Indonesian language - Wikipedia

Indonesian language – Wikipedia

Official language of Indonesia

Indonesian (bahasa Indonesia, [baˈ in.ˈ]) is the official language of Indonesia.[3] It is a standardized number of Malay,[4] an Austronesian language that has been used as a lingua franca within the multilingual Indonesian archipelago for hundreds of years. Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation on this planet—of which the bulk converse Indonesian, which makes it one of many extra extensively spoken languages on this planet.[5]

Most Indonesians, other than talking the nationwide language, are fluent in at the least one of many greater than 700 indigenous native languages; examples embody Javanese, Sundanese, and Balinese, that are generally used at house and inside the area people.[6][7] However, most formal training and almost all nationwide mass media, governance, administration, and judiciary and different types of communication are carried out in Indonesian.[8]

The time period “Indonesian” is primarily related to the nationwide normal dialect (bahasa baku).[9] However, in a extra unfastened sense, it additionally encompasses the assorted native varieties spoken all through the Indonesian archipelago.[4][10] Standard Indonesian is confined principally to formal conditions, present in a diglossic relationship with vernacular Malay varieties, that are generally used for each day communication, coexisting with the aforementioned regional languages.[9][6]

The Indonesian title for the language (bahasa Indonesia) can also be often present in English and different languages.


Early kingdoms period[edit]

Rencong alphabet, native writing methods present in central and South Sumatra. The textual content reads (Voorhoeve’s spelling): “haku manangis ma / njaru ka’u ka’u di / saru tijada da / tang [hitu hadik sa]”, which is translated by Voorhoeve as: “I am weeping, calling you; though called, you do not come” (in fashionable Malay “Aku menangis, menyerukan engkau, kaudiseru, tiada datang [itu adik satu]”).

Standard Indonesian is a regular number of “Riau Malay”,[11][12] which regardless of its widespread title will not be based mostly on the vernacular Malay dialects of the Riau Islands, however reasonably represents a type of Classical Malay as used within the nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries within the Riau-Lingga Sultanate. Classical Malay had emerged as a literary language within the royal courts alongside each shores of the Strait of Malacca, together with the Johor–Riau and Malaccan Sultanates.[13][14][15] Originally spoken in Northeast Sumatra,[16] Malay has been used as a lingua franca within the Indonesian archipelago for half a millennium. It may be attributed to its ancestor, the Old Malay language (which may be traced again to the seventh century). The Kedukan Bukit Inscription is the oldest surviving specimen of Old Malay, the language utilized by Srivijayan empire. Since the seventh century, the Old Malay language has been utilized in Nusantara (Indonesian archipelago), evidenced by Srivijaya inscriptions and by different inscriptions from coastal areas of the archipelago, equivalent to these found in Java.

Old Malay as lingua franca[edit]

Trade contacts carried on by varied ethnic peoples on the time had been the principle automobile for spreading the Old Malay language, which was the principle communications medium among the many merchants. Ultimately, the Old Malay language grew to become a lingua franca and was spoken extensively by most individuals within the archipelago.[17][18]

Indonesian (in its normal type) has primarily the identical materials foundation because the Malaysian normal of Malay and is subsequently thought of to be quite a lot of the pluricentric Malay language. However, it does differ from Malaysian Malay in a number of respects, with variations in pronunciation and vocabulary. These variations are due primarily to the Dutch and Javanese influences on Indonesian. Indonesian was additionally influenced by the Melayu pasar (actually “market Malay”), which was the lingua franca of the archipelago in colonial occasions, and thus not directly by different spoken languages of the islands.

Malaysian Malay claims to be nearer to the classical Malay of earlier centuries, though fashionable Malaysian has been closely influenced, in lexicon in addition to in syntax, by English. The query of whether or not High Malay (Court Malay) or Low Malay (Bazaar Malay) was the true dad or mum of the Indonesian language continues to be in debate. High Malay was the official language used within the courtroom of the Johor Sultanate and continued by the Dutch-administered territory of Riau-Lingga, whereas Low Malay was generally utilized in marketplaces and ports of the archipelago. Some linguists have argued that it was the extra widespread Low Malay that shaped the bottom of the Indonesian language.[19]

Dutch colonial period[edit]

When the Dutch East India Company (VOC) first arrived within the archipelago at first of the 1600s, the Malay language was a big buying and selling and political language as a result of affect of Malaccan Sultanate and later the Portuguese. However, the language had by no means been dominant among the many inhabitants of the Indonesian archipelago because it was restricted to mercantile exercise. The VOC adopted the Malay language as the executive language of their buying and selling outpost within the east. Following the chapter of the VOC, the Batavian Republic took management of the colony in 1799, and it was solely then that training in and promotion of Dutch started within the colony. Even then, Dutch directors had been remarkably reluctant to advertise the usage of Dutch in comparison with different colonial regimes. Dutch thus remained the language of a small elite: in 1940, solely 2% of the entire inhabitants might converse Dutch. Nevertheless, it did have a big affect on the event of Malay within the colony: in the course of the colonial period, the language that may be standardized as Indonesian absorbed a considerable amount of Dutch vocabulary within the type of loanwords.

Birth of the Indonesian language[edit]

Volksraad session held in July 1938 in Jakarta, the place Indonesian was formally used for the primary time by Jahja Datoek Kajo.

The nationalist motion that finally introduced Indonesian to its nationwide language standing rejected Dutch from the outset. However, the speedy disappearance of Dutch was a really uncommon case in contrast with different colonized nations, the place the colonial language usually has continued to operate because the language of politics, paperwork, training, expertise, and different fields of significance for a big time after independence.[20] Soenjono Dardjowidjojo even goes as far as to say that “Indonesian is perhaps the only language that has achieved the status of a national language in its true sense”[citation needed] because it really dominates in all spheres of Indonesian society. The ease with which Indonesia eradicated the language of its former colonial energy can maybe be defined as a lot by Dutch coverage as by Indonesian nationalism. In marked distinction to the French, Spanish and Portuguese, who pursued an assimilation colonial coverage, and even the British, the Dutch didn’t try and unfold their language among the many indigenous inhabitants. In truth, they consciously prevented the language from being unfold by refusing to supply training, particularly in Dutch, to the native Indonesians so they’d not come to see themselves as equals.[20] Moreover, the Dutch wished to stop the Indonesians from elevating their perceived social standing by taking up components of Dutch tradition. Thus, till the Thirties, they maintained a minimalist regime and allowed Malay to unfold shortly all through the archipelago.

Dutch dominance at the moment coated almost all features, with official boards requiring the usage of Dutch, though for the reason that Second Youth Congress (1928) the usage of Indonesian because the nationwide language was agreed on as one of many instruments within the independence battle. As of it, Mohammad Hoesni Thamrin inveighed actions underestimating Indonesian. After some criticism and protests, the usage of Indonesian was allowed for the reason that Volksraad classes held in July 1938.[21] By the time they tried to counter the unfold of Malay by educating Dutch to the natives, it was too late, and in 1942, the Japanese conquered Indonesia and outlawed the usage of the Dutch language. Three years later, the Indonesians themselves formally abolished the language and established Bahasa Indonesia because the nationwide language of the brand new nation.[22] The time period Bahasa Indonesia itself had been proposed by Mohammad Tabrani in 1926,[23] and Tabrani had additional proposed the time period over calling the language Malay language in the course of the First Youth Congress in 1926.[24]

Indonesian language (previous VOS spelling):
Jang dinamakan ‘Bahasa Indonesia’ jaitoe bahasa Melajoe jang soenggoehpoen pokoknja berasal dari ‘Melajoe Riaoe’ akan tetapi jang soedah ditambah, dioebah ataoe dikoerangi menoeroet keperloean zaman dan alam baharoe, hingga bahasa itoe laloe moedah dipakai oleh rakjat diseloeroeh Indonesia; pembaharoean bahasa Melajoe hingga menjadi bahasa Indonesia itoe haroes dilakoekan oleh kaoem ahli jang beralam baharoe, ialah alam kebangsaan Indonesia

Indonesian (fashionable EYD spelling):
Yang dinamakan ‘Bahasa Indonesia’ yaitu bahasa Melayu yang sungguhpun pokoknya berasal dari ‘Melayu Riau’ akan tetapi yang sudah ditambah, diubah atau dikurangi menurut keperluan zaman dan alam baru, hingga bahasa itu lalu mudah dipakai oleh rakyat di seluruh Indonesia; pembaharuan bahasa Melayu hingga menjadi bahasa Indonesia itu harus dilakukan oleh kaum ahli yang beralam baru, ialah alam kebangsaan Indonesia

“What is named as ‘Indonesian language’ is a true Malay language derived from ‘Riau Malay’ but which had been added, modified or subscribed according to the requirements of the new age and nature, until it was then used easily by people across Indonesia; the renewal of Malay language until it became Indonesian it had to be done by the experts of the new nature, the national nature of Indonesia”

— Ki Hajar Dewantara within the Congress of Indonesian Language I 1938, Solo[25][26]

Several years previous to the congress, Swiss linguist, Renward Brandstetter wrote An Introduction to Indonesian Linguistics in 4 essays from 1910 to 1915. The essays was translated into English in 1916. By Indonesia, he meant the title of the geographical area, and Indonesian languages are the languages within the area, as a result of by that point there have been nonetheless no notion of Indonesian language.

Adoption as nationwide language[edit]

The Youth Pledge was the results of the Second Youth Congress held in Batavia in October 1928. On the final pledge, there was an affirmation of Indonesian language as a unifying language all through the archipelago.

The adoption of Indonesian because the nation’s nationwide language was in distinction to most different post-colonial states. Neither the language with probably the most native audio system (Javanese) nor the language of the previous European colonial energy (Dutch) was to be adopted. Instead, a neighborhood language with far fewer native audio system than probably the most extensively spoken native language was chosen (nonetheless, Malay was the second most generally spoken language within the colony after Javanese, and had many L2 audio system utilizing it for commerce, administration, and training).

In 1945, when Indonesia declared its independence, Indonesian was formally declared the nationwide language,[3] regardless of being the native language of solely about 5% of the inhabitants. In distinction, Javanese and Sundanese had been the mom tongues of 42–48% and 15% respectively.[27] The mixture of nationalistic, political, and sensible issues finally led to the profitable adoption of Indonesian as a nationwide language.
In 1945, Javanese was simply probably the most distinguished language in Indonesia. It was the native language of almost half the inhabitants, the first language of politics and economics, and the language of courtly, non secular, and literary custom.[20] What it lacked, nonetheless, was the power to unite the varied Indonesian inhabitants as an entire. With 1000’s of islands and a whole lot of various languages, the newly unbiased nation of Indonesia needed to discover a nationwide language that would realistically be spoken by nearly all of the inhabitants and that may not divide the nation by favouring one ethnic group, particularly the Javanese, over the others. In 1945, Indonesian was already in widespread use;[27] the truth is, it had been for roughly a thousand years. Over that lengthy interval, Malay, which might later grow to be standardized as Indonesian, was the first language of commerce and journey. It was additionally the language used for the propagation of Islam within the thirteenth to seventeenth centuries, in addition to the language of instruction utilized by Portuguese and Dutch missionaries making an attempt to transform the indigenous folks to Christianity.[20] The mixture of those elements meant that the language was already identified to a point by a lot of the inhabitants, and it might be extra simply adopted because the nationwide language than maybe every other. Moreover, it was the language of the sultanate of Brunei and of future Malaysia, on which some Indonesian nationalists had claims.

Over the primary 53 years of Indonesian independence, the nation’s first two presidents, Sukarno and Suharto consistently nurtured the sense of nationwide unity embodied by Indonesian, and the language stays an integral part of Indonesian id. Through a language planning program that made Indonesian the language of politics, training, and nation-building on the whole, Indonesian grew to become one of many few success tales of an indigenous language successfully overtaking that of a rustic’s colonisers to grow to be the de jure and de facto official language.[22] Today, Indonesian continues to operate because the language of nationwide id because the Congress of Indonesian Youth envisioned, and likewise serves because the language of training, literacy, modernization, and social mobility.[22] Despite nonetheless being a second language to most Indonesians, it’s unquestionably the language of the Indonesian nation as an entire, because it has had unrivalled success as a consider nation-building and the strengthening of Indonesian id.

Modern and colloquial Indonesian[edit]

Road-signs in an airport terminal

Indonesian language used on a Kopaja bus commercial

Bahasa Indonesia is spoken as a mom tongue and National Language. Over 200 million folks usually make use of the nationwide language, with various levels of proficiency. In a nation that boasts greater than 700 native languages and an enormous array of ethnic teams, it performs an essential unifying and cross-archipelagic position for the nation. Use of the nationwide language is plentiful within the media, authorities our bodies, colleges, universities, workplaces, amongst members of the upper-class or the Aristocracy and likewise in formal conditions, regardless of the 2010 census exhibiting solely 19.94% of over-five-year-olds converse primarily Indonesian at house.[28]

Standard Indonesian is utilized in books and newspapers and on tv/radio information broadcasts. The normal dialect, nonetheless, is never utilized in each day conversations, being confined principally to formal settings. While this can be a phenomenon widespread to most languages on this planet (for instance, spoken English doesn’t at all times correspond to its written requirements), the proximity of spoken Indonesian (when it comes to grammar and vocabulary) to its normative type is noticeably low. This is generally resulting from Indonesians combining features of their very own native languages (e.g., Javanese, Sundanese, and Balinese) with Indonesian. This ends in varied vernacular forms of Indonesian, the very sorts {that a} foreigner is almost certainly to listen to upon arriving in any Indonesian metropolis or city.[29] This phenomenon is amplified by way of Indonesian slang, significantly within the cities. Unlike the comparatively uniform normal selection, Vernacular Indonesian displays a excessive diploma of geographical variation, although Colloquial Jakartan Indonesian capabilities because the de facto norm of casual language and is a well-liked supply of affect all through the archipelago.[9]

The commonest and extensively used colloquial Indonesian is closely influenced by the Betawi language, a Malay-based creole of Jakarta, amplified by its reputation in Indonesian common tradition in mass media and Jakarta’s standing because the nationwide capital. In casual spoken Indonesian, varied phrases are changed with these of a much less formal nature. For instance, tidak (no) is commonly changed with the Betawi type nggak or the even easier gak/ga, whereas seperti (like, just like) is commonly changed with kayak [kajaʔ]. Sangat or amat (very), the time period to precise depth, is commonly being changed with the Javanese-influenced banget.

As for pronunciation, the diphthongs ai and au on the tip of base phrases are usually pronounced as /e/ and /o/. In casual writing, the spelling of phrases is modified to replicate the precise pronunciation in a manner that may be produced with much less effort. For instance, capai turns into cape or capek, pakai turns into pake, kalau turns into kalo.

In verbs, the prefix me- is commonly dropped, though an preliminary nasal consonant is commonly retained, as when mengangkat turns into ngangkat (the fundamental phrase is angkat). The suffixes -kan and -i are sometimes changed by -in. For instance, mencarikan turns into nyariin, menuruti turns into nurutin. The latter grammatical facet is one typically carefully associated to the Indonesian spoken in Jakarta and its surrounding areas.

Classification and associated languages[edit]

Indonesian is likely one of the many types of Malay. Malay historic linguists agree on the probability of the Malay homeland being in western Borneo stretching to the Bruneian coast.[30] A type often known as Proto-Malay language was spoken in Borneo at the least by 1000 BCE and was, it has been argued, the ancestral language of all subsequent Malayan languages. Its ancestor, Proto-Malayo-Polynesian, a descendant of the Proto-Austronesian language, started to interrupt up by at the least 2000 BCE, probably on account of the southward enlargement of Austronesian peoples into Maritime Southeast Asia from the island of Taiwan.[31] Indonesian, which originated from Malay, is a member of the Austronesian household of languages, which incorporates languages from Southeast Asia, the Pacific Ocean and Madagascar, with a smaller quantity in continental Asia. It has a level of mutual intelligibility with the Malaysian normal of Malay, which is formally identified there as Bahasa Malaysia, regardless of the quite a few lexical variations.[32] However, vernacular varieties spoken in Indonesia and Malaysia share restricted intelligibility, which is evidenced by the truth that Malaysians have difficulties understanding Indonesian sinetron (cleaning soap opera) aired on Malaysia TV stations, and vice versa.[33]

Malagasy, a geographic outlier spoken in Madagascar within the Indian Ocean; the Philippines nationwide language, Filipino; Formosan in Taiwan’s aboriginal inhabitants; and the native language of New Zealanders, Māori language are additionally members of this language household. Although every language of the household is mutually unintelligible, their similarities are reasonably hanging. Many roots have come just about unchanged from their widespread ancestor, Proto-Austronesian language. There are many cognates discovered within the languages’ phrases for kinship, well being, physique elements and customary animals. Numbers, particularly, present exceptional similarities.

Numbers in Austronesian languages
Language 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
PAN, c. 4000 BCE *isa *DuSa *telu *Sepat *lima *enem *pitu *walu *Siwa *puluq
Malay/Indonesian satu dua tiga empat lima enam tujuh lapan/delapan sembilan sepuluh
Amis cecay tusa tulu sepat lima enem pitu falu siwa pulu’
Sundanese hiji dua tilu opat lima genep tujuh dalapan salapan sapuluh
Tsou coni yuso tuyu sʉptʉ eimo nomʉ pitu voyu sio maskʉ
Tagalog isá dalawá tatló ápat limá ánim pitó waló siyám sampu
Ilocano maysá dua talló uppát limá inném pitó waló siam sangapúlo
Cebuano usá duhá tuló upat limá unom pitó waló siyám napulu
Chamorro maisa/håcha hugua tulu fatfat lima gunum fiti guålu sigua månot/fulu
Malagasy iray/isa roa telo efatra dimy enina fito valo sivy folo
Chăm sa dua tlau pak limy nam tajuh dalipan thalipan pluh
Batak sada dua tolu opat lima onom pitu walu sia sapuluh
Minangkabau ciek duo tigo ampek limo anam tujuah salapan sambilan sapuluah
Rejang[34] do duai tlau pat lêmo num tujuak dêlapên sêmbilan sêpuluak
Javanese siji loro telu papat lima nem pitu wolu sanga sepuluh
Tetun ida rua tolu hat lima nen hitu ualu sia sanulu
Biak eser/oser suru kyor fyak rim wonem fik battle siw samfur
Fijian dua rua tolu lima ono vitu walu ciwa tini
Kiribati teuana uoua teniua aua nimaua onoua itiua waniua ruaiua tebuina
Sāmoan tasi lua tolu lima ono fitu valu iva sefulu
Hawaiian kahi lua kolu lima ono hiku walu iwa -‘umi

However, Indonesian, as it’s identified at the moment, was borrowing loanwords from varied sources. Beside from native languages, equivalent to Javanese, Sundanese, and so on., Dutch made the very best contribution to the Indonesian vocabulary, as a result of Dutch’s colonization for over three centuries, from the sixteenth century till the mid-Twentieth century.[35][36]Asian languages additionally influenced the language, with Chinese influencing Indonesian in the course of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries as a result of spice commerce; Sanskrit, Tamil, Prakrit
and Hindi contributing in the course of the flourishing of Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms from the 2nd to the 14th century; adopted by Arabic after the unfold of Islam within the archipelago within the thirteenth century.[37] Loanwords from Portuguese had been primarily related with articles that the early European merchants and explorers dropped at Southeast Asia. Indonesian additionally receives many English phrases on account of globalization and modernization, particularly for the reason that Nineteen Nineties, so far as the Internet’s emergence and improvement till the current day.[38] Some Indonesian phrases correspond to Malay loanwords in English, amongst them the widespread phrases orangutan, gong, bamboo, rattan, sarong, and the much less widespread phrases equivalent to paddy, sago and kapok, all of which had been inherited in Indonesian from Malay however borrowed from Malay in English. The phrase “to run amok” comes from the Malay verb amuk (to run uncontrolled, to rage).[39][40][41][42]

Indonesian is neither a pidgin nor a creole since its traits don’t meet any of the standards for both. It is believed that the Indonesian language was one of many means to realize independence, however it’s opened to obtain vocabulary from different international languages other than Malay that it has made contact with for the reason that colonialism period, equivalent to Dutch, English and Arabic amongst others, because the loan phrases maintain growing annually.[43]

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Geographical distribution[edit]

In 2010, Indonesian had 42.8 million native audio system and 154.9 million second-language audio system,[1] who converse it alongside their native mom tongue, giving a complete variety of audio system in Indonesia of 197.7 million.[1] It is widespread as a primary language in city areas, and as a second language by these residing in additional rural elements of Indonesia.

The VOA and BBC use Indonesian as their normal for broadcasting in Malay.[44][45] In Australia, Indonesian is one in all three Asian goal languages, along with Japanese and Mandarin, taught in some colleges as a part of the Languages Other Than English programme.[46] Indonesian has been taught in Australian colleges and universities for the reason that Nineteen Fifties.[47]

In East Timor, which was occupied by Indonesia between 1975 and 1999, Indonesian is acknowledged by the structure as one of many two working languages (the opposite being English), alongside the official languages of Tetum and Portuguese.[2] It is known by the Malay folks of Australia’s Cocos Keeling Islands within the Indian Ocean, additionally in some elements of the Sulu space of the southern Philippines and traces of it are to be discovered amongst folks of Malay descent in Sri Lanka, South Africa, Suriname, and different locations.[8]

Official standing[edit]

Indonesian can also be the language of Indonesian mass media, equivalent to magazines. Printed and broadcast mass media are inspired to make use of normal Indonesian, though extra relaxed common slang typically prevails.

Indonesian is utilized in colleges.

Indonesian is the official language of Indonesia, and its utilization is inspired all through the Indonesian archipelago. It is regulated in Chapter XV, 1945 Constitution of Indonesia concerning the flag, official language, coat of arms, and nationwide anthem of Indonesia.[3] Also, in Chapter III, Section 25 to 45, Government regulation No. 24/ 2009 mentions explicitly the standing of the Indonesian language.[48]

The nationwide language is Indonesian.

Indonesian capabilities as an emblem of nationwide id and satisfaction, and is a lingua franca among the many various ethnic teams in Indonesia. The language serves because the nationwide and official language, the language of training, communication, transaction and commerce documentation, the event of nationwide tradition, science, expertise, and mass media. It additionally serves as a automobile of communication among the many provinces and completely different regional cultures within the nation.[48]

According to Indonesian regulation, the Indonesian language was proclaimed because the unifying language in the course of the Youth Pledge on 28 October 1928 and developed additional to accommodate the dynamics of Indonesian civilization.[48] As talked about beforehand, the language was based mostly on Riau Malay,[11][49] although linguists be aware that this isn’t the native dialect of Riau, however the Malaccan dialect that was used within the Riau courtroom.[14] Since its conception in 1928 and its official recognition within the 1945 Constitution, the Indonesian language has been loaded with a nationalist political agenda to unify Indonesia (former Dutch East Indies). This standing has made it comparatively open to accommodate influences from different Indonesian ethnic languages, most notably Javanese as the bulk ethnic group, and Dutch because the earlier coloniser. Compared to the indigenous dialects of Malay spoken in Sumatra and Malay peninsula or the normative Malaysian normal, the Indonesian language differs profoundly by a considerable amount of Javanese loanwords included into its already-rich vocabulary. As a consequence, Indonesian has extra in depth sources of loanwords, in comparison with Malaysian Malay. It is usually mentioned that the Indonesian language is a man-made language, that means that it was designed by teachers reasonably than evolving naturally as commonest languages have,[50] with a view to accommodate the political function of creating an official and unifying language of Indonesia. By borrowing closely from quite a few different languages, it expresses a pure linguistic evolution; the truth is, it’s as pure as the subsequent language, as demonstrated in its distinctive capability for absorbing international vocabulary.[50]

The disparate evolution of Indonesian and Malaysian has led to a rift between the 2 standardized varieties. This has been based mostly extra upon political nuance and the historical past of their standardization than cultural causes, and in consequence, there are asymmetrical views concerning one another’s selection amongst Malaysians and Indonesians. Malaysians have a tendency to say that Malaysian and Indonesian are merely completely different normative forms of the identical language, whereas Indonesians are likely to deal with them as separate, albeit carefully associated, languages. Consequently, Indonesians really feel little have to harmonise their language with Malaysia and Brunei, whereas Malaysians are keener to coordinate the evolution of the language with Indonesians,[51] though the 1972 Indonesian alphabet reform was seen primarily as a concession of Dutch-based Indonesian to the English-based spelling of Malaysian.



It is often mentioned that there are six vowels in Indonesian.[52] These six vowels are proven within the desk beneath. However, different analyses arrange a system with different vowels, significantly the open-mid vowels /ɛ/ and /ɔ/.[53]

In normal Indonesian orthography, the Latin alphabet is used, and 5 vowels are distinguished: a, i, u, e, o. In supplies for learners, the mid-front vowel /e/ is usually represented with a diacritic as é to tell apart it from the mid-central vowel /ə/.


Indonesian has 4 diphthong phonemes solely in open syllables.[54] They are:

  • /ai̯/: kedai (‘store’), pandai (‘intelligent’)
  • /au̯/: kerbau (‘buffalo’), limau (‘lemon’)
  • /oi̯/ (or /ʊi̯/ in Indonesian): dodoi, amboi
  • /ei̯/: survei (‘survey’)

Some analyses assume that these diphthongs are literally a monophthong adopted by an approximant, so ⟨ai⟩ represents /aj/, ⟨au⟩ represents /aw/, and ⟨oi⟩ represents /oj/. On this foundation, there are not any phonological diphthongs in Indonesian.[55]

Diphthongs are differentiated from two vowels in two syllables, equivalent to:

  • /a.i/: e.g. lain (‘different’) [], air (‘water’) []
  • /a.u/: bau (‘scent’) [ba.u], laut (‘sea’) [la.ut]


The consonants of Indonesian are proven above.[52][56] Non-native consonants that solely happen in borrowed phrases, principally from Arabic and English, are proven in parentheses. Some analyses record 19 “primary consonants” for Indonesian because the 18 symbols that aren’t in parentheses within the desk in addition to the glottal cease [ʔ]. The secondary consonants /f/, /v/, /z/, /ʃ/ and /x/ solely seem in loanwords. Some audio system pronounce /v/ in loanwords as [v], in any other case it’s [f]. Likewise /x/ could also be changed with [h] or [k] by some audio system. /ʃ/ is usually changed with /s/ and was historically used as an alternative to /ʃ/ in older borrowings from Sanskrit and /f/ is never changed although /p/ was substituted for /f/ in older borrowings equivalent to kopi “coffee” from Dutch koffie. /z/ might often get replaced with /s/ or /d͡ʒ/. [z] may also be an allophone of /s/ earlier than voiced consonants.[57][58]

Orthographic be aware:

The sounds are represented orthographically by their symbols as above, besides:

  • /ɲ/ is written ⟨ny⟩ earlier than a vowel, ⟨n⟩ earlier than ⟨c⟩ and ⟨j⟩.
  • /ŋ/ is written ⟨ng⟩.
  • The glottal cease [ʔ] is written as a closing ⟨ok⟩, an apostrophe ⟨’⟩ (the use ⟨ok⟩ from its being an allophone of /ok/ or /ɡ/ within the syllable coda), or it may be unwritten.
  • /tʃ/ is written ⟨c⟩.
  • /dʒ/ is written ⟨j⟩.
  • /ʃ/ is written ⟨sy⟩.
  • /x/ is written ⟨kh⟩.
  • /j/ is written ⟨y⟩.


Indonesian has mild stress that falls on both the ultimate or penultimate syllable, relying on regional variations in addition to the presence of the schwa (/ə/) in a phrase. It is usually the penultimate syllable that’s confused, except its vowel is a schwa /ə/. If the penult has a schwa, then stress strikes to the ante-penultimate syllable if there’s one, even when that syllable has a schwa as effectively; if the phrase is disyllabic, the stress is closing. In disyllabic stress with a closed penultimate syllable, equivalent to tinggal (‘keep’) and rantai (‘chain’), stress falls on the penult.

However, there’s some disagreement amongst linguists over whether or not stress is phonemic (unpredictable), with some analyses suggesting that there isn’t a underlying stress in Indonesian.[56][59][60]


The classification of languages based mostly on rhythm may be problematic.[61] Nevertheless, acoustic measurements counsel that Indonesian has extra syllable-based rhythm than British English,[62] though doubts stay about whether or not the syllable is the suitable unit for the research of Malay prosody.[59]


Word order in Indonesian is usually subject-verb-object (SVO), just like that of most fashionable European languages, equivalent to English. However appreciable flexibility in phrase ordering exists, in distinction with languages equivalent to Japanese or Korean, as an example, which at all times finish clauses with verbs. Indonesian, whereas permitting for comparatively versatile phrase orderings, doesn’t mark for grammatical case, nor does it make use of grammatical gender.


Indonesian phrases are composed of a root or a root plus derivational affixes. The root is the first lexical unit of a phrase and is often bisyllabic, of the form CV(C)CV(C). Affixes are “glued” onto roots (that are both nouns or verbs) to change or broaden the first that means related to a given root, successfully producing new phrases, for instance, masak (to prepare dinner) might grow to be memasak (cooking), memasakkan (cooks for), dimasak (is cooked), pemasak (a prepare dinner), masakan (a meal, cookery), termasak (by accident cooked). There are 4 sorts of affixes: prefixes (awalan), suffixes (akhiran), circumfixes (apitan) and infixes (sisipan). Affixes are categorized into noun, verb, and adjective affixes. Many preliminary consonants alternate within the presence of prefixes: sapu (to comb) turns into menyapu (sweeps/sweeping); panggil (to name) turns into memanggil (calls/calling), tapis (to sieve) turns into menapis (sieves).

Other examples of the usage of affixes to alter the that means of a phrase may be seen with the phrase ajar (educate):

  • ajar = educate
  • ajaran = teachings
  • belajar = to be taught
  • mengajar = to show (intransitive)
  • mengajarkan = to show (transitive)
  • diajar = to be taught (intransitive)
  • diajarkan = to be taught (transitive)
  • mempelajari = to review
  • dipelajari = to be studied
  • pelajar = student
  • pengajar = instructor
  • pelajaran = topic, training
  • pengajaran = lesson
  • pembelajaran = studying
  • terajar = taught (by accident)
  • terpelajar = well-educated, actually “been taught”
  • berpelajaran = is educated, actually “has education”

Noun affixes[edit]

Noun affixes are affixes that type nouns upon addition to root phrases. The following are examples of noun affixes:

Type of noun affixes Affix Example of root phrase Example of derived phrase
Prefix pə(r)- ~ pəng- duduk (sit) penduduk (inhabitants)
kə- hendak (need) kehendak (want)
Infix ⟨əl⟩ tunjuk (level) telunjuk (index finger, command)
⟨əm⟩ kelut (dishevelled) okemelut (chaos, disaster)
⟨ər⟩ gigi (enamel) gerigi (toothed blade)
Suffix -an bangun (get up, increase) bangunan (constructing)
Circumfix kə-…-an raja (king) kerajaan (kingdom)
kerja (work) pekerjaan (occupation)

The prefix per- drops its r earlier than r, l and ceaselessly earlier than p, t, ok. In some phrases it’s peng-; although formally distinct, these are handled as variants of the identical prefix in Indonesian grammar books.

Verb affixes[edit]

Similarly, verb affixes in Indonesian are hooked up to root phrases to type verbs. In Indonesian, there are:

Type of verb affixes Affix Example of root phrase Example of derived phrase
Prefix bər- ajar (educate) belajar (to review)[63]
məng- tolong (assist) menolong (to assist)
di- ambil (take) diambil (be taken)
məmpər- panjang (size) memperpanjang (to elongate)
dipər- dalam (deep) diperdalam (be deepened)
tər- makan (eat) termakan (to have by accident eaten)
Suffix -kan letak (place, maintain) letakkan (maintain, put)
-i jauh (far) jauhi (keep away from)
Circumfix bər-…-an pasang (pair) berpasangan (in pairs)
bər-…-kan dasar (base) berdasarkan (based mostly on)
məng-…-kan pasti (positive) memastikan (to ensure)
məng-…-i teman (firm) menemani (to accompany)
məmpər-…-kan guna (use) mempergunakan (to utilise, to use)
məmpər-…-i ajar (educate) mempelajari (to review)
kə-…-an hilang (disappear) kehilangan (to lose)
di-…-i sakit (ache) disakiti (to be harm by)
di-…-kan benar (proper) dibenarkan (is allowed to)
dipər-…-kan kenal (know, recognise) diperkenalkan (is being launched)

Adjective affixes[edit]

Adjective affixes are hooked up to root phrases to type adjectives:

Type of adjective affixes Affix Example of root phrase Example of derived phrase
Prefix tər- kenal (know) terkenal (well-known)
sə- lari (run) selari (parallel)
Infix ⟨əl⟩ serak (disperse) selerak (messy)
⟨əm⟩ cerlang (radiant shiny) cemerlang (shiny, glorious)
⟨ər⟩ sabut (husk) serabut (dishevelled)
Circumfix kə-…-an barat (west) kebaratan (westernized)

In addition to those affixes, Indonesian additionally has numerous borrowed affixes from different languages equivalent to Sanskrit, Arabic and English. For instance, maha-, pasca-, eka-, bi-, anti-, pro- and so on.


Common derivational affixes for nouns are peng-/per-/juru- (actor, instrument, or somebody characterised by the foundation), -an (collectivity, similarity, object, place, instrument), ke-…-an (abstractions and qualities, collectivities), per-/peng-…-an (abstraction, place, purpose or consequence).


Indonesian doesn’t make use of grammatical gender, and there are solely chosen phrases that use pure gender. For occasion, the identical phrase is used for he/him and she/her (dia or ia) or for his and her (dia, ia or -nya). No actual distinction is made between “girlfriend” and “boyfriend”, each pacar (though extra colloquial phrases as cewek lady/girlfriend and cowok boy/boyfriend may also be discovered). A majority of Indonesian phrases that confer with folks usually have a type that doesn’t distinguish between the sexes. However, not like English, distinction is made between older or youthful.

There are some phrases which have gender: as an example, putri means “daughter” whereas putra means “son”; pramugara means “male flight attendant” whereas pramugari means “female flight attendant”. Another instance is olahragawan, which implies “sportsman”, versus olahragawati, that means “sportswoman”. Often, phrases like these (or sure suffixes equivalent to “-a” and “-i” or “-wan” and “wati”) are absorbed from different languages (in these circumstances, from Sanskrit by the Old Javanese language).
In some areas of Indonesia equivalent to Sumatra and Jakarta, abang (a gender-specific time period that means “older brother”) is usually used as a type of tackle for older siblings/males, whereas kakak (a non-gender particular time period that means “older sibling”) is commonly used to imply “older sister”. Similarly, extra direct influences from different languages, equivalent to Javanese and Chinese, have additionally seen additional use of different gendered phrases in Indonesian. For instance: Mas (“older brother”), Mbak (“older sister”), Koko (“older brother”) and Cici (“older sister”).


Indonesian grammar doesn’t usually mark plurals. In Indonesian, to alter a singular right into a plural one both repeats the phrase or provides para earlier than it (the latter for dwelling issues solely); for instance, “students” may be both murid-murid or para murid. Plurals are not often utilized in Indonesian, particularly in casual parlance. Reduplication is commonly talked about because the formal technique to categorical the plural type of nouns in Indonesian; nonetheless, in casual each day discourse, audio system of Indonesian often use different strategies to point the idea of one thing being “more than one”. Reduplication can also point out the situations of selection and variety as effectively, and never merely plurality.

Reduplication is usually used to stress plurality; nonetheless, reduplication has many different capabilities. For instance, orang-orang means “(all the) people”, however orang-orangan means “scarecrow”. Similarly, whereas hati means “heart” or “liver”, hati-hati is a verb that means “to be careful”. Also, not all reduplicated phrases are inherently plural, equivalent to orang-orangan “scarecrow/scarecrows”, biri-biri “a/some sheep” and kupu-kupu “butterfly/butterflies”. Some reduplication is rhyming reasonably than precise, as in sayur-mayur “(all sorts of) vegetables”.

Distributive affixes derive mass nouns which are successfully plural: pohon “tree”, pepohonan “flora, trees”; rumah “house”, perumahan “housing, houses”; gunung “mountain”, pegunungan “mountain range, mountains”.

Quantity phrases come earlier than the noun: seribu orang “a thousand people”, beberapa pegunungan “a series of mountain ranges”, beberapa kupu-kupu “some butterflies”.

Plural in Indonesian serves simply to explicitly point out the variety of objects in sentence. For instance, Ani membeli satu kilo mangga (Ani buys one kilogram of mangoes). In this case, “mangoes”, which is plural, will not be mentioned as mangga-mangga as a result of the plurality is implicit: the quantity a kilogram means a couple of mango. So, as it’s logically, one doesn’t change the singular into the plural type, as a result of it’s not vital and thought of a pleonasm (in Indonesian typically known as pemborosan kata).


Personal pronouns will not be a separate a part of speech, however a subset of nouns. They are ceaselessly omitted, and there are quite a few methods to say “you”. Commonly the individual’s title, title, title with title, or occupation is used (“does Johnny want to go?”, “would Madam like to go?”); kin phrases, together with fictive kinship, are extraordinarily widespread. However, there are additionally devoted private pronouns, in addition to the demonstrative pronouns ini “this, the” and itu “that, the”.

Personal pronouns[edit]

From the angle of a European language, Indonesian boasts a variety of various pronouns, particularly to confer with the addressee (the so-called second individual pronouns). These are used to distinguish a number of parameters of the individual they’re referred to, such because the social rank and the connection between the addressee and the speaker. Indonesian additionally displays pronoun avoidance, typically preferring kinship phrases and titles over pronouns, significantly for respectful types of tackle.

The desk beneath gives an outline of probably the most generally and extensively used pronouns within the Indonesian language:

Common pronouns
Person Respect Singular Plural
1st individual unique Informal, Familiar aku I kami we
(s/he,they, not you)
Standard, Polite saya
1st individual inclusive All kita we
(s/he,they, and also you)
2nd individual Familiar kamu, engkau, kau you kalian you all
Polite anda anda sekalian
third individual Familiar dia, ia s/he, it mereka they
Polite beliau s/he

Notable among the many personal-pronoun system is a distinction between two types of “we”: kita (you and me, you and us) and kami (us, however not you). The distinction will not be at all times adopted in colloquial Indonesian.

Saya and aku are the 2 main types of “I”. Saya is the extra formal type, whereas aku is used with household, mates, and between lovers. Sahaya is an previous or literary type of saya. Sa(ha)ya can also be used for “we”, however in such circumstances it’s often used with sekalian or semua “all”; this way is ambiguous as as to if it corresponds with inclusive kami or unique kita. Less widespread are hamba “slave”, hamba tuan, hamba datuk (all extraordinarily humble), beta (a royal addressing oneselves), patik (a commoner addressing a royal), kami (royal or editorial “we”), kita, təman, and kawan.

There are three widespread types of “you”, Anda (well mannered), kamu (acquainted), and kalian “all” (generally used as a plural type of you, barely casual). Anda is used with strangers, latest acquaintances, in ads, in enterprise, and while you want to present distance, whereas kamu is utilized in conditions the place the speaker would use aku for “I”. Anda sekalian is well mannered plural. Particularly in dialog, respectful titles like Bapak/Pak “father” (used for any older male), Ibu/Bu “mother” (any older lady), and tuan “sir” are sometimes used as a substitute of pronouns.[64][better source needed]

Engkau (əngkau), generally shortened to kau.

The widespread phrase for “s/he” and “they” is ia, which has the thing and emphatic/centered type dia. Bəliau “his/her Honour” is respectful. As with “you”, names and kin phrases are extraordinarily widespread. Mereka “someone”, mereka itu, or orang itu “those people” are used for “they”.

There are a lot of different phrases for “I” and “you”, many regional, dialectical, or borrowed from native languages. Saudara “you” (male) and saudari (feminine) (plural saudara-saudara or saudari-saudari) present utmost respect. Daku “I” and dikau “you” are poetic or romantic. Indonesian gua “I” (from Hokkien Chinese: ; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: góa) and lu “you” (Chinese: ; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ) are slang and intensely casual.

The pronouns aku, kamu, engkau, ia, kami, and kita are indigenous to Indonesian.

Possessive pronouns[edit]

Aku, kamu, engkau, and ia have quick possessive enclitic kinds. All others retain their full kinds like different nouns, as does emphatic dia: meja saya, meja kita, meja anda, meja dia “my table, our table, your table, his/her table”.

Possessed types of meja “table”
Pronoun Enclitic Possessed type
aku -ku mejaku (my desk)
kamu -mu mejamu (your desk)
ia -nya mejanya (his, her, their desk)

There are additionally proclitic types of aku, ku- and kau-. These are used when there isn’t a emphasis on the pronoun:

Ku-dengar raja itu menderita penyakit kulit. Aku mengetahui ilmu kedokteran. Aku-lah yang akan mengobati dia.
“It has come to my attention that the King has a skin disease. I am skilled in medicine. I will cure him.”

Here ku-verb is used for a normal report, aku verb is used for a factual assertion, and emphatic aku-lah meng-verb (≈ “I am the one who…”) for deal with the pronoun.[65]

Demonstrative pronouns[edit]

There are two demonstrative pronouns in Indonesian. Ini “this, these” is used for a noun which is usually close to to the speaker. Itu “that, those” is used for a noun which is usually removed from the speaker. Either might generally be equal to English “the”. There is not any distinction between singular and plural. However, plural may be indicated by duplication of a noun adopted by a ini or itu. The phrase yang “which” is commonly positioned earlier than demonstrative pronouns to provide emphasis and a way of certainty, significantly when making references or enquiries about one thing/ somebody, like English “this one” or “that one”.

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Pronoun Indonesian English
ini buku ini This guide, these books, the guide(s)
buku-buku ini These books, (all) the books
itu kucing itu That cat, these cats, the cat(s)
kucing-kucing itu Those cats, the (varied) cats
Pronoun + yang Example sentence English that means
Yang ini Q: Anda mau membeli buku yang mana?

A: Saya mau yang ini.

Q: Which guide do you want to buy?

A: I would love this one.

Yang itu Q: Kucing mana yang memakan tikusmu?

A: Yang itu!

Q: Which cat ate your mouse?

A: That one!


Verbs will not be inflected for individual or quantity, and they aren’t marked for tense; tense is as a substitute denoted by time adverbs (equivalent to “yesterday”) or by different tense indicators, equivalent to sudah “already” and belum “not yet”. On the opposite hand, there’s a complicated system of verb affixes to render nuances of that means and to indicate voice or intentional and unintentional moods. Some of those affixes are ignored in colloquial speech.

Examples of those are the prefixes di- (affected person focus, historically known as
“passive voice”, with OVA phrase order within the third individual, and OAV within the first or second individuals), meng- (agent focus, historically known as
“active voice”, with AVO phrase order), memper- and diper- (causative, agent and affected person focus), ber- (stative or recurring; intransitive VS order), and ter- (agentless actions, equivalent to these that are involuntary, sudden, stative or unintentional, for VA = VO order); the suffixes -kan (causative or benefactive) and -i (locative, repetitive, or exhaustive); and the circumfixes ber-…-an (plural topic, diffuse motion) and ke-…-an (unintentional or potential motion or state).

  • duduk to take a seat down
  • mendudukkan to take a seat somebody down, give somebody a seat, to nominate
  • menduduki to take a seat on, to occupy
  • didudukkan to be given a seat, to be appointed
  • diduduki to be sat on, to be occupied
  • terduduk to sink down, to come back to take a seat
  • kedudukan to be located

Forms in ter- and ke-…-an are sometimes equal to adjectives in English.


Four phrases are used for negation in Indonesian, particularly tidak, bukan, jangan, and belum.

  • Tidak (not), typically shortened to tak, is used for the negation of verbs and “adjectives”.
  • Bukan (be-not) is used within the negation of a noun.

For instance:

Indonesian Gloss English
Saya tidak tahu (Saya tak tahu) I not know I do not know
Ibu saya tidak senang (Ibu saya tak senang) mom I not be-happy My mom is not pleased
Itu bukan anjing saya that be-not canine I That will not be my canine


For negating imperatives or advising towards sure actions in Indonesian, the phrase jangan (don’t) is used earlier than the verb. For instance,

  • Jangan tinggalkan saya di sini!
Don’t depart me right here!
Don’t try this!
  • Jangan! Itu tidak bagus untukmu.
Don’t! That’s not good for you.


There are grammatical adjectives in Indonesian. Stative verbs are sometimes used for this function as effectively. Adjectives are at all times positioned after the noun that they modify. Hence, “rumah saya” means “my house”, whereas “saya rumah” means “I am a house”.

Indonesian Gloss English
Hutan hijau forest inexperienced (The) inexperienced forest.
Hutan itu hijau forest that inexperienced That/the forest is inexperienced.
Kəreta yang merah carriage which (is) crimson. (The) carriage which is crimson = the crimson carriage.
Kəreta merah carriage crimson. Red carriage.
Dia orang yang terkenal sekali he/she individual which be-famous very He/she is a really well-known individual
Orang terkenal individual well-known. Famous individual.
Orang ini terkenal sekali individual this be-famous very This individual may be very well-known

To say that one thing “is” an adjective, the determiners “itu” and “ini” (“that” and “this”) are sometimes used. For instance, within the sentence “anjing itu galak”, the usage of “itu” provides a that means of “the/that dog is ferocious”, whereas “anjing ini galak”, provides a that means of “this dog is ferocious”. However, if “itu” or “ini” weren’t for use, then “anjing galak” would that means solely “ferocious dog”, a plain adjective with none stative implications. The all-purpose determiner, “yang”, can also be typically used earlier than adjectives, therefore “anjing yang galak” additionally means “ferocious dog” or extra actually “dog which is ferocious”; “yang” will typically be used for readability. Hence, in a sentence equivalent to “saya didekati oleh anjing galak” which implies “I was approached by a ferocious dog”, the usage of the adjective “galak” will not be stative in any respect.

Often the “ber-” intransitive verb prefix, or the “ter-” stative prefix is used to precise the that means of “to be…”. For instance, “beda” means “different”, therefore “berbeda” means “to be different”; “awan” means “cloud”, therefore “berawan” means “cloudy”. Using the “ter-” prefix, implies a state of being. For instance, “buka” means “open”, therefore “terbuka” means “is opened”; “tutup” means “closed/shut”, therefore “tertutup” means “is closed/shut”.

Word order[edit]

Adjectives, demonstrative determiners, and possessive determiners observe the noun they modify.

Indonesian doesn’t have a grammatical topic within the sense that English does. In intransitive clauses, the noun comes earlier than the verb. When there’s each an agent and an object, these are separated by the verb (OVA or AVO), with the distinction encoded within the voice of the verb. OVA, generally however inaccurately known as “passive”, is the fundamental and commonest phrase order.

Either the agent or object or each could also be omitted. This is usually completed to perform one in all two issues:

1) Adding a way of politeness and respect to an announcement or query

For instance, a well mannered store assistant in a retailer might keep away from the usage of pronouns altogether and ask:

Ellipses of pronoun (agent & object) Literal English Idiomatic English
Bisa dibantu? Can + to be helped? Can (I) assist (you)?
2) Agent or object is unknown, not essential, or understood from context

For instance, a good friend might enquire as to while you purchased your property, to which you will reply:

Ellipses of pronoun (understood agent) Literal English Idiomatic English
Rumah ini dibeli lima tahun yang lalu House this + be bought five-year(s) in the past The home ‘was bought’ 5 years in the past

Ultimately, the selection of voice and subsequently phrase order is a alternative between actor and affected person and relies upon fairly closely on the language model and context.


Word order is ceaselessly modified for focus or emphasis, with the centered phrase often positioned firstly of the clause and adopted by a slight pause (a break in intonation):

  • Saya pergi ke pasar kemarin “I went to the market yesterday” – impartial, or with deal with the topic.
  • Kemarin saya pergi ke pasar “Yesterday I went to the market” – emphasis on yesterday.
  • Ke pasar saya pergi, kemarin “To the market I went yesterday” – emphasis on the place I went yesterday.
  • Pergi ke pasar, saya, kemarin “To the market went I yesterday” – emphasis on the method of going to the market.

The final two usually tend to be encountered in speech than in writing.

Measure phrases[edit]

Another distinguishing characteristic of Indonesian is its use of measure phrases, additionally known as classifiers (kata penggolong). In this manner, it’s just like many different languages of Asia, together with Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Burmese, and Bengali.

Measure phrases are additionally present in English equivalent to two head of cattle, a loaf of bread, or this sheet of paper, the place *two cattle, a bread, and this paper (within the sense of this piece of paper) could be ungrammatical. The phrase satu reduces to se- /sə/, because it does in different compounds:

Measure phrase Used for measuring Literal translation Example
buah issues (on the whole), massive issues, summary nouns
homes, automobiles, ships, mountains; books, rivers, chairs, some fruits, ideas, and so on.
‘fruit’ dua buah meja (two tables), lima buah rumah (5 homes)
ekor animals ‘tail’ seekor ayam (a hen), tiga ekor kambing (three goats)
orang human beings ‘individual’ seorang laki-laki (a person), enam orang petani (six farmers), seratus orang murid (100 students)
biji smaller rounded objects
most fruits, cups, nuts
‘grain’ sebiji/ sebutir telur (an egg), sebutir/ butiran-butiran beras (rice or rices)
batang lengthy stiff issues
bushes, strolling sticks, pencils
‘trunk, rod’ sebatang tongkat (a stick)
həlai issues in skinny layers or sheets
paper, material, feathers, hair
‘leaf’ sepuluh helai pakaian (ten cloths)
kəping keping flat fragments slabs of stone, items of wooden, items of bread, land, cash, paper ‘chip’ sekeping uang logam (a coin)
pucuk letters, firearms, needles ‘sprout’ sepucuk senjata (a weapon)
bilah issues which lower lengthwise and thicker ‘blade’ sebilah kayu (a chunk of wooden)
bidanɡ issues which may be measured with quantity ‘area’ sebidang tanah/lahan (an space)
potong bread ‘lower’ sepotong roti (slices of bread)
utas nets, cords, ribbons ‘thread’ seutas tali (a rope)
carik issues simply torn, like paper ‘shred’ secarik kertas (a chunk of paper)

Measure phrases will not be vital simply to say “a”: burung “a bird, birds”. Using se- plus a measure phrase is nearer to English “one” or “a certain”:

Ada seekor burung yang bisa berbicara
“There was a (certain) bird that could talk”

Writing system[edit]

Indonesian is written with the Latin script. It was initially based mostly on the Dutch spelling and nonetheless bears some similarities to it. Consonants are represented in a manner just like Italian, though ⟨c⟩ is at all times /tʃ/ (like English ⟨ch⟩), ⟨g⟩ is at all times /ɡ/ (“hard”) and ⟨j⟩ represents /dʒ/ because it does in English. In addition, ⟨ny⟩ represents the palatal nasal /ɲ/, ⟨ng⟩ is used for the velar nasal /ŋ/ (which might happen word-initially), ⟨sy⟩ for /ʃ/ (English ⟨sh⟩) and ⟨kh⟩ for the unvoiced velar fricative /x/. Both /e/ and /ə/ are represented with ⟨e⟩.

Spelling adjustments within the language which have occurred since Indonesian independence embody:

Phoneme Obsolete
/u/ oe u
/tʃ/ tj c
/dʒ/ dj j
/j/ j y
/ɲ/ nj ny
/ʃ/ sj sy
/x/ ch kh

Introduced in 1901, the van Ophuijsen system, (named from the advisor of the system, Charles Adriaan van Ophuijsen) was the primary standardization of romanized spelling. It was most affected by the then present Dutch spelling system. In 1947, the spelling was turned into Republican Spelling or Soewandi Spelling (named by on the time Minister of Education, Soewandi). This spelling modified previously spelled oe into u (nonetheless, the spelling influenced different features in orthography, for instance writing reduplicated phrases). All of the opposite adjustments had been part of the Perfected Spelling System, an formally mandated spelling reform in 1972. Some of the previous spellings (which had been derived from Dutch orthography) do survive in correct names; for instance, the title of a former president of Indonesia continues to be generally written Soeharto, and the central Java metropolis of Yogyakarta is usually written Jogjakarta. In time, the spelling system is additional up to date and the newest replace of Indonesian spelling system issued on 26 November 2015 by Minister of Education and Culture decree No 50/2015.

Letter names and pronunciations[edit]

The Indonesian alphabet is precisely the identical as in ISO fundamental Latin alphabet.

Indonesian follows the letter names of the Dutch alphabet. Indonesian alphabet has a phonemic orthography; phrases are spelled the way in which they’re pronounced, with few exceptions. The letters Q, V and X are not often encountered, being mainly used for writing loanwords.

Letter Name (in IPA) Sound (in IPA) English equal
Aa a (/a/) /a/ a as in father
Bb be (/be/) /b/ b as in bed
Cc ce (/t͡ʃe/) /t͡ʃ/ ch as in check
Dd de (/de/) /d/ d as in day
Ee e (/e/) /e/ e as in red
Ff ef (/ef/) /f/ f as in effort
Gg ge (/ge/) /ɡ/ g as in gain
Hh ha (/ha/) /h/ h as in harm
Ii i (/i/) /i/ ee as in see
Jj je (/d͡ʒe/) /d͡ʒ/ j as in jam
Kk ka (/ka/) /ok/ ok as in sokate
Ll el (/el/) /l/ l as in let
Mm em (/em/) /m/ m as in mall
Nn en (/en/) /n/ n as in net
Oo o (/o/) /o/ o as in owe
Pp pe (/pe/) /p/ p as in speak
Qq qi or qiu (/ki/ or /kiu̯/) /ok/ q as in queen
Rr er (/er/) /r/ Spanish rr as in puerro
Ss es (/es/) /s/ s as in sun
Tt te (/te/) /t/ unaspirated t as in stailing
Uu u (/u/) /u/ oo as in pool
Vv ve (/ve/ or /fe/) /v/ or /f/ v as in van
Ww we (/we/) /w/ w as in wet
Xx ex (/eks/) /ks/ or /s/ x as in box
Yy ye (/je/) /j/ y as in yarn
Zz zet (/zet/) /z/ z as in zebra

In addition, there are digraphs that aren’t thought of separate letters of the alphabet:[66]

Digraph Sound English equal
ai /aɪ/ uy as in buy
au /aʊ/ ou as in ouch
oi /oɪ/ oy as in boy
ei /eɪ/ ey as in survey
gh /ɣ/ or /x/ just like Dutch and German ch, however voiced
kh /x/ ch as in loch
ng /ŋ/ ng as in sing
ny /ɲ/ Spanish ñ; just like ny as in canyon with a nasal sound
sy /ʃ/ sh as in shoe


Pie chart exhibiting share of different languages contribute on loan phrases of Indonesian language.

  Dutch (42.5%)

  English (20.9%)

  Arabic (19%)

  Sanskrit and Hindi (9%)

  Chinese (3.6%)

  Portuguese (2%)

  Tamil (2%)

  Persian (1%)

As a contemporary number of Malay, Indonesian has been influenced by different languages, together with Dutch, English, Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese, Sanskrit, Tamil, Hindi, and Persian. It is estimated that there are some 750 Sanskrit loanwords in fashionable Indonesian, 1,000 Arabic loans, a few of Persian and Hebrew origin, some 125 phrases of Portuguese, a few of Spanish and Italian origin, and 10,000 loanwords from Dutch.[67][full citation needed] The overwhelming majority of Indonesian phrases, nonetheless, come from the foundation lexical inventory of Austronesian (together with Old Malay).[22]

The research of Indonesian etymology and loan phrases reveals each its historic and social contexts. Examples are the early Sanskrit borrowings from the seventh century in the course of the buying and selling period, the borrowings from Arabic and Persian in the course of the time of the institution of Islam particularly, and people from Dutch in the course of the colonial interval. Linguistic historical past and cultural historical past are clearly linked.[68]

List of loan phrases of Indonesian language printed by the Badan Pengembangan Bahasa dan Perbukuan (The Language Center) below the Ministry of Education and Culture:[69]

Language origin Number of phrases
Dutch 3280
English 1610
Arabic 1495
Sanskrit 677
Chinese 290
Portuguese 131
Tamil 131
Persian 63
Hindi 7

Note: This record solely lists international languages, and thus omitting quite a few native languages of Indonesia which have additionally been main lexical donors, equivalent to Javanese, Sundanese, Betawi, and so on. For a extra full record of those, see List of loanwords in Indonesian.

Loan phrases of Sanskrit origin[edit]

The Sanskrit affect got here from contacts with India since historic occasions. The phrases had been both borrowed instantly from India or with the middleman of the Old Javanese language. Although Hinduism and Buddhism are now not the most important religions of Indonesia, Sanskrit, which was the language automobile for these religions, continues to be held in excessive esteem and is comparable with the standing of Latin in English and different Western European languages. Sanskrit can also be the principle supply for neologisms, that are often shaped from Sanskrit roots. The loanwords from Sanskrit cowl many features of faith, artwork and on a regular basis life.

From Sanskrit got here such phrases as स्वर्ग surga (heaven), भाषा bahasa (language), काच kaca (glass, mirror), राज- raja (king), मनुष्य manusia (mankind), चिन्ता cinta (love), भूमि bumi (earth), भुवन buana (world), आगम agama (faith), स्त्री Istri (spouse/lady), जय Jaya (victory/victorious), पुर Pura (metropolis/temple/place) राक्षस Raksasa (large/monster), धर्म Dharma (rule/laws), मन्त्र Mantra (phrases/poet/non secular prayers), क्षत्रिय Satria (warrior/courageous/soldier), विजय Wijaya (vastly victorious/nice victory), and so on. Sanskrit phrases and sentences are additionally utilized in names, titles, and mottos of the Indonesian National Police and Indonesian Armed Forces equivalent to: Bhayangkara, Laksamana, Jatayu, Garuda, Dharmakerta Marga Reksyaka, Jalesveva Jayamahe, Kartika Eka Paksi, Swa Bhuwana Paksa, Rastra Sewakottama, Yudha Siaga, and so on.

Because Sanskrit has lengthy been identified within the Indonesian archipelago, Sanskrit loanwords, not like these from different languages, have entered the fundamental vocabulary of Indonesian to such an extent that, for a lot of, they’re now not perceived to be international. Therefore, one might write a brief story utilizing principally Sanskrit phrases. The quick story beneath consists of roughly 80 phrases in Indonesian which are written utilizing Sanskrit phrases alone, apart from a couple of pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions and affixes.

Karena semua dibiayai dana negara jutaan rupiah, sang mahaguru sastra bahasa Kawi dan mahasiswa-mahasiswinya, duta-duta negeri mitra, Menteri Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata suami-istri, beserta karyawan-karyawati lembaga nirlaba segera berdharmawisata ke pedesaan di utara kota kabupaten Probolinggo antara candi-candi purba, berwahana keledai di kala senja dan bersama kepala desa menyaksikan para tani yang berjiwa bersahaja serta berbudi nirmala secara berbahagia berupacara, seraya merdu menyuarakan gita-gita mantra, yang merupakan sarana pujian mereka memuja nama suci Pertiwi, Dewi Bumi yang bersedia menganugerahi mereka karunia dan restu, meraksa dari bahaya, mala petaka dan bencana.

Loan phrases of Chinese origin[edit]

The relationship with China has been going for the reason that seventh century when Chinese retailers traded in some areas of the archipelago equivalent to Riau, West Borneo, East Kalimantan, and North Maluku. At the dominion of Srivijaya appeared and flourished, China opened diplomatic relations with the dominion with a view to safe commerce and seafaring. In 922, Chinese vacationers visited Kahuripan in East Java. Since the eleventh century, a whole lot of 1000’s of Chinese migrants left Mainland China and settled in lots of elements of Nusantara (now known as Indonesia).

The Chinese loanwords are often involved with delicacies, commerce or typically simply issues completely Chinese. Words of Chinese origin (introduced right here with accompanying Hokkien/ Mandarin pronunciation derivatives in addition to conventional and simplified characters) embody pisau (匕首 bǐshǒu  – knife), loteng, (樓/層 = lóu/céng – [upper] flooring/ degree), mie (麵 > 面 Hokkien mī – noodles), lumpia (潤餅 (Hokkien = lūn-piáⁿ) – springroll), cawan (茶碗 cháwǎn – teacup), teko (茶壺 > 茶壶 = cháhú [Mandarin], teh-ko [Hokkien] = teapot), 苦力 kuli = 苦 khu (exhausting) and 力 li (power) and even the extensively used slang phrases gua and lu (from the Hokkien ‘goa’ 我 and ‘lu/li’ 汝 – that means ‘I/ me’ and ‘you’).

Loan phrases of Arabic origin[edit]

The phrase masjid (mosque) in Indonesian derived from Arabic phrase masjid (مسجد‎).

Many Arabic phrases had been introduced and unfold by retailers from Arab Peninsula like Arabian, Persian, and from the western a part of India, Gujarat the place many Muslims lived.[70] As a consequence, many Indonesian phrases come from the Arabic language. Especially for the reason that late twelfth century, Old Malay was closely influenced by the language and produced many nice literary works equivalent to Syair, Babad, Hikayat, and Suluk. This century is called The Golden Age of Indonesian Literature.[70]

Many loanwords from Arabic are primarily involved with faith, particularly with Islam, and by extension, with greetings such because the phrase, “selamat” (from Arabic: سلامةsalāma = well being, soundness)[71] means “safe” or “lucky”. Words of Arabic origin embody dunia (from Arabic: دنياdunyā = the current world), names of days (besides Minggu), equivalent to Sabtu (from Arabic: سبتsabt-u = Saturday), iklan (آعلانiʻlan = commercial), kabar (خبرkhabar = information), Kursi (كرسيkursī = a chair), jumat (جمعةjumʻa = Friday), ijazah (إجازةijāza = ‘permission’, certificates of authority, e.g. a college diploma certificates), kitab (كتابkitāb = guide), tertib (ترتيبtartīb = order/association) and kamus (قاموسqāmūs = dictionary). Allah (Arabic: الله‎), as it’s principally the case for Arabic audio system, is the phrase for God even in Christian Bible translations. Many early Bible translators, once they got here throughout some uncommon Hebrew phrases or correct names, used the Arabic cognates. In the newer translations this follow is discontinued. They now flip to Greek names or use the unique Hebrew Word. For instance, the title Jesus was initially translated as ‘Isa (Arabic: عيسى‎), however is now spelt as Yesus. Several ecclesiastical phrases derived from Arabic nonetheless exist in Indonesian language. Indonesian phrase for bishop is uskup (from Arabic: أسقفusquf = bishop). This in flip makes the Indonesian time period for archbishop uskup agung (actually nice bishop), which is combining the Arabic phrase with an Old Javanese phrase. The time period imam (from Arabic: إمامimām = chief, prayer chief) is used to translate a Catholic priest, beside its extra widespread affiliation with an Islamic prayer chief. Some Protestant denominations confer with their congregation jemaat (from Arabic: جماعةjamāʻa = group, a group). Even the title of the Bible in Indonesian translation is Alkitab (from Arabic: الكتابal-kitāb = the guide), which accurately means “the Book”.

Loan phrases of Portuguese origin[edit]

Alongside Malay, Portuguese was the lingua franca for commerce all through the archipelago from the sixteenth century by to the early nineteenth century. The Portuguese had been among the many first westerners to sail eastwards to the “Spice Islands”. Loanwords from Portuguese had been primarily related with articles that the early European merchants and explorers dropped at Southeast Asia. Indonesian phrases derived from Portuguese embody meja (from mesa = desk), bangku (from banco = bench), lemari/almari (from armário = closet), boneka (from boneca = doll), jendela (from janela = window), gereja (from igreja = church), misa (from missa = mass), Natal (from Natal = Christmas), Paskah (from Páscoa = Easter), pesta (from festa = celebration), dansa (from dança = dance), pesiar (from passear = cruise), bendera (from bandeira = flag), sepatu (from sapato = footwear), garpu (from garfo = fork), kemeja (from camisa = shirt), kereta (from carreta = chariot), pompa (from bomba hidráulica = pump), pigura (from figura = image), roda (from roda = wheel), nona (from dona = younger lady), sekolah (from escola = faculty), lentera (from lanterna = lantern), paderi (from padre = priest), Santo, Santa (from Santo, Santa = Saint), puisi (from poesia = poetry), keju (from queijo = cheese), mentega (from manteiga = butter), serdadu (from soldado = soldier), meski (from mas que = though), kamar (from câmara = room), laguna (from laguna = lagoon), lelang (from leilão = public sale), persero (from parceiro = firm), markisa (from maracujá = ardour fruit), limau (from limão = lemon), kartu (from cartão = card), Inggris (from inglês = English), Sabtu (from sábado = Saturday), Minggu (from domingo = Sunday), and so on.[72]

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Loan phrases of Dutch origin[edit]

Crowd at a busy street intersection. There are horse-drawn carriages in the foreground while a three-story building (with the sign

The former colonial energy, the Netherlands, left a sizeable quantity of vocabulary that may be seen in phrases equivalent to polisi (from politie = police), kualitas (from kwaliteit = high quality), aktual (from actueel = present), rokok (from roken = smoking cigarettes), korupsi (from corruptie = corruption), kantor (from kantoor = workplace), resleting (from ritssluiting = zipper), pelopor (from voorloper = frontrunner), persneling (from versnelling = transmission gear), setrum (from stroom = electrical energy present), maskapai (from maatschappij = firm), apotek (from apotheek = pharmacy), handuk (from handdoek = towel), setrika (from strijkijzer = garments iron), bioskop (from bioscoop = movie show), spanduk (from spandoeken = banner), korsleting (from kortsluiting = quick circuit), om (from oom = uncle), tante (from tante = aunt), traktir (from trakteer = deal with) and free of charge (from free of charge = free). These Dutch loanwords, and plenty of different non-Italo-Iberian, European language loanwords that got here by way of Dutch, cowl all features of life. Some Dutch loanwords, having clusters of a number of consonants, pose difficulties to audio system of Indonesian. This drawback is often solved by insertion of the schwa. For instance, Dutch schroef [ˈsxruf] > sekrup [səˈkrup] (screw (n.)). One scholar argues that 20% of Indonesian phrases are impressed by the Dutch language.[73]

Before the standardization of the language, many Indonesian phrases observe normal Dutch alphabet and pronunciation equivalent to “oe” for vowel “u” or “dj” for consonant “j” [dʒ]. As a consequence, Malay phrases are written with that orthography equivalent to: passer for the phrase Pasar or djalan for the phrase jalan, older Indonesian technology are likely to have their title written in such order as effectively.

Loan phrases of English origin[edit]

Many English phrases had been included into Indonesian by globalization. Many Indonesians, nonetheless, mistake phrases already adopted from Dutch as phrases borrowed from English. This is as a result of Germanic traces that exist within the two languages. Indonesian adopts English phrases with standardization. For instance: imajinasi from imagination, universitas from university, aksesori from accessory, geografi from geography, internasional from international, okonservatif from conservative, rutin from routine, and so forth.[74] However, there are a number of phrases that instantly borrowed with out standardization which have identical meanings in English equivalent to: bus, knowledge, area, element, web, movie, golf, raise, monitor, radio, radar, unit, safari, sonar, and video, riil as actual.[74]

Other loan phrases[edit]

Modern Indonesian attracts lots of its phrases from international sources, there are a lot of synonyms. For instance, Indonesian has three phrases for “book”, i.e. pustaka (from Sanskrit), kitab (from Arabic) and buku (from Dutch boek); nonetheless, every has a barely completely different that means. A pustaka is commonly related with historic knowledge or generally with esoteric data. A derived type, perpustakaan means a library. A kitab is often a non secular scripture or a guide containing ethical steering. The Indonesian phrases for the Bible and Gospel are Alkitab and Injil, each instantly derived from Arabic. The guide containing the penal code can also be known as the kitab. Buku is the most typical phrase for books.

There are direct borrowings from varied different languages of the world, equivalent to karaoke (from カラオケ) from Japanese, and ebi (from えび) which implies dried shrimp. Many phrases that initially are adopted by the Dutch language at the moment nonetheless typically are mistaken as English as a result of similarity within the Germanic nature of each languages. In some circumstances the phrases are changed by English language by globalization: though the phrase arbei (Dutch: aardbei) nonetheless actually means strawberry in Indonesian, at the moment the utilization of the phrase stroberi is extra widespread. Greek phrases equivalent to demokrasi (from δημοκρατία dēmokratía), filosofi, filsafat (each from φιλοσοφία philosophia), mitos (from μῦθος mythos) got here by Dutch, Arabic and Portuguese respectively.

It is notable that a few of the loanwords that exist in each Indonesian and Malaysian languages are completely different in spelling and pronunciation primarily resulting from how they derived their origins: Malaysian utilises phrases that replicate the English utilization (as utilized by its former colonial energy, the British), whereas Indonesian makes use of a Latinate type mirrored within the Dutch utilization (e.g. aktiviti (Malaysian) vs. aktivitas (Indonesian), universiti (Malaysian) vs. universitas (Indonesian)).

Acronyms and mix phrases[edit]

Since the time of the independence of Indonesia, Indonesian has seen a surge of neologisms that are shaped as acronyms (much less generally additionally initialisms) or mix phrases.

Common acronyms are ABRI (pronounced [ˈabri], from Angkatan Bersenjata Republik Indonesia ‘Indonesian National Armed Forces’), SIM (pronounced [sim], from surat izin mengemudi ‘driving licence’), SARA (pronounced [ˈsara], from suku, agama, ras, antargolongan ‘ethnic group, faith, race, inter-group [matters]’, used when referring to the background of intercommunal conflicts), HAM (pronounced [ham], from hak asasi manusia ‘human rights’).

Blend phrases are quite common in Indonesian, and have grow to be a productive instrument of phrase formation in each formal and colloquial Indonesian. Examples from official utilization embody departments and officeholders (e.g. Menlu < Mentri Luar Negeri ‘Foreign Minister’, Kapolda < Kepala kepolisian daerah ‘Head of Regional Police’) or names of provinces and districts (Sulsel < Sulawesi Selatan ‘South Sulawesi’, Jabar < Jakarta Barat ‘West Jakarta’. Other generally used mix phrases embody puskesmas < pusat kesehatan masyarakat ‘group well being heart’, sembako < sembilan bahan pokok ‘fundamental commodities’ (lit. ‘9 fundamental commodities’).[75]


Indonesia hosts quite a lot of conventional verbal arts equivalent to poetry, historic narratives, romances, and drama; that are expressed in native languages, however fashionable genres are expressed primarily by Indonesian.[8] Some of basic Indonesian tales embody Sitti Nurbaya by Marah Rusli, Azab dan Sengsara by Merari Siregar, and Sengsara Membawa Nikmat by Tulis Sutan Sati.[76][77] Modern literature like novels, quick tales, stage performs, and free-form poetry has developed for the reason that late years of the nineteenth century and has produced such internationally acknowledged figures as novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer, dramatist W.S. Rendra, poet Chairil Anwar, and cinematographer Garin Nugroho.[78] Indonesia’s basic novels itself, have their very own appeal, providing perception into native tradition and traditions and the historic background earlier than and instantly after the nation gained independence. One notable instance is Shackles which was written by Armijn Pane in 1940. Originally titled Belenggu and translated into many languages, together with English and German.[79]

As audio system of different languages[edit]

BIPA (Bahasa Indonesia untuk Penutur Asing) guide, which helps foreigners to be taught the Indonesian language successfully.

Over the previous few years, curiosity in studying Indonesian has grown amongst non-Indonesians.[80] Various universities have began to supply programs that emphasise the educating of the language to non-Indonesians. In addition to nationwide universities, non-public establishments have additionally began to supply programs, just like the Indonesia Australia Language Foundation and the Lembaga Indonesia Amerika. As early as 1988, lecturers of the language have expressed the significance of a standardized Bahasa Indonesia bagi Penutur Asing (additionally known as BIPA, actually Indonesian Language for Foreign Speaker) supplies (principally books), and this want grew to become extra evident in the course of the 4th International Congress on the Teaching of Indonesian to Speakers of Other Languages held in 2001.[81]

Since 2013, the Indonesian embassy within the Philippines has given fundamental Indonesian language programs to 16 batches of Filipino students, in addition to coaching to members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Due to growing demand amongst students, the embassy will open an intermediate Indonesian language course later within the yr. In an interview, Department of Education Secretary Armin Luistro[82] mentioned that the nation’s authorities ought to promote Indonesian or Malay, that are associated to Filipino. Thus, the opportunity of providing it as an optionally available topic in public colleges is being studied.

The Indonesian embassy in Washington, D.C., United States additionally started providing free Indonesian language programs on the newbie and intermediate degree.[83]




Days and months[edit]



Common phrases[edit]


The following texts are excerpts from the official translations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Indonesian and Malaysian Malay, together with the unique declaration in English.

English[84] Indonesian[85] Malay[86]
Universal Declaration of Human Rights Pernyataan Umum tentang Hak Asasi Manusia Perisytiharan Hak Asasi Manusia sejagat
Article 1 Pasal 1 Perkara 1
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with motive and conscience and may act in the direction of each other in a spirit of brotherhood. Semua orang dilahirkan merdeka dan mempunyai martabat dan hak-hak yang sama. Mereka dikaruniai akal dan hati nurani dan hendaknya bergaul satu sama lain dalam semangat persaudaraan. Semua manusia dilahirkan bebas dan sama rata dari segi maruah dan hak-hak. Mereka mempunyai pemikiran dan perasaan hati dan hendaklah bergaul dengan semangat persaudaraan.

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External hyperlinks[edit]

English-Indonesian dictionaries[edit]