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10 Characteristics of Indonesian Languages

by Tri Setiya

Indonesia, as the state with many islands, actually have so many languages. However, there is one and only official national language of Indonesia. It is called Bahasa Indonesia. Bahasa means ‘language’ in Indonesian Language. Indonesians start to use Bahasa Indonesia as the lingua franca in the multilingual Indonesian archipelago for centuries.

If you learn to speak Bahasa Indonesia, it would be much easier than if you learn other languages. It is because the simplicity of Bahasa Indonesia itself. Furthermore, we would like expanse the characteristics of Indonesian Language to support your learning.

  1. Easy to pronounce

Unlike other languages, Bahasa Indonesia is easier to pronounce. You just need to read as what it is written. If you have already mastered alphabet in Bahasa Indonesia, you could pronounce this language very well.

It has 5 standard kinds of vowel sounds, such as: a, i, u, e, o. Although the sounds (ə), (ɛ), or (ɔ) are also used in some words, it would not make any difference in the way how it is pronounce. As the example in saying ‘teman’, you should use (ə) sound. Compared to say ‘desa’, just say it using common ‘e’ sound.

  1. Consistent

 Bahasa Indonesia is a consistent language. If you find many exceptions in other languages, you would rarely find them here. I would compare this language with English to illustrate it.

In English, you would find an exception while you are going to use Simple Present Tense for singular subject. You must put “s/es” behind the verb. Meanwhile in Indonesia, there is no exception of making tenses. All the verbs will be the same at all.

  1. Having the same verbs

It has been stated that Verbs in Bahasa Indonesia is all the same. While you find three kinds of verb on English, which are: verb 1, verb 2, and Verb 3, it doesn’t find anything like that in Indonesian language.

Whether it is continuous, present, past, or participle, Bahasa Indonesia prefers using the same verb. You could say the same verb in ‘Saya sedang makan’ with saying ‘Saya makan tadi malam’. Look! The verb is just same, ‘makan’.

  1. Have a simple rule of grammar

Just like other languages, Bahasa Indonesia uses the standard word order in its grammar. It is called SVO (Subject-Verb-Object) in general. However, Indonesian language could be a really flexible on the rule of grammar. Unlike other languages that have the grammatical gender for Noun, you will never found anything like that. Although you say a sentence in unarranged word order, it still could be acceptable Indonesia.

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  1. Easy Affixes and suffixes

 Affixes and suffixes have the important role in derivation of the words in Indonesian Language. Affixes in Indonesia called ‘awalan’, while suffixes called ‘akhiran’. Affixes ‘me’ and ‘ber’ in front of the verb are usually used for making a verb. As the example, ‘memasak’, ‘menyapu’, ‘berlibur’, ‘bersepeda’. Meanwhile the suffix ‘an’ behind a verb is used for deriving a noun. The examples are: ‘makanan’, ‘masakan’, ‘mainan’.

  1. The easy form of passive-active sentence

 The next characteristic is, you could change the active sentence into passive sentence as easy as pie in Bahasa Indonesia. It just needs the affix ‘me’ for the active verb and affix ‘di’ for the passive verb. As the example: ‘Saya memasak mie’ in active sentence. So, how to make it into passive? Yes, you could say ‘Mie dimasak oleh saya.’ for the passive form. It doesn’t need any change whether it is plural or singular subject since Bahasa Indonesia doesn’t have any various verb.

  1. A clear articulation to speak

 This is the most important at all. In speaking Bahasa Indonesia, you should pronounce a word as clear as possible. Unlike English, Indonesia doesn’t have any linking sounds. That is why most of Indonesians like to speak clearly.

Make sure to produce the sound with the clear articulation. Don’t link one word to another, unless the partner of your speaking will miss out the meaning.

  1. Simple ways to make plural nouns

Among all languages, Indonesian language has the really easy way in changing the singular nouns into plural nouns. In English, you would find a lot of irregular ways in changing into plural noun. Child becomes children. Wife becomes wives. Slow down, because in Bahasa Indonesia you would not find anything like that.

In Bahasa Indonesia, you just need to repeat the same noun to make a plural noun. As the example: ‘buku’ in singular noun, and ‘buku-buku’ in plural noun. However, don’t make any plural noun for uncountable noun. Just alike English, there is no plural noun for uncountable noun.

  1. Simple Vocabulary

Bahasa Indonesia has simple vocabularies. If you find a lot of synonyms in English, you would just find two or three synonyms only in Bahasa Indonesia. As the example, you could find ‘gigantic’, ‘enormous’, ‘giant’, ‘huge’ as the synonyms of ‘big’, while in Bahasa Indonesia you could use ‘besar’ everywhere. It is so simple, isn’t it?

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  1. Have the flexible stress

Since Indonesia language is widely spoken in all the part of Indonesians, there is no rigid rule for the stress to utter a word or sentence. Remember that there are hundreds of regional languages in Indonesia. That is why there is no special stress in pronouncing a word. You just need to take a look in what condition you are speaking. You could use the raising stress when you are asking, and the down stress for the normal sentence.

In conclusion, Bahasa Indonesia is a really simple language to learn. It has the simple rule of grammar, pronunciation, and even vocabularies. If there is one more language you want to learn, I would suggest Bahasa Indonesia. You could learn Bahasa Indonesia by yourself, by the guiding of some media, such as: dictionary, video, or some papers. You could start also to learn Language in Bali Indonesia.

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