120 Hard Indonesian Words to Pronounce – Easy Practice

One key when learning Indonesian pronunciation is to pronounce the word as the writing. The fact is some people still encounter difficulties in pronouncing some Indonesian words. The problem with Indonesian pronunciation is when there are combinations of consonants in one word. For some people pronouncing some consonants at once can be quite difficult.

The common mistakes in Indonesian words

Even though bahasa Indonesia has easy pronunciation, but there are still some people having difficulties in pronounce certain words. In general words in Indonesia is pronounced as exactly as the writing. However the use of affixes changes not only the meaning of the words but also the pronunciation.

The addition of affixes results in various combination of alphabets which some foreigners find it difficult to pronounce. So, what is actually the problems most foreigners encounter when pronounce Indonesian words? Also read list of Indonesian root words.

1. Combination of ‘ng’

The most common difficulties when foreigner pronounce is the combination of ‘ng’ and ‘gg’ in the middle of a word. Here are some examples of common words using ‘ng’ combination which produce single sound.

  • Ingin (pronounce: ing-in) – want/wish
  • Mengerti (pronounce: me-nger-ti) – to understand
  • Tangan (pronounce: tang-an) – hand
  • Dengan (pronounce: de-ngan) – with

Those are only few examples of word with ‘ng’ diphthong in the middle of the word. So, what is the trap?

Most foreign people pronounce the ‘g’ in ‘ng’ as a hard letter ‘g’ instead of the ‘ng’ as combination. In bahasa Indonesia, the ‘ng’ combination sounds like the sound in the back of the throat like the ‘ng’ in sung. The hard ‘g’ should be mute at the beginning of the following syllable. Also learn common Indonesian words to learn.

2. Combination of ‘gg’

Another difficult word to pronounce is the combination of ‘gg’ in the middle of a word. Take a look at below examples.

  • Tenggelam (pronounce: teng-ge-lam) – drown
  • Menggigil (pronounce: meng-gi-gil) – shiver
  • Menggapai (pronounce: meng-ga-pai) – to reach

The combination of ‘gg’ in the middle of the word is pronounced differently from the ‘ng’ combination. The combination is always ‘ngg’ and the first ‘ng’ is pronounced like above then followed with hard ‘g’.

3. Combination of ‘ny’

If you think that the combination of ‘ng’ and ‘gg’ are enough to make your tongue twisted, there is still another pronunciation trap in bahasa Indonesia. The combination of ‘ny’ will make your tongue twisted even more. Take a look at below examples.

  • Menyanyikan (pronounce: me-nya-nyi-kan) – to sing
  • Menyembunyikan (pronounce: me-nyem-bu-nyi-kan) – to hide
  • Menyingsingkan (pronounce: me-nying-sing-kan) – to roll up (usually sleeve)
  • Menyeimbangkan (pronounce: me-nye-im-bang-kan) – to balance
  • Menyayangi (pronounce: me-nya-yang-i) – to love

The combination of ‘ny’ is pronounced like when you make the sound with the tongue behind the teeth. Sometimes there are also combination of ‘ny’ and ‘ng’ in one word.

4. Combination of some two or more consonant in one word

More about hard Indonesian words to pronounce is if there are combinations of two or more consonant in one word. The problem is that all those alphabets should be pronounced. Take a look at the following examples.

  • Masjid (pronounce: mas-jid) – mosque
  • Masygul (pronounce: mas-gul) – sad, crazy (note: the ‘y’ is mute)
  • Musyawarah (pronounce: mu-sya-wa-rah) – deliberation
  • Masyarakat (pronounce: ma-sya-ra-kat) – residents, citizen
  • Dahsyat (pronounce: dah-syat) – powerful (note: the ‘h’ is mute)
  • Makhluk (pronounce: makh-luk) – creature (note: the first ‘k’ is mute)
  • Justru (pronounce: jus-tru) – even (note: the ‘s’ and ‘r’ are pronounced clearly)
  • Ikhtisar (pronounce: ikh-ti-sar) – summary (note: the ‘h’ is mute)
  • Nakhoda (pronounce: na-kho-da) – skipper (note: the ‘h’ is mute)

The problem with these kinds of words is that there are some alphabets which appear to be muted. However, there are not much of mute alphabets in words but still, it can be quite confusing to pronounce. Also learn Indonesian alphabets

Examples of Indonesian Words with Difficult Pronunciation

More about hard Indonesian words to pronounce

  • Abonemen – subscription
  • Dikedepankan – being pushed forward
  • Grogi – nervous
  • Gemericik – rustling
  • Gerilyawan – guerilla
  • Gerendel – latch
  • Introspeksi – introspection
  • Ijazah – diploma
  • Jadwal – schedule
  • Keranjingan – addicted, favorite
  • Mengambing hitamkan – place blame to someone
  • Membudidayakan – to cultivate
  • Menggeser – to shift
  • Mengingat – to remember
  • Menganiaya – to persecute
  • Menjemput – to retrieve, to pick up
  • Mencampakkan – to ditch
  • Menggeliat – to stretched
  • Hingga – until
  • Khatulistiwa – equator
  • Kewarganegaraan – citizenship
  • Keanekaragaman – diversity
  • Kesepakatan – agreement
  • Perpustakaan – library
  • Permberdayaan – empowerment
  • Penyelenggaraan – implememtation
  • Recehan – small change
  • Rekayasa – engineering
  • Trotoar – sidewalk
  • Tinggal – live, stay
  • Sungguh – real
  • Singgah – stop by
  • Zaman – era

Have you experience tongue twisted when pronouncing Indonesian words? Even though some words are quite hard to pronounce, but do not give up in learning. Listen more to Indonesian TV, radio, movies, and song to practice pronouncing Indonesian words. Also read Easy Ways to Learn Bahasa Indonesia for beginner.