20 List of Indonesian Words Similar to English (Loanwords)

Bahasa Indonesia as national language today is actually the standardized of Malay language. The language is chosen because it considered as neutral language over local dialect. Firstly declared as national language in 1928, bahasa Indonesia is still the national language of Indonesia.

Even though the language was rooted from Malay language, but it is actually a dynamic language. Dutch, Arabic, Chinese, Sanskrit, and even English have influenced Bahasa Indonesia. These languages made Bahasa Indonesia diverse in vocabulary and it characterized by loanwords and also neologism. Indeed, there are some list of Indonesian words in English.

Learn more: Indonesian heritage language and literature

In this globalization era, bahasa Indonesia contains huge number of international words, some of which rooted from Latin and English. The international loan words can be found in technology, politics, entertainment, and also economic industry. In most cases, the orthography of loanwords is simply adjusted to Indonesian pronunciation for example alergi (allergy), kontrak (contract), and many more.

Learn more: Indonesian grammar for beginners

Alphabets changes

Loanwords in Indonesia are quite simple. It just adjusts to the pronunciation and almost no exact rules in transforming. To be able to understand the transformation of loanwords in Bahasa Indonesia, below is the guide to alphabets changes.

Some of List of Indonesian Words Similar to English:

Q K, kw Quality → kualitas
Z S Analyze → Analisa
c K, S Community → Komunitas
Ph f Photo → foto
Ty, teit tas Faculty → fakultas
University → Universitas

Learn more here if you want to know about What is The Indonesian Alphabet

Examples of Indonesian words similar to English

The loanwords from English can be easily analyzed. There is no specific transformation to make because the word still sounds similar to English. The important guideline to Indonesian words similar to English is the closest phonemic sound. While the written words is the results of standardized loanwords with the closest and easiest sounds that easily produced by the local tongue. See the example of Indonesian words similar to English below.

Learn more: Indonesian written languages to know the list of Indonesian Words similar to English

English Words Loanwords Indonesian neologism English translation
Participation partisipasi berpartisipasi To participate
Connection koneksi terkoneksi Connected
Subsidy subsidi Disupsidi




To be subsidized

To subsidize

Product Produk Diproduksi




To produce

To be produced

Bank Bank Perbankan



Bank (noun)

Facilitating Fasilitas Memfasilitasi


To facilitate


If English words with ending –ion transformed into Indonesia, it will have ending –si for example participation become partisipasi. Words with ending –si are usually used as abstract nouns. English words with ending –isms usually will have ending –isme in Indonesian such as terrorism become terorisme, colonialism become kolonialisme, and much more.

Learn more: Types of Indonesian verb prefixes

Having rooted from Malay languge, bahasa Indonesia has become a modern language. It serves as national language which widely used in business, law, educational, trading, and other fields. The modern Bahasa Indonesia has influenced by other languages such as English, Dutch, Latin, and many more as the result of globalization era. Understanding Indonesian words similar to English is very easy because it does not have many changes to the structure.