5 Common Indonesian Words to Learn for Beginner

There are lots of foreign people who are interesting to learn Bahasa Indonesia for many reason. It can simply because they are going to visit the country for holiday or actually want to master the language. Based on those who have learned the language, Bahasa Indonesia is a easy language to learn because there is neither grammatical complexity or symbolical alphabets. If you are in the process of learning Bahasa Indonesia, here are some Indonesian words to learn.

Related: Basic Guide to Indonesian Grammar

1. Indonesian Greetings and polite words

Learning polite words and greetings are very important because Indonesians appreciate politeness. Indonesians are friendly and they will gladly help you out especially when you are being polite. Here are the lists of greetings and polite words to learn.

Related: Communication Etiquette in Indonesia

Indonesian English
Selamat pagi good morning (note: change the time for different greetings such as good afternoon (selamat sore), and good evening (selamat malam).
Terima kasih (Some people also say ‘Makasi’ instead of terima kasih and it means the same Thank you
Terima kasih kembali you are welcome (most people will only say ‘sama-sama’ to say the phrase).
Apa kabar how are you? What’s up?
Selamat jalan/selamat tinggal good bye

That’s some common Indonesian words to learn.

2. Name of food or restaurants

Important note when you go to warung, they will serve the food in the normal Indonesian way. For example they will put sambal or chili on your food or put sugar to your tea and coffee without asking. Learn these words to avoid that experience.

Indonesian English
Saya mau… I want ….
Tawar / tanpa gula No sugar (for example: saya mau teh tawar – I want tea with no sugar)
Tidak pedas No spicy
Dingin Cold
Panas Hot
Es Ice
Bungkus Take away
Makan disini Dine in

You could also check out List of Indonesian Words Similar to English (Loanwords)

3. Common verbs

The common verbs to learn in Indonesian language include words to use in everyday life. This includes eat, drink, sleep, and the like. Once you make friend with the local people, do not be surprised if they will ask you personal question such as ‘are you married?”. They do not mean to get in your personal life, but it just common question.

See also: Untranslatable Indonesian words

Indonesian English
Pergi Go
Datang Come
Minum Drink
Bayar Pay
Tidur Sleep
Lihat Look
Makan Minum
Berenang Swim
Beli Buy
Jalan Walk
Menikah Married

There are many more Indonesian words to learn.

4. Indonesian Numbers

Learning numbers is important to know prices, location, phone numbers, and much more. Learn more about Colors in Indonesian.

Numbers Indonesian English
1 Satu One
2 Dua Two
3 Tiga Three
4 Empat Four
5 Lima Five
6 Enam Six
7 Tujuh Seven
8 Delapan Eight
9 Sembilan Nine
10 Sepuluh Ten

5. Other Indonesian Words

The table below shows other important words you may need to know such as sorry, excuse me, and help.

Indonesian English
No Tidak (some people also say ‘nggak’ to say no for casual occasion and ‘tidak’ for formal.
Iya / Ya Yes / Yeah
Maaf Sorry
Tolong Help / Please
Permisi Excuse me
Besar Big
Berapa How much/many

Learning Indonesian is very easy especially when you understand the grammar rules and pronunciation. Whether you learn the language for visiting Indonesia or simply interested to the language, make sure to remember those words. Learn more about Conversation example in Indonesia.