Born as Indonesian, of course, I thought that Bahasa Indonesia is the easiest language I ever knew since it becomes my first daily language.
However, if we really want to master Bahasa Indonesia, I would say that even a true Indonesian must find it challenging to use Bahasa Indonesia “yang baik dan benar” (good and right).
What makes Bahasa Indonesia so challenging? There are several things I could list down here, but the most challenging part is actually the way we think about a foreign language we are about to learn. If we think it is complicated, then it will be.
However, there are a lot of people successfully learn and master Bahasa Indonesia as the locals. So, there must be some things that made it easy.
1. “Indonesian Root words”
First, in gaining vocabularies you have to make sure you understand and gain a lot of “root words”. They are the original words without any affixes (additional letters attached to the word to create a new meaning).
Once you know a lot of “root words”, it will be much easier for you to learn how to use it with suffixes as it is used very often in daily conversation. You do not need to memorize each affix to know how and when to use it. Just use it often in conversation.
2. No tenses
Second, learn the vocabularies to give time information in your sentence. Here are the basic:
- kemarin (yesterday)
- hari ini (today)
- besok (tomorrow)
You do not need to memorize tenses in Bahasa Indonesia. Just give a word to inform when it happens. For example:
- Saya pergi ke dokter kemarin. (I went to the doctor yesterday.)
- Saya pergi ke dokter hari ini. (I go to the doctor today.)
- Saya pergi ke dokter besok. (I will go to the doctor tomorrow.) .
3. The letters and the sound are the same
In English, we learn phonics. An alphabet sounds different for different words. ‘I’ as in ‘ice cream’ and ‘i’ as in iguana are different, aren’t they?
In Bahasa Indonesia, letter ‘i’ only has one sound as in ‘Indonesia’. It does not have any other sound. Easy, right?
4. Your intonation and dialect in speaking do not really matter.
When learning Chinese, you have to know four different intonations. A word can have a totally different meaning if you say it in the wrong intonation.
When learning Bahasa Indonesia, the way you say a word can be heard in different intonation than the Indonesian, but as long as you pronounce it correctly, people will understand.
5. Some Indonesian words are derived from other languages, maybe your own mother tongue
Bahasa Indonesia has been influenced by other languages as we have a history with those countries. Check out if you know or speak these languages:
If you are able to read this article, it means you know English. At least you know a language that influences Bahasa Indonesia. You can start mastering Bahasa Indonesia using those derived words. Easy, right?