How difficult is Indonesian?
I have read that Indonesian is rather easy to learn, the grammar is very simple, there are no plurals, and once you learn a word it has many functions. However I have also read a contradicting view that Indonesian is hard to learn, the only reason that was given is that they speak simplified Indonesian that is essentially all the words shortened (example tidak=tak or something like that)
Your thoughts/experiences are most welcome
I'd say formal Indonesian is quite easy to learn for a English native speaker. It has it's quirks (for example, "No plurals" is not quite correct. The concept of pluralisation is quite irregular in Indonesian, but you can often get away without pluralising anything) but is simple to learn enough to get by - due to absence of case, gender etc.
The other perspective is also correct, but in my experience you will pick it up gradually through interacting with people. For example I initially freaked out, thinking I'd never remember all these exceptions, when I learnt that words like "capai" were often shortened in a variety of ways ("cape", "capek"). However on actually hearing my wife use them, it seems like an obvious contraction.
The particles are still mostly beyond me though.
Plural in written language is often like this house=rumah, houses=rumah2 but the main problem is the mixture of Sundanese and bahasa Indonesia, especially in areas like Bandung (West and Middle Java) but there is a difference in when you use cape, capek, capai, lelah (all tired), cause the feeling in all cases is different. tired from work, tired cause your body is not feeling well, etc gives a different result
you know why it is so easy? cause the indonesian in the street hardly cares about pronountiation. they have no difficulty to understand foreigners using their language. they even have a name for the way (especially english speaking) people pronounce their language "bahasa bisu"
Indonesian is one of the easier languages to learn...However, if an Indonesian want you to understand they will speak formal Indonesian if they don't want you to understand they will probably swop to what ever is the local language of the island they are on be it Balinese, Javanese, Sasak..... What you find is Indonesian is the common language amongst all the islands. So big cities attract people from all over the archipelago so they converse in Indonesian. No plurals, no tenses no gender of words ...compared yo European languages it is a breeze.
indonesian is extremely easy to learn, I learned it on the streets of Bandung (only risk to mix Sundanese and Indonesian words). Anyone who knows the Dutch language has an advantage since a huge number of words are related to or exact Dutch words. Shortened words are mainly used in the general chat online, people do not say 'tak" in daily life, then they always will say 'tidak' online they also shorten to 'tdk' . The only thing is that partly by the poor the simplified version is being used but in contact with officials, parents, teachers etc the full version is used. Bacca (read in normal day life) Membacca in official language (including the prefix)
Bahasa Indonesia (the standard) is REALLY easy, with the hard parts going to vocabulary not found in Indo-European languages and the slight agglutination to words, but the agglutination isn't that bad as say, Hungarian, it's more to the lines of Esperanto. Indonesian slang (Bahasa Gaul), on the other hand, is where the difficulties you mention come in; as the slang isn't uniform throughout Indonesia as the slang here in the 'states.
according to a government study indonesian is of medium difficulty for native english speakers. however many indonesian people prefer to speak a dialect rather than the formal indonesian that they teach on duolingo, which is what that person probably meant when they say words are shortened.
the study can be found here:https://www.effectivelanguagelearning.com/language-guide/language-difficulty?fbclid=IwAR2CpYyppQkPWTPd_CjcGkBYIcLtHsrnTz3cIAnxmj2T9_5ry5OFoZg-l3I and a article on formal indonesian: http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20180703-why-no-one-speaks-indonesias-language