, you’ll notice variations in dialects and the actual usage of the language. You will be understood, but getting accustomed to the local languages and how people speak may take time before you can fully comprehend them. Overall, learning Indonesian is both easy and enjoyable.