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Learn Indonesian Fast

With Indonesia having the fourth-largest population globally, knowing the Indonesian language allows you to talk with more than 275 million people living in Indonesia and an estimated 8 million Indonesian diaspora living in over 120 countries. You can also speak Indonesian with Malay speakers from Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei Darussalam because Malay is the foundation of the Indonesian language.

Indonesian and Malay are called 2 distinct languages most of the time but they are also commonly combined as 2 variants of the same language. This is because both languages share similarities of up to 80%. The only difference is in the vocabulary. Malay tends to have more English loanwords while Indonesian has more Dutch loanwords. 

Indonesian is more globalized because it has loanwords from languages besides Dutch, like Sanskrit, Tamil, Hokkien, Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Portuguese, English, and regional languages in Indonesia. Because of the abovementioned facts, it is easy to learn other languages if you know Indonesian.

Indonesian grammar is fascinating due to its simplicity and logical structure. Here's an overview of some key aspects.


Indonesian is written phonetically without any silent letters. How you say it is how you write it. The Indonesian alphabet is the same as the English alphabet, without diacritics or non-Latin letters.

Word Order

The basic structure follows a Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) order, commonly found in most languages.


Verbs don't change for person, number, or time. The verb stays the same for past, present, and future tense. Time is indicated by adverbs, like "last year", "today", "right now", "next month", "later", etc. You can also use time indicators, like "already", "shall", etc.

There are verb affixes to make active verbs but they are often omitted and replaced by the basic form of the verbs in daily conversation. Most Indonesians speak Indonesian as a second language, resulting in unstandardized communication. Affixes are only mandatory in writing, such as textbooks and news articles.


There are inclusive and exclusive "we". Inclusive "we" means "speaker and listener". Exclusive "we" means "only the speaker". This is a characteristic of an Austronesian language, which doesn't exist in European languages.

Plurals and Gender

There is no concept of plurals, the context usually indicates the number. Gender is also not marked in the language. Instead, words meaning "male" and "female" are used.

Here are some tips to learn Indonesian fast.

1. Remember mandatory words

Use any way possible to remember the following categories of words.
  • Pronouns: I, you, we, they, etc.
  • Numbers: 1, 2, 3, etc.
  • Days of the week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.
  • Months: January, February, March, etc.
  • Time indicators: yesterday, today, tomorrow, etc.
  • Question markers: what, where, who, etc.

2. Learn commonly used verbs

Make a list of verbs that you often use in your daily life, like "eat", "drink", "go", "come", etc.

3. Learn commonly used adjectives

Such as "big", "fast", "beautiful", etc.

4. Practice making sentences from short to long sentences

Start with a word and add words step by step to make a longer sentence. For example, "I. I go. I go to school. I go to school today".

Overall, Indonesian grammar's straightforwardness is one of the reasons why it is considered one of the easiest languages to learn. You can learn it fast and easily even from a translator once you know the characteristics of the Indonesian language.


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