Learn Indonesian Pronunciation of Basic Words

Good day and thank you for stopping by MasteringBahasa! How far have you learned Indonesian language up until now? Have you learned about how to introduce yourself in Indonesian and practised some Indonesian conversdation phrases?

Learn Indonesian Pronunciation of Basic Words

You also need to learn about Indonesian pronunciation as the way words are pronounced is different from your native language. Let’s review a little bit about pronouncing Indonesian alphabets. For more learning, also check out the more complete article on what is the Indonesian alphabets. Let’s start with vowels:

a
like ‘a’ in “father”

e
like ‘e’ in “vowel”

é
like ‘e’ in “bed”, usually the difference between a schwa and an e is not indicated in writing

i (ie, j)
like ‘i’ in “thin”

o
like ‘ow’ in “low”, in open positions or like ‘o’ in “top” in close positions

u
like ‘oo’ in “hoop”, in open positions or like ‘o’ in “hope” in close positions

Moving on to consonants:

b
like ‘b’ in “bed”

bh
like ‘b’ in “bed”, only in Sanskrit borrowings

c (ch, tj)
like ‘ch’ in “China”

d
like ‘d’ in “dog”

dh
like ‘d’ in “dog”, only in Sanskrit borrowings

f
like ‘ph’ in “phone”

g
like ‘g’ in “go”

h
like ‘h’ in “help”

j (dj)
like ‘dg’ in “edge”

k
like ‘c’ in “cat”, often silent at the end of a word

kh (ch)
like ‘ch’ in “loch”

l
like ‘l’ in “love”

m
like ‘m’ in “mother”

n
like ‘n’ in “nice”

ng
like ‘ng’ in “sing”

ny
like ‘ny’ in “canyon”

p
like ‘p’ in “pig”

q
like ‘q’ in “quest” (with “u”, almost always, only in Arabic borrowings) 

r
like ‘rr’ in Spanish “perro”

s
like ‘ss’ in “hiss”

sy (sj)
like ‘sh’ in “sheep”

t
like ‘t’ in “top”

v
like ‘ph’ in “phone”

w
like ‘w’ in “weight”

x
like ‘cks’ in “kicks”

y (j)
like ‘y’ in “yes”

z
like ‘s’ in “hiss”, like ‘z’ in “haze”, like ‘dg’ in “edge”

You may also read here about:

Indonesian Pronunciation of Basic Words for Vocal Words 

There are also diphthongs which are a combination of two vowels blended into a new sound.

ai
like ‘ay’ in “say”

au
like ‘ow’ in “cow”

oi
like ‘oy’ in “boy”

Examples of Indonesian Pronunciation of Basic Words

Now that you’ve learned about vowel, consonant, and diphthong pronunciation, let’s learn to pronounce some basic Indonesian words!

  • Hello.
    Halo. (HUH-lo)
  • Hello. (informal)
    He. (Hey)
  • How are you?
    Apa kabar? (AH-pAh KAH-bar?)
  • Fine, thank you.
    Baik, terima kasih. (BAYK, TREE-muh KUS-see)
  • What is your name?
    Namanya siapa? (NUM-muh-nyuh shah-puh?)
  • My name is ______ .
    Nama saya ______ . (NUM-MUH suh-yuh _____ .)
  • Nice to meet you.
    Senang bertemu anda. (SNUNG burr-tuh-moo UN-duh)
  • Please.
    Silakan. (see-LUH-kunn)
  • Please. (request)
    Tolong. (TOH-long)
  • Thank you.
    Terima kasih.
  • You’re welcome.
    Terima kasih kembali.
  • Yes.
    Ya. (EEYUH)
  • No.
    Tidak. (TEE-duh), Tak (TAH)
  • Excuse me. (getting attention)
    Maaf. (MUH-UFF)
  • black
    hitam (HEE-tum)
  • white
    putih (POO-teeh)
  • gray
    abu-abu (UH-boo UH-boo)
  • red
    merah (MER-ruh)
  • blue
    biru (BEE-roo)
  • yellow
    kuning (KOO-neeng)
  • green
    hijau (HEE-jow)
  • orange
    oranye (oh-RUN-nyuh)
  • purple
    ungu (OONG-oo)
  • brown
    coklat (CHOC-klutt) 

Basic Indonesia Vocabulary

  • alpukat = avocado (al-poo-kutt)
  • anggur = grapes (ung-goor)
  • apel = apple (uh-pel)
  • aprikot = apricot (uh-pree-kott)
  • asam jawa = tamarind (uh-sem-juh-wuh)
  • belimbing = starfruit (buh-leem-beeng)
  • blewah = cantaloupe (ble-wuh)
  • bluberi = blueberry (blue-be-ree)
  • buah naga = dragonfruit (boo-uh-nuh-guh)
  • delima = pomegranate (duh-lee-ma)
  • durian = durian (doo-ree-an)
  • jambu air = water apple/rose apple (jum-booh-a-eer)
  • jambu biji = guava (jum-booh-bee-gee)
  • jeruk = orange (juh-rook)
  • kedondong = ambarella (kuh-don-dong)
  • kelapa = coconut (kuh-luh-puh)
  • lici/leci = lychee (lee-chee/le-chee)
  • mangga = mango (mung-guh)
  • manggis = mangosteen (mung-gees)
  • markisa = passionfruit (murr-kee-suh)
  • nanas = pineapple (nuh-nus)
  • nangka = jackfruit (nung-kuh)
  • pepaya = papaya (puh-pa-ya)
  • persik = peach (purr-seek)
  • pir = pear (peer)
  • pisang = banana (pee-sung)
  • salak = snakefruit (suh-luk)
  • semangka = watermelon (suh-mung-kuh)
  • stroberi = strawberry (stro-be-ree)
  • tomat = tomato (to-mutt)
  • daging = meat (duh-geeng)
  • ayam = chicken (uh-yum)
  • dada ayam = chicken breast (duh-duh-uh-yum)
  • sayap ayam = chicken wing (suh-yup-uh-yum)
  • sapi = beef (suh-pee)
  • babi = pork (buh-bee)
  • iga babi = pork ribs (ee-guh-buh-bee)
  • babi guling = roast suckling pig (buh-bee-goo-leeng)
  • kambing = lamb/goat (kum-beeng)
  • bebek = duck (be-beck)
  •  sosis = sausage (so-sees)
  • bakso = meatball (buck-so)
  • ikan = fish (ih-kunn)
  • ikan tuna = tuna (ih-kunn-too-na)
  • lele = catfish (le-le)
  • udang = shrimp (oo-dung)
  • kepiting = crab (kuh-pee-teeng)
  • gurita = octopus (goo-ree-tuh)
  • cumi-cumi = squid (choo-mee-choo-mee)
  • tiram = oyster (tee-rum)

Keep in mind that Indonesian language can be learned quickly and easily, so don’t give up! Also learn about other Indonesian words you need to know as well as Indonesian greeting etiquette and manners.