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Learning Indonesian - Lessons? Phrase Books? Apps?

Andrew Michaels

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  • Added on: November 12th, 2010
I'd like to pick up some Indonesian while I'm in Bali. Is it a hard language to learn?

Can you suggest:

1) A phrasebook to help me learn?
2) Any good Iphone apps to help me learn?
3) Anyone take lessons in Ubud or anywhere else? Any good places to learn?


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Joined: November 19th, 2004

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  • Added on: November 14th, 2010
Indonesian is a fairly easy language to learn, I understand.

Its probably easy to find a tutor in Bali if you are interested.

I've found phrase books to be largely useless in a tourist sense, and mostly confuse me.

They're only good for pointing out phrases in the book so the person involved can read what you mean, since pronunciation is often a serious problem, especially for languages like arabic.

You end up repeating one word or a simple phrase until they actually understand you. They ARE good for learning how to pronounce a place name to a taxi driver, or the word "bathroom' or ' movie theatre' or whatever, repeated until they say-- Oh... ok.. Let me find someone who speaks English!!! or answer you in pidgin english, or, perhaps, do some pointing which you can get the idea of.

They are good for reading menus and non time determined things. Speaking to someone using a phrase book is awkward at best.

In short, they are helpful, but not at all an all around solution to communication. Better to take an intensive course in the language so you can talk Pidgin indonesian with people!!!!!
But thats just me.

Felix the Hat

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  • Added on: November 15th, 2010
Bahasa Indonesia is extremely easy. It's an artificial language based on Javanese, and was invented as a national language around the time of independence. The grammar is very straightforward, as is the pronunciation. It helps that it's written in Latin script too, so you don't need to learn a new alphabet.

I don't have any specific suggestions for grammar books or schools. I used the Lonely Planet vocabulary to start, and picked up the rest talking to Indonesians. You'll be doing a lot of this, as they are some of the most gregarious people I've met anywhere.


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  • Added on: November 15th, 2010
I would suggest the website. It has free and paid podcast lessons that you can download and listen to on an mp3 player. There are also PDF vocabulary lists which you can download. The free lessons are enough to get you going.

Ken Rinjani

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  • Added on: December 4th, 2010
I am Indonesian, can teach you Bahasa when u interested in using our language while staying in Bali. Bahasa Indonesia is so easy to be learned, so u can practice it from the first day u landing in Bali.

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