What Does Indonesian English Accent Sound Like? How to Pronounce Bahasa Words

As English is now widely spoken globally, other parts of the world outside the US, UK, Australia, or Canada, try to learn and speak English. English is an Indonesian second language and most of them usually train to speak like native speakers, either American English or British English, even with their broken English.

But there are many factors that can influence how people with English as their non-mother language shaping their own English accent. For examples, it can depend on the geographical area and the majority of social culture.

Yes, if you look deeper, language is not only as a communication tool but also represent and construct the culture and history of the people. You may easily find and spot Singaporean English, Indian English, and many other distinctive English, including Indonesian English, because they slightly sound different from native speakers like American or British accent.

Here’s more to learn:

So how does Indonesian English Accent sounds like?

  • Indonesian has a stronger ‘R’

Indonesian usually has a very strong Rs. They clearly pronounce the /R/ with only a little bit of Ws sound. For example, Indonesian usually say ‘very‘ with a very clean R as it is ‘ver-i‘, not ‘veh-ree‘ with a slight of /W/

  • No dead letters

Indonesian usually tend to sound silent or dead letters in the word. They pronounce it all. For example, Indonesian speak the /B/ and /D/ or any others silent letter boldly in:

‘Wednesday’ not ‘wenz·dei

‘bomb‘ not ‘bam‘ or ‘bom

knife’ not ‘nife

‘aks’ (which is sound like ‘axe’) not ‘ask’

You may also notice Indonesian especially Javanese ethnic speak these words of /B/ and /D/  way more ‘explosive’, not only in English but even also when they speak Indonesian or their local language.

  • Similar letters without difference

There is no difference between these two of /V/ and /F/. Both letters sound almost exactly the same because there is no vibration in the vocal chord, which makes ‘very’ is just the same as ‘fery’. Not to mention that some Sundanese, a local native from West Java, usually say /V/ and /F/ as a clean /P/. For examples, turns ‘golf‘ into ‘golep‘.

So does with /SH/. Indonesian usually speak it as a complete /S/. For example,

she’ sounds like ‘see

shore’ sounds like ‘sore

  • Full /A/

Again with pronunciation, Indonesian tend to stress the /A/ in the word boldly just like the full ‘A’. For example,

‘basic’, not ‘bei·suhk’

‘may’, not ‘mei’

Most of the examples are talking about pronunciation. Some also mention that the habit of stressing the wrong or incorrect stress word pattern is one of the noticeable Indonesian English accents.

But whatever it is, this is not to point out that the Indonesian English accent is bad or wrong. It just what it is and that’s is okay because the accent is part of Indonesia’s culture. We must embrace it, aren’t we?