Learn Indonesian!

Learn Indonesian, the exotic language of Southeast Asia and one of the most widely spoken languages in the world! Also known as Bahasa Indonesia (which simply means the 'language of Indonesia'), it is mutually intelligible with Malay and is spoken by nearly 250 million people worldwide. Besides Indonesia, there are also Indonesian speaking populations in the Netherlands, the Philippines, Malaysia, Australia, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, East Timor, Saudi Arabia, Suriname, New Caledonia, and the US.

Once a lingua franca in the Indonesian islands, it was eventually made the official language. It is spoken by virtually all of Indonesias 240 million people as a common language in the workplace, in formal education, by the national media and for other forms of communication. As a nation of more than 300 native languages, most Indonesians also speak other local or regional languages (including Minangkabau, Chinese, Sundanese, Javanese and Balinese) as a first, second or third language. These local and regional languages also influence the Indonesian language to create a wide range of local dialects and slang that may deviate from the national standard.

By most standards, it is relatively easy to learn Indonesian. Grammar is relatively easy, the language is written using the Latin alphabet and is generally phonetically consistent. In fact, Barry Farber claims it is the easiest language in the world to learn! Some vocabulary has been borrowed from Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese, Sanskrit and Tamil. There aren't as many resources to learn Indonesian as the more popular languages, but they are growing.

A podcast for learning Indonesian with dozens of lessons and blogs on Indonesian language and culture. There are also premium lessons for a fee.

This excellent site for learning Asian languages has extensive links for vocabulary, grammar, conversations and dialogs, news, culture, and links to more resources.

Audio and video lessons to learn Indonesian. There is text, audio (native speaker) and video, including phrases, vocabulary and grammar. All are also available in downloadable formats.

Learn Indonesian at Babbel.com
Babbel provides tutorials for introduction to basic Indonesian along the possibility for using Indonesian in chats and email exchanges with native speakers via Babbels large online community of language learners.

Book/Audio Combo
Teach Yourself Indonesian
The longstanding Teach Yourself series has always had the widest variety of languages. The Teach Yourself Indonesian coursebook comes with two audio cd's with lots of native speaker audio. There is plenty of dialogue, vocabulary, phrases, and some grammar. An inexpensive and easy to find introduction to learning Indonesian. Use this in combination with other free or inexpensive courses for a more comprehensive approach to learning Indonesian.


This inexpensive software program to learn Indonesian is a great tool to have in your arsenal. Lots of vocabulary and phrases, dialogues, audio from native speakers, games, activities and much more to get you started. This works great in combination with just about any other course.

Pimsleur Indonesian Comprehensive Level 1
I love the Pimsleur method for an introduction to a language, especially the 30 lesson comprehensive courses. You can't go wrong using it, but you will certainly need to combine it with another course that has some grammar and is more vocabulary-rich like Teach Yourself if you want to be more fully steeped in the language. To learn more about Pimsleur, read my review of Pimsleur courses.

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