Appendix 1. Guide to Pronunciation  (click here for extra reference)

It's not very difficult to pronounce bahasa Indonesia in a way that it's understood by even those who never come into contact with foreigners. Remember to keep it simple. Certain sounds we use in English and European languages do not occur in Indonesian at all. Unfortunately, those of us who have grappled with French, Spanish and German are often tempted to pronounce the word as it may sound in another language. For example, selamat datang ("welcome") does not rhyme with the well-known orange-like juice that accompanied astronauts into space. It also is pronounced with only about four discernible syllables, not five.

With this simple guide, the novice speaker of Indonesian should be able to avoid most of the traps of basic communication.



Spelling Example Description
a apa always a long a as in "father" (never "bad"or "bang")
e bécak like a in "make"
e ke,empat like a in "sofa"
i pagi,itu like ee in "see" but shorter (never like "hit" or "hike")
o kopi like aw in "law", but shorter
u susu like oo in "food", but shorter

speaker.gif (931 bytes) Click on the word to hear it pronounced.

Spelling Example Description
ai pandai somewhere between "pay" and "pie"
au tembakau like ow in "now"
oi amboi like oy in "boy"
oe Soeharto old spelling, still used in names, pronounced as oo in "food"
ua uang like "wa" in "Walla-walla, Washington"

speaker.gif (931 bytes) Click on the word to hear it pronounced.

Consonants (the easy part)
Spelling Example Description
b bawah same as b in "bungle" but spoken more softly. At the end of a word may be more of a soft p.
c bicara similar to ch in "church"
d duduk like d in "bed". At the end of a word may sound more like a soft t
dj djarum old spelling still used in names, pronounced like j in "jump"
f foto like f in "fan"
g garpu like g in "dog"
h hari similar to h in "hope"
j jalan like j in "jump"
j djaja old spelling still used in names, like y in "yard"; look for other old spelling clues in the name (like oe, dj)
k kabar like k in "kite" when not at the end of a word. At the end of a word, pronounced like a soft g or glottal stop.
kh akhir like clearing your throat or German "ach"
l lima similar to l in "like"
m minta like m in "main"
n nama like n in "noon"
ny nyamuk like ny in "canyon"
ng dengan like ng in "singer" (not "finger", that requires ngg)
ngg tunggu like ng in "finger" (not "singer")
p pukul similar to p in "pool" but without the puff of air
q        is not used much in Indonesian words but does come up in Arabic words used in Indonesia (for example, Istiqlal). When it occurs, qu is pronounced as qu in "queen".
r kiri like a softly trilled Scottish or German r. Never a hard American, Australian or Canadian r.
s selamat similar to s in "seven"
t tujuh like t in "let" but without the plosive quality (it's sometimes difficult to differentiate between spoken t, p and d)
tj Tjoakroaminoto old spelling still used in names, pronounced like ch in "church"
v visa rarely used, like v in "visa" but softer
w awas between w in "wane" and v in "vane"
x         not used. In foreign words, often replaced with ks as in taksi.
y yang like y in you
z zat like z in "zone", often replaced with, and pronounced like s

speaker.gif (931 bytes) Click on the word to hear it pronounced.


Page created by Andi, last edited 01/01/13