How to Speak Indonesian
Before you learn Indonesian grammar or vocabularies, it is essential that you learn how to speak Indonesian first. Each language has its own system of sounds which is unlike that of any other language. When you begin to learn a new language, you must learn to make distinctions which are not made in your own language, and you must learn to articulate in a way different from that to which you are accustomed. Correct pronunciation and the ability to distinguish new sounds do not come automatically, but are achieved through a process of comparison and imitation, as we lead you to do in the exercises in this and the following lessons. The ability to articulate like an Indonesian will come from constant imitation of the sentences and sounds spoken on the tapes and spoken by your tutor.
In this section, we will give you a notion of what the sounds used in Indonesian are, how they are made, and how they differ from those used in English. And hopefully this could give you a slight idea of how to speak Indonesian.
a: In open syllables is pronounced more or less like the a in “far”.
For example: kata = word
In closed syllables it sounds like the English u in “but”.
For example: surat = letter
e: When unstressed is pronounced as the mute e in “open”.
For example: kelas = class
When stressed it sounds somewhere between the e in “bed” and the a in “bad”.
For example: meja = table
i: In open syllables is pronounced as the ee in “feet”.
For example: kita = we
In closed syllables the sound is shorter, like i in “tip”.
For example: minta = to ask for
o: is pronounced like the a in “tall”.
For example: botol = bottle
u: is pronounced like the oo in “tool”, however with lips rounded.
For example: susu = milk
ai: The diphthong ai in open syllables sounds like the i in “fine”.
For example: sampai = to arrive
However the diphthong ai can also pronounced as two separate sounds a-i :
For example: lain = other
au: Has the same sound as ow in “how”.
For example: kalau = if
However in closed syllables it is two-syllabic.
For example: haus = thirsty.
Below is the video which could help you learn how to speak Indonesian based on the examples above: