Indonesian

Language History

The Indonesian language, also known as “Bahasa Indonesia” is one of two variations of standardised Malay. It is considered a member of the Austronesian language family, which also includes Tagalog, Māori, Samoan and more. From the 9th to the 14th century, Malay was the court language in the Strait of Malacca region. Travelers and traders began using this language and it started spreading throughout the Indonesian islands. Eventually, in the early 20th century, a standardised version of Malay was developed to unify the islands. This is what is known today as “Bahasa Indonesia”. Today, students learn Bahasa Indonesia in schools, but they are generally also native in the language of their island region.

According to Babbel, there are approximately 23 million Indonesian speakers around the world.

Where is Indonesian Spoken?

Indonesian is the official language of Indonesia. However, it is also spoken in many other countries around the world including the Netherlands, the Philippines, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, East Timor, and Australia and the U.S.

Indonesia_map_inner page

Fact!

Indonesian and Malay’s Malaysian are incredibly similar. The differences lie in grammar, vocabulary and the pronunciation of certain words.

Did you know the word ‘thai’ means ‘free’ in the Thai language?

Did you Know?

Indonesian is the 9th most spoken language in the world. It is also a very popular southeast Asian language.

“Indonesian is a “polite language”. It derives from Malay, which happens to be famous for being the most polite language in the eastern region.”

False Friends in Indonesian and English

IndonesianTranslationWrong Meaning
Airwaterair
Rumahhouseroom
Guruteacherguru
Kariercareercarrier

4 Easy Phrases in Indonesian!

IndonesianEnglish
Selamat PagiGood morning
Apa kabar?How are you?
Selamat malamGoodnight
Terima kasihThank you

Fact!

Many English words derive from Indonesian including “sarong” – “sarung” and “orangutan” – “orang utan”.

Did you know the word ‘thai’ means ‘free’ in the Thai language?

Did you Know?

The Indonesian Official Dictionary is updated twice a year by the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture! The last update in October 2019 added 1035 new entries, which included words adopted from regional languages, slang, and formalised loanwords.

Population vs. Internet Penetration

Indonesia Population:

269,536,482

Internet Users:

2,000,000

Penetration:

63.5 %

As of 2020. Source:
www.internetworldstats.com

Indonesian Translation Tips

• Sentences start with a subject, then a verb (also called a predicate), and finally, an object.

• There are four Indonesian verbs – (1) active transitive, (2) passive transitive, (3) active intransitive, (4) passive intransitive.

• Verbs do not change according to the tense. Past or future tense is usually demonstrated by adding words that signify the time.

• Indonesian does not make use of grammatical gender. Only a few words use natural gender such as “putri” meaning “daughter”, and “putra” meaning “son”.

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