You’ve arrived in Bali and your senses are being assaulted by a feast of sights, sounds and smells, you know that you’ve arrived in Paradise and your excited about communicating with the locals. But there is a problem… You don”t know how to pronounce the new words in Bahasa that you are learning. The team here at Vilondo know what that feels like, so have prepared a small guide to help you learn how to pronounce Bahasa Indonesian with ease.

You will need to LISTEN to really pronounce Indonesian correctly, but the following guide will give you a rough idea how to sound words out. Unlike English, Indonesian is relatively consistent in matching sounds to spellings, but there are some exceptions to this and there are several sounds that are tricky for English-speakers.

How to pronounce Bahasa Indonesian

Vowels

  • a like a in “father”
  • i like ea in “neat”
  • u like ou in “soup”
  • é like e in “mechanic”
  • è like e in “permit”
  • ó like o in “ok”
  • ò like o in “ton”
  • ai like ie in “tie”
  • au like ow in “how”

Now practice with your first Indonesian words:

  • Apa = what
  • mInum =to drink
  • pUlang = to go home
  • Léwat = to pass
  • bèrbicara = to talk
  • sóre = afternoon
  • bòla = ball
  • pantAI = beach
  • mAU = to want

Diftong

    • N like nd in “band”
    • R like r in ” super”

Now practice with some new words:

  • dengaN = with
  • besaR = big

Consonant

  • BA like bu in “but”
  • BI like bee in “bee”
  • BU like boo in ” booking”
  • BE like pe in “perfect”
  • BE like pe in “pet”
  • BÒ like bo in “boss”
  • CA like cha in “cha cha”
  • CI like chee in “cheese”
  • CU like choo in “choose”
  • CE like ge in ” genius”
  • CO like jo in “job”
  • DA like dam in “dam”
  • DI like di in “disability”
  • DU like du in “due”
  • DE like the in “the”
  • DO like do in “dormitory”

Now practice with even more new words:

  • BAhaya = danger
  • berBIcara = speaking
  • BUku = buku
  • BElajar = learning
  • BEsok = tomorrow
  • san = bored
  • meriCA = pepper
  • CInta = love
  • CUriga = suspect
  • CErita = story
  • COba = try
  • DAri = from
  • taDI = last
  • DUnia = world
  • DErmaga = harbour
  • DOsa = sin

Other post on speaking Bahasa

Read our other posts about on speaking and pronouncing Bahasa

Top 5 Reasons To Learn Bahasa Indonesia

Who Else Wants To Speak Bahasa Indonesia?

How To Speak Basic Bahasa

Basic Indonesian Vocabulary For Bali Travelers