Why Australians Learn Indonesian
Nowadays there are more and more Australians who learn Indonesian language. Bahasa Indonesia (or Indonesian language) is spoken by over three hundred million people as either their first or second language. Together with an understanding of local culture and customs, an ability to speak Indonesian language is an important key to communicating effectively with people living in the Indonesia archipelago and the neighboring countries of Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore. Hence studying Indonesian language means you will be able to communicate with more than three hundred million Indonesians, only a small percentage of whom are able to speak English. The Malay language is also a close relative to Indonesian. You can therefore understand both languages with ease since there are only minor differences in vocabulary. Therefore, learning Indonesian gives access to about three hundred million people—including those in Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei.
Australia is a multicultural country that understands the importance of learning languages other than English. Indonesian language is a popular language in Australia, and many Australians take the opportunity to learn Indonesian language at school and universities. Therefore the Australian Government has announced a nearly $65 million dollar funding increase for its Asian languages program, including Indonesian language, which provides greater opportunities for Australian school students to understand and engage with the region. It is because the Australian Government realizes that the key to strengthen the relationship between Australia and Indonesia is to become familiar with the Indonesian language, which has been taught at schools and universities in Australia for many years.
Linguistic Reasons to Learn Indonesian
Indonesian language is one of the easiest languages in the world — honest! Learning Bahasa Indonesia would be a valuable experience in itself, and what’s more: you can pick up the basics within just a few weeks. Below are a few reasons why it is so easy to learn Indonesian:
- No tenses. Unlike the English language, Indonesian language has no tenses at all. Adding time indicators (like tomorrow, 2 days ago, now, etc.) and aspect markers into your sentences will do.
- No genders or cases. Unlike in German, Indonesian language has no genders or grammatical cases attached to the nouns.
- Simple plurals. Unlike in German, plurals are very simple in Indonesian. You only need to repeat the noun (e.g. bahasa ? bahasa-bahasa), or adding quantitative indicators (e.g. many, few) into the sentence (e.g. banyak bahasa ? many languages).
- A simple system of word formation. Indonesian has a straightforward system for combining words with prefixes, suffixes, and infixes to create new words. For example: satu means one, whereas bersatu means to unite (i.e., to make into one). This means fewer words to memorize and you can (sort of) mix-and-match words to form your own word. The catch is that some words cannot be combined with some prefixes or suffixes, but you’ll learn that it’s simple.
- Uses the 26 letters of the Roman alphabet, which means that there is no need to relearn the alphabet, or use special software to type.
- Consistent spelling. Indonesian is very phonetic, just like Italian. Every character is consistently spelled the same way in any word, with only very few exceptions.
- No Tones and simple stress patterns. Unlike in Chinese, Indonesian language has no tone in pronunciation. No matter where you put the stress, people will still recognize the word and understand the sentences.
- Sentence form is easy to understand. Indonesian sentence structure is similar to English: Subject + Verb + (Object). So, you can easily form sentences in Indonesian language.
Very simple, isn’t it? Now you can see why learning Indonesian language is really worth it, especially when you plan to travel to Indonesia and the neighboring countries in the near future.
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