English learns Indonesian

Your Partner in Learning Bahasa Indonesia

Foreigners' Acceptable Errors when Speaking Bahasa Indonesia

This post is about what I experienced when I talked to foreigners in bahasa Indonesia. Many of them said that bahasa Indonesia is quite easy to learn. However, in my personal point of view, it is rather difficult since there are so many grammar rules that are acceptable but unexplainable.

2 Sounds of Letter 'e'

Bahasa Indonesia actually has only one letter 'e'. But in fact, it has 2 sounds for that letter. The first sound of letter 'e' sounds like 'red' and the second sounds as you pronounce word 'bird'.

Many foreigners only recognize the first type of 'e' when speaking bahasa Indonesia. Although it is acceptable, but it would probably sound little bit funny. If you speak with random guys in Indonesia, they will fix your pronunciation.

Learn The Language Means Learn The Accent

Again, this error is still acceptable. That learn any language means learn the accent, or, at least being so close to the native accent. This is what English teachers taught in English class. For many foreigners, they still use their accent in speaking bahasa Indonesia. Although intonation does not really influence they messages one wants to deliver in a conversation, but it is better to be noticed.

Vibration Sound of Letter 'r'

Letter 'r' in bahasa Indonesia is pronounced totally different with how it is pronounced in English. Indonesians stress it by vibrating their tongue while many foreigners do not. However, Indonesians recognize that un-vibrated sound of letter 'r' is fair if it is spoken by foreigners.

Letter 'c' for 'k'

Letter 'c' in bahasa Indonesia is pronounced differently with letter 'c' in English. In bahasa Indonesia, letter 'c' is pronounced like 'che' in 'check' and 'chest'.

'-ng' & '-ngg' words

Can you pronounce the following words? Just try your best!

  • bunga
  • hangat
  • kehilangan
  • menganga

Let's take 3 words with '-ngg'

  • tangga
  • menanggung
  • bertanggung-jawab

Many foreigners fail in pronouncing words with '-ng' letters. Majority of them pronounce '-ng-' similar with '-ngg-'. Again and again, this kind of error is understandable. If you think '-ng' and '-ngg' are difficult, try reading this tongue twister.

  • kucing memancing anting-anting cacing, piring bening menggelinding disamping kepiting, kambing bunting menjinjing baling-baling, anjing baring berguling terombang-ambing