How Many Languages Do Indonesians Speak?

Most of Indonesian people can speak more than one language. Most of them understand and can speak in Bahasa Indonesia, one of Indonesian local language based on their location, and even they also can speak English. To know more about how many languages do Indonesians speak, read the complete explanation below.

A Brief History of Bahasa Indonesia

Same with several countries in Southeast Asia, Indonesian in the past use Malay as their daily language. This language is originally spoken in the Northeast Sumatera. The dialect commonly used is Classical Malay.

Since the 7th century, Indonesian people already use Old Malay Language (at that time, we call Indonesia as Nusantara). This can be proved in inscriptions from Srivijaya Kingdom and other inscriptions from other region. However, the Malay that they use was already different with Malaysian.

When Dutch people first arrived in Indonesia, they use Malay language for trading and political business. Then, the VOC (Dutch East India Company) use Malay language as the administrative language. When VOC bankrupt, Batavian Republic took over the colony and started to promote Dutch language. However, the influence was not that great because only small amount of Indonesian people can speak Dutch.

The national movement from Indonesian people was the start of the use of Indonesian language as the national language. They reject to use Dutch language when they want to fight colonization. The nationalism of Indonesian people make it possible to make Indonesian language as the national language. This is also written in the result of second Youth Pledge in October 1928.

In 1945, when Indonesia declared its independence, Indonesian language was also formally declared as the national language. Not all of the population use this language for their daily conversation. However, as Indonesia became more developed, more and more people able to use and speak in Indonesian language.

Read more about other Indonesian culture:

Indonesian Local Languages

As a large continental country, Indonesia is very wide. There are more than 700 living languages spoken in Indonesia. The most popular language maybe Javanese, Sundanese, Batak language, Minang, and many more.

However, this local language only used in daily conversation. The Indonesian language is primarily used in administration, media, and education. Several local services may be use local language based on their own regulation.

Read more about Indonesian local language:

How Many Languages do Indonesians Speak

Most of Indonesian people are able to understand and listen to Indonesian language. However, people live in inland, especially the older generation may be not able to use Indonesian language. All of Indonesian people live in the city can be said to be able to speak in Indonesian.

Besides Indonesian language, Indonesian people also able to speak in their own local language. This is based on where they were live or born. People live and born in different area may be able to speak more than one local language. For example, people that born in Bandung and live in Semarang may be able to speak Sundanese and Javanese. There are also Indonesian people that can’t speak in local language, but most of them still can understand the conversation.

Indonesian people also considered able to speak in English, especially people live in big cities. As English is an international language, all of the students are required to learn English. However, not all of them are confident in speaking English.

That’s all the explanation about the answer to the question how many languages do Indonesians speak. I hope the information will be helpful for all of you.