Indonesian Pronunciation

Learn Indonesian language: Free online Indonesian course

Learn the basics of Indonesian Pronunciation

letter pronunciation example meaning
A car aku I (informal)
B bar bola ball
C cheese, but softer, as in Italian ci, ce cinta love
D day dua two
E an opened one: French les nenek Grandma
a semi-opened one: end elang hawk
a closed one: opened embun dew
F fun foto photo
G good gadis girl
H hard, hush hotel hotel
I film ikan fish
J judge (Arabic ج) janji promise, to promise
K kind kata word
L law lampu lamp
M mother mimpi dream, to dream
N new novel novel
O an opened one: of, ball (as in Arabic ر,ق) omong to say (informal)
a closed one: old orang man, people
P pure pandai, pintar clever
Q quality Quran The Koran
R trilled like Italian, Spanish r, like rrrrrrrrright (Arabic ر) rumah house
S sand surat letter
T time  
U good, blue uang money
V viva voli volley
W hard one: wave wafat to die (polite)
soft one: swing waktu time
X extreme xerofit xerofit
Y hard one: you, yard yunior junior
soft one: sounds like long ee (Arabic ي) yatim kid who does not have father
Z zorro, not like Italian z (tz), but like bee sound zzzz (Arabic ز) zigot zygote

Double Consonants

Double Consonants Pronunciation Example Meanings
kh Arabic ﺥ khusus specific
ng singing English song senang to be happy, glad, cheerful, pleased
ngg mango, anggar anggun posh, beautiful, la serenit
ny Sonya (name), Italian Signore nyanyi to sing
sy Shy, Italian scendere syarat requirement

Indonesian Diphthongs

Diphthongs Pronunciation Example Meaning
ai I, find, Italian hai baik good, well, nice
au now, Raul, Italian naufragare (like Arabic و) mau to will, want (informal)
ia Italian, la mia bianca scia siang afternoon
iu future, Italian pi, giustizzia cium kiss, to kiss
oi boy, voice, Italian noi Amboi! Wow!, “Gosh!”
ua Italian la sua suara voice


Note: Some Indonesian words have double vowels, such as saat (time, when..), bait (a paragraph in a poetry).

Sometimes, a word has ‘triple diphtongs’, like beliau (he, she, polite), sesuai (suitable). You have to pronounce all the letters, because Indonesian pronunciation does not ‘swallow’ any word of its words.

There are more diphthongs in Indonesian, but these are the most important.

You may also be interested in:

Dr. Jennifer Wagner

PhD in Applied Linguistics, ESL/French teacher, author of two French books, and helping others to learn languages online at