Indonesian Language Pronunciation Guide

What is The Indonesian Alphabet? The Indonesian alphabet and language has gone through some changes in the last few years. In 1972, the government made changes on the spelling system due to some reasons. The changes, however, is made to make the language easier to learn and spell. Nowadays, how to talk with Indonesian is not difficult even though changes have made to the language. You just need to put some time into the learning process. Below is Indonesian language pronunciation guide as your reference.

Sounds and Syllables

How to Speak Indonesian Words Fast? To be able to learn proper Indonesian pronunciation, it is important to learn the alphabet first. The alphabet uses in Indonesian language is the same Latin writing system as in English. But the pronunciation is quite different from English alphabets. Basically, Indonesian language is a phonetic language and there is almost no exception for the pronunciation rules. To make it simple, Indonesian alphabets is almost pronounced in Dutch way. Here is the list of Indonesian alphabets and the pronunciation guide.


  • A a – pronounce as ‘a’ in father
  • I i – pronounce as ‘i’ in internet
  • U u – pronounce as ‘u’ in blue
  • E e – sometimes it pronounce as ‘e’ in mechanic and as ‘e’ in permit
  • O o – sometimes it pronounce as ‘o’ in ok and as ‘o’ in ton

Combinations of vowels

  • ai – pronounce like ‘ie’ in tie
  • au – pronounce like ‘au’ in how
  • oi – pronounce like ‘oi’ in coin


In Indonesian alphabets there are basically 21 consonants which are b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z. Most of the alphabets are pronounced as it sounds. Additionally, there is also combination of consonants such as:

  • ng – pronounced like ‘eng’ in English
  • ny – pronounce like ‘ny’ in new
  • kh – pronounce like kha
  • sy – pronounce like sya

The digraphs kha and sya mostly used for words originated from Arabic. While the consonants q, v, x, and z is mostly used for loan words from foreign languages which are used in Bahasa Indonesia.

Stress and Emphasis

For foreign people, proper pronunciation can be a bit tricky especially when it comes to stress and emphasis. Different stressing on certain words can give different meaning. One popular example is the word ‘tahu’ and tahu. The first tahu with silent ‘h’ is pronounced as ‘tau’, it means ‘to know’. While the second ‘tahu’ with pronunciation ‘tah-who’, it means tofu. See, different stressing, syllables and pronunciation makes the same word has different meaning.

Leaning the Indonesian conversation phrases of Bahasa Indonesia is very important. Pronunciation of bahasa Indonesia is not difficult and the alphabets also use Latin system. In addition to the pronunciation, stressing and emphasize is also important because different stressing results in different meaning.

Here are more Indonesian Language Pronunciation Guide