Is mastering Indonesian Language hard?

I heard many times that Bahasa Indonesia is barely impossible to master if you are not living in Indonesia since you born. Is it actually true?

Well, Kinda. Bahasa Baku Indonesia (Indonesia Standard Language) is very different when you want to use it everyday conversation. You can speak with other indonesian with ISL. but you wont understand the Indonesian when talking to you because they will put some word that is not in ISL (Indonesia Standard Language) like some slang in it. which make it a bit confusing.

example: Foreigner: "Makanan ini pedas sekali" (This food is very spicy) Indo: "Pedes banget iya kan?" (very spicy right?)

You see it? "Pedes" and "Banget" is not in Indonesia Dictionary because "Banget" is supposed to be "Sekali" which mean "Very" (in this case). while "Pedes" is "Pedas" which mean "Spicy".

In the end, Some Foreigner left confuse with the word. to learn indonesia slang, you need to live here since you are 5 years old. because at that time, your brain still developing and can easily pick up the slang words.

I want an opinion of you who learn Indonesian Language about this. is it true or not? does it hard to "master" the language?

August 25, 2018


When talking bahasa in Indonesians I have found that they quickly realise that my skills are limited and are happy to talk slower and repeat things for me. Also, most chatting (not including family) has been at markets and shops ... people who have some English so they are able to correct me. Mostly, they are happy to meet foreigners who make an effort to speak bahasa.

August 25, 2018

I think this is an issue on all laguages. For example, I can understand English speakers from the US very well and English people if they speak kind of "BBC" style, but it is harder for me to understand British people if they speak "cockney" or if they are Scots.

August 25, 2018

Yes, I think that's true for all languages which have their own difficulties.

Take French for example, and the sentence "He gives it to + pronoun.

To me : il me le donne. To you : il te le donne. To him : il le lui donne. "Il lui le donne" is impossible...

Why are the pronouns inverted for the third person ? I am French and I don't know... This inversion is also valuable for the plural.

August 25, 2018

Oh, that's just one of the most confusing things in French to me, maybe beacause I'm Spanish speaker and cannot resist the temptation of tranaslate word by word. "il lui le donne" = literally "él él le da" in Spanish, which is a funny nonsense if you put it in that form.

August 25, 2018

I gave this example because I think it is one of the most complicated things in allday French.

The right form is : il le lui donne.

Di este ejemplo porque creo que es una de las más complicadas cosas en francés de todos los días.

La forma correcta es: il le lui donne.

August 27, 2018

I don't agree with this. I think bahasa gaul (everyday Indonesian) is easy to master if you live in an area where not a lot of people speak English. I lived in a rural area in East Java for two years, and I rarely spoke ISL at the end of my time there. Everyday Indonesian changes depending on where you live in Indonesia. Someone who learns Indonesian in Jakarta will use Jakartan Indonesian ("lu" = "kamu", dll.), while those that learn Indonesian in East Java will throw in more Javanese words ("monggo", "inggih", dll.). Sometimes, it is easier to learn everyday Indonesian instead of ISL because everyone around you speaks bahasa gaul/bahasa sehari-hari, and not ISL.

August 26, 2018

Everyday Indonesian will always be a bit easier because many of the grammar rules are ignored and, more importantly, you have the advantage of context from real situations. Online courses have to provide properly constucted sentences. Context from spoken sentences also overcomes idioms. Imagine translating, How are you going? I am well ... vs. I am going by train. ISL must be taught by these courses. As soon as people travel to Indonesia and mix with locals they would easily pick up the differences.

August 26, 2018

My Indo is still quite limited, but each time I visit Indo I hear slang and slowly add it to my vocab ... without learning that these new words are slang. I agree that it is unlikely that these works can be learnt from books or courses ... simply because they are not covered frequently enough due to their geographical use.

August 26, 2018

Same. I know quite a bit of slang for the place I tend to visit (Medan). I've been adding it to my vocab for a while, and in some ways I know the slang better than the normal words!

August 28, 2018

Good question !

August 26, 2018

If you want to master everything like speaking, writing, reading, listening and all grammar rules involved I would say yes.

September 8, 2018

Changing vowels is quite common and not too hard to understand once you pick up on it. Otherwise words are just swapped for others. When a completely different language is used that is harder, sometimes though they will mix language or some words are quite similar. English is a good other language to have as so many words are forms or directly from English.

May 10, 2019
Learn Indonesian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.