Skip Navigation

Notes on Indonesian Pronunciation, Stress and Grammar

1. Pronunciation

Vowels

 

English Pronunciation

 

Indonesian Words

 

Meanings

 

a

 

father

 

apa

 

what

 

i

 

neat    

 

minum

 

to drink

 

 

 

bid

 

Indonesia

 

Indonesia/Indonesian

 

e

 

-let
-but

 

-teh
-tentu

 

-tea
-definite, sure

 

o

 

-caught
-book

 

-sore
-ayo

 

-afternoon
-let's, bye

 

u

 

soup

 

duduk

 

to sit

 

 

Diphtongs English Pronunciation

 

Indonesian Words

 

Meanings

 

ai        

 

-day
-ice

 

-sampai
-baik

 

until, to arrive
good

 

ay

 

 

 

ayam

 

chicken

 

au

 

-know
-out

 

-saudara
-mau

 

sibling, family, you (formal)
to want, to be going to

 

 

Consonants English Pronunciation

 

Indonesian Words

 

Meanings

 

b

 

boy

 

baik

 

good

 

c

 

next year

 

coba

 

to try

 

d

 

dog

 

dari

 

from

 

f

 

foot

 

maaf

 

sorry

 

g

 

good

 

gedung

 

building

 

h

 

house  

 

harus  

 

must

 

j

 

Goodyear

 

jalan

 

to walk, street

 

k*

 

skate   
uh-oh

 

kata
duduk

 

word
to sit

 

l

 

lazy     

 

lagi

 

more, again

 

m

 

mother

 

minum

 

to drink

 

n

 

nothing

 

nilai

 

value, grade

 

p*

 

spin

 

permisi

 

to be excused, permission

 

q*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

r*

 

rolling 'r'

 

rumah
pergi
kabar

 

house
to go
news

 

s

 

say

 

saya

 

I (formal)

 

t*

 

stay

 

tinggal

 

to live, stay

 

v*

 

           

 

 

 

 

 

w

 

well

 

wah

 

wow

 

x*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

y

 

you

 

ya

 

yes

 

z*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes

  • In Indonesian p t k care unaspirated, meaning they are produced without a strong burst of air.
  • k at the end of words, for instance in the word duduk 'to sit' is a glottal stop like the sound that occurs in 'uh-oh.'
  • q occurs on words mostly borrowed from Arabic, however, Indonesian speakers usually pronounce q with k like in 'skate.'
  • ris pronounced with a trill (rolling 'r').
  • v occurs in loan words (words borrowed from other languages) but is usally pronounced with 'f.'
  • x occurs in loan words but is usually pronounced with 's.'
  • z occurs in loan words but is usually pronounced with 'j.'

 

Other Consonants

 

English Pronunciation

 

Indonesian Words

 

Meanings

 

ng

 

song

 

ngomong
mengapa
bingung

 

to say, to talk (colloquial)
why
to be confused

 

ngg

 

finger 

 

tunggu

 

to wait

 

ny

 

canyon           

 

bertanya

 

to ask (a question)

 

sy

 

lease your house

 

tamasya

 

to have a picnic or vacation

 

2. Word Stress

  • For more than one syllable word the stress falls on the second to the last syllable of a word. When that syllable carries a weak vowel, for instance a schwa (?) (in 'but'), the stress will fall on the last syllable. Stress syllables are written in capital letters.
E.g.

 

seLAmat

 

'safe, congratulations'

 

 

 

KAlau

 

'if'

 

 

 

mengerTI

 

'to understand'

 

 

 

sauDAra

 

'sibling, you (formal)'

 

 

 

tenTU

 

'definite, sure'

 

 

 

perGI

 

'to go'

 

3. Brief Notes on Grammar

  • Word order for Noun Phrases:
  • Modifiers (e.g. noun, adjective and personal pronouns, etc.) come after head  nouns.
e.g.

 

toko buku

 

'store – book'

 

à

 

book store
 

 

buku besar

 

'book – big'

 

à

 

big book

 

 

 

buku saya '

 

'book – my'

 

à

 

my book

 

Tense is not marked in the verbs. Tense and aspect are marked by independent words (adverbs of time, auxiliaries/time markers, etc.) or determined by contexts.

  • Common sentences consist of a subject and a predicate.

Source: John Wolff,  et.al. Beginning Indonesian through Self Instruction, 1992

To print this page, select "Print" from the File menu of your browser.