Learning Indonesian

Based on the Malay trade dialect, Bahasa Indonesia is the national language of the Republic of Indonesia. It unites the over 242 million people (2005 estimate) of Indonesia, whose native tongue may be one of the over 300 distinct languages or regional dialects. Older people may speak some Dutch and the foreign language of choice for business, tourism and study isEnglish.

While it is possible for foreigners to live in Jakarta without speaking Bahasa Indonesia, it is highly recommended that you obtain a working knowledge of the Indonesian national language. An inability to communicate in Bahasa Indonesia will cut you off from the mainstream of society, and dealing with those who don’t speak a foreign language will be very difficult. You deny yourself as well the rich cultural experience of fully communicating with those from another culture.

To get you started and introduce you to the language, are some basic phrases in Bahasa Indonesia. Click on the Indonesian phrase and download the sound clips to hear the phrases in Indonesian.

(The sound bites will work in Netscape 3.0 and above as well as Microsoft Explorer v3.0)Greetings:

Good morning=Selamat Pagi
mid-day=Selamat siang
evening=Selamat malam
Good-bye=Selamat tinggal (if you’re leaving)
Selamat jalan=(to someone who is leaving you)
Thank you=Terima kasih
You’re welcome=Kembali or sama-sama
How are you?=Apa kabar?
Excuse me=Permisi or maaf
Do you speak English?=Bisa bicara Bahasa Inggris?
I don’t speak Indonesian.=Saya tidak bisa bicara bahasa Indonesia.
I don’t understand.=Saya tidak mengerti.

Requesting basic assistance:
Can you help me?=Bisa bantu saya?
Where is the bathroom?=Di mana kamar kecil?
Where is . . . =Di mana. . .
How much is this? =Berapa harganya ini?
I want this. =Saya mau ini.
I want to eat. =Saya mau makan.

Getting home:
My address is … =Alamat saya…
Please take me to … =Tolong, antar saya ke …

[Download All Sound Clips (514 Kb)] This is a zipped file.


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