Indonesian Consonant Clusters – Formula – Definition – Examples

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Clerk. Bright. Proud. Slave
Those four words are a random group of words. But, there is one similarity shared by them, consonant clusters. After learning about most basic Indonesian language like Indonesian Alphabets, I think it is the right time to explore more. Consonant clusters is the consonant version of Indonesian Diphtongs. However, unlike diphtongs, the combined sound of it is not as smooth as vowels. To shorten the time, let’s move to the main topic, Indonesian Consonant Clusters.

‘Cl’ in clerk, ‘br’ in bright. ‘pr’ in proud, and ‘sl’ in slave is several types of English consonant clusters. In Indonesian there are at least 16 consonant clusters (which translated as gugus konsonan atau klaster konsonan), either placed in the front or the middle, like ‘kl’, ‘st’, ‘pr’, and many more. Mostly they all were derived from another language, such as ‘sy’ usually were derived from Arabic. Here are the examples of it.

Lists of Indonesian Consonant Clusters

  • klaster [klɑs’tər] = cluster
  • kloter [klo’tər] = group of people based on their flight time (abbreviation from kelompok terbang)
  • kloset [klo’set] = kloset, toilet for poop/pee
  • klarifikasi [klɑ’ri’fi’kɑ’si] = clarification
  • syarat [ʃɑrɑt] = requirement(s)
  • syariat [ʃɑri’ɑt] = Islam-related law
  • syukur [ʃukur] = gratitude
  • asyik [ɑʃik] = fun
  • tamasya [tɑmɑʃɑ] = trip
  • blunder [blun’dər] = blunder, mistakes
  • blender [blen’dər] = blender
  • blusukan [blu’suk’ɑn] = terms for ‘take a look at the street/public places by a famous/public figure as a symbol of down to earth attitude’
  • seblak [sə’blɑk] = Bandung’s food, half-cooked chip crackers
  • khas [kɑs/hɑs] = unique/typical
  • khusus [kusus/husus] = certain, specific, special
  • khusuk [kusuk] = silent and concentrate (for ritual/prayer]
  • flanel [flɑ’nel] = flannel
  • teflon [tə’flon] = teflon
  • brutu [bru’tu] = chicken buttocks (also for food)
  • brokoli [bro’ko’li] = broccoli
  • brondong [bron’doŋ] = younger man/popcorn (jagung brondong)
  • brankas [brɑŋkɑs/brɑn’kɑs] = safety box
  • trotoar [tro’to’ɑr] = pedestrian street
  • setrum [sə’trum] = stun
  • gastritis [gɑs’tri’tis] = gastritis
  • proyek [pro’yek] = project
  • praktis [prɑk’tis] = practical
  • pramuniaga [prɑ’mu’ni’ɑ’gɑ] = shopkeeper
  • jepret [jə’pret] = take pictures
  • semprot [səm’prot] = spray
  • supranatural [su’prɑ’nɑ’tu’rɑl] = supernatural
  • priyayi [pri’yɑ’yi] = Javanese aristocrat
  • pragmatik [prɑk’mɑ’tik] = pragmatics
  • plang [plɑŋ] = sign(post)
  • plakat [plɑ’kɑt] = plaque 
  • plot [plot] = plot
  • kontemplasi [kontem’plɑ’si] = contemplation
  • komplet [kom’plit] = complete
  • stasiun [stɑ’ʃun] = station
  • standar [stɑn’dɑr] = standard/average (Adj)
  • stempel [stem’pəl] = stamp
  • status [stɑ’tus] = status
  • studio [stu’di’o] = studio
  • stupa [stu’pɑ] = important and special part of Buddhist temple like Borobudur
  • struktur [struk’tur] = structure
  • stratifikasi [strɑ’ti’fi’kɑ’si] = stratification
  • struk [struk] = payment receipt
  • bhineka [bhinekɑ] = similar to diversity, part of Indonesian slogan ‘Bhineka Tunggal Ika’
  • sri [sri] = a noble title in Indonesia (Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono)
  • swadaya [swɑ’dɑ’yɑ] = self-help
  • swafoto [swɑ’fo’to] = selfie
  • swasta [swɑs’tɑ] = private
  • skala [skɑ’lɑ] = scale
  • skuter [sku’tər] = scooter
  • ngantuk [ŋɑ’tuk] = sleepy
  • sedang [sedɑŋ] = so-so
  • tangan [tɑŋɑn] = hand(s)
  • nyanyi [ñɑñi] = sing
  • senyap [səñɑp] = silence

More in Learning Indonesian Alphabets and Pronounce Indonesian Names

More to know about Indonesian Consonant Clusters!

To master about Indonesian Consonant Cluster, remember to learn about Indonesian syllables. It will be easier to identify the set of consonants as cluster or not. Therefore you need to keep practice. Here are the example.

  • skandal (scandal) = skan + dal
    in this occasion ‘sk’ is a consonant cluster
  • biskuit (biscuit) = bis + ku + it
    in this occasion ‘sk’ is NOT a consonant cluster
  • bakso (meatball) = bak + so
    in this occasion ‘ks’ is NOT a consonant cluster

Notes: Try to divide the word into its syllables. To make sure, you could check Indonesian KBBI (Great Dictionary) online or offline

Read Also Indonesian Words Pronunciation and Indonesian Pronunciation of Basic Words

In informal situation, you may also found consonant cluster in conversation. Either Indonesian people talking too fast or efficiency matters in terms of speaking, there are many words that originally were not consist consonant cluster in Bahasa Indonesia, but because the reduction seems to have cluster consonant.

It is also happened in a song lyric, to make it fit with the melody. It is commonly happened to the combination of e {mostly [ə]) with consonant, such as ‘r’ or ‘l’. Here are most common examples about the reduction.

  • s’lalu/slalu [slɑlu] from selalu [səlɑlu] — always
  • blakang [blɑ’kɑŋ] from [bəlɑ’kɑŋ] — behind
  • blum/blom [blum/blom] from belum [bə’lum] = have not yet
  • brisik [bri’sik] from berisik [bə’ri’sik] = noisy
  • sebrang [sə’brɑŋ] from seberang [sə’bə’rɑŋ] = oppossite
  • klas [klɑs]  from kelas [kə’lɑs] = class
  • tlah [tlɑh] from telah [tə’lɑh] = have been done
  • pluru [plu’ru] from peluru [pə’lu’ru] = bullet
  • skarang [skɑrɑŋ] from sekarang [səkɑrɑŋ] = now
  • skali [skɑ’li] from sekali [sə’kɑli] = once
  • skolah [sko’lɑh] from sekolah [sə’ko’lɑh] = school
  • brani [brɑ’ni] from berani [bə’rɑni] = brave
  • trus [trus] from terus [tə’rus] = then

So, there are all you need to know about Indonesian Consonant Clusters. Before finish this time lesson, you could also check