Overview of Indonesian

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Overview of Indonesian

by Vremita Desectia

Learning to speak Indonesian is not as difficult as you think. The rules are so simple, it has no gender, no agreement with plural/singular noun and genders and case and time, and it is easy to pronounce.

As far as I know, the most problems that non-Indonesian-speakers have, are the prefixes, suffixes, and circumfixes.

I don’t give much of those forms of the language in this book, I only give the basics.

I admit it; it is difficult to understand the prefixes, suffixes, and circumfixes. Even the students in the junior high schools seldom get an A+ for Indonesian.

Did I say ‘to understand’? Well, in the spoken language it does not matter (mostly) about the usage of the prefixes and we can understand people well. But if you’re in an Indonesian school and you get the Indonesian subject. Well you have to think in Indonesian then.

Another problems in learning Indonesian: it has a lot of formal and informal forms.

But don’t worry, since we only use the formal forms in a very formal situation (formal speech, ceremonies, etc) and formal-written-Indonesian (newspapers, etc) and in poetry.

Indonesian also has ameliorative and pejorative words, and the use of these words depends on the subjects. Example:

mati = die (natural sense)

we use these words to say ‘die’ but we say, “who dies”?

-mangkat = King

-gugur = soldier (die in the war, etc)

-wafat = good men (die because of old age)

-meninggal dunia = good men (die because of illness)

-tewas = people who die because of suicide, homicide, accident, etc.

-mampus = bad people, e.g a robber who dies because the police shot him

*for animal, just use the natural sense ‘mati’.

And if you’re talking in Indonesian and you don’t know what to say, just use the natural word and people will understand you. It’s all right; it’s just the sense.

If you’re a tourist and you want to ask some help from Indonesians, don’t worry about using formal form or informal form because the words are both grammatically right; it’s just the sense, and we Indonesians can understand you well.

Good luck in learning Indonesian.

(vremita_desectia [at] yahoo.com)

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Dr. Jennifer Wagner

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