Learning Indonesian in the Netherlands
Hello! I have begun this month to learn Indonesian. The family of my father had lived at Java for a long time, until they left the island in 1949 to move to the Netherlands. I'm curious how learning Bahasa can help me (and my family) to connect with Indonesia again. I visited Java and Bali last september and I was impressed! My native language is Dutch. Are there any Dutch students active here?
Yes I do! Hearing the sounds of the words brings my late grandfather to my mind. He never talked Malay to me, but the rithm and accent of his Dutch pointed clearly to his eastern descent. I discover now that background, that was always there, but never discussed. By learning Bahasa I try to give to that present silence literally sounds and words!
Hi Archie, i am really pleased to hear about your desire to learn Indonesian. I would prefer that you do not refer to it as "Bahasa" because that just means Language, please just call it Indonesian or Bahasa Indonesia. Also - if your grandfather was in Java in the mid 20th century, he may have spoken a bit of Javanese also. It would be also a little incorrect to refer to Indonesian as Malay, as that would be like saying Dutch and Flemish are the same. Malay and Indonesian are kind of like 85% compatible but the Malay accent, especially now, is very very different to the accent that you will hear in Jakarta spoken by teens.
But Flemish and Dutch ARE the same. They are recognized as the same language in every Linguistics department of every university in the world. Moreover, the Belgian Constitution and the Flemish laws always use the word Nederlands ('Dutch'), never Vlaams ('Flemish').
I am not implying by this that Malay and Indonesian are the same language, I don't know enough about them to have an opinion, I am just saying that your comparison wasn't the most accurate.
Yes, I am. I am doing the Indonesian tree for similar reasons. My partner was also born in Indonesia but moved here when he was four, a bit later than your father. He was on one of the last ships out, if not the very last. I have never been to Indonesia but would love to go sometime in the future. My partner has gone back a number of times. He especially loves Bali. I don't know if he speaks Indonesian, actually, other than using Indonesian vocab for some things and using Dutch words that only 'Nederlands-Indische' people use. (f.i. 'luitjes', to address a group of people).
Hi Archie - I wrote to you below, but I thought I would give you a better explanation as to my experience. Firstly, I have a wife who was born in Sumatera and I have two half Indonesian kids. I also have really long and meaningful friendships with Indonesian people, mainly in Sumatera, but friendships that have spanned decades. What I would say to you about connecting to Indonesia is that just by making an effort to speak their language, it will be respected. IF you really want to get to the heart of the issue - they love white people who take the time to learn their language, and they will be VERYYYYY forgiving of any mistakes you make. They are a very happy and easygoing people and the best way to reconnect with your history is to go there and understand how they think so you can understand their psyche. I wish you the best on your language journey. I have been a student of Bahasa Indonesia since I was 6 years old and I am 37 now, even now there are some forms of vocabulary and terms that I struggle with but managing a relationship, family life, friendships, getting stuff done is all at your fingertips if you speak Bahasa Indonesia well.
You can learn bahasa Indonesia at the Indonesian Embassy in Den Haag for free. I study Indonesian and Javanese in Jogjakarta at a certified school. Meaning that they can issue certificates that have value in Indonesia. For learning Indonesian a dictionary is not enough and you need also know the grammar. Here at Duolingo you learn only sentences. There is no theory and no explanation why certain words in certain sentences can not be used even if the dictionary says otherwise. And as you probably know from your family, Indonesians are more polite in their speaking and never direct as we Dutch are. So if you really want to speak Indonesian very well, it is almost always in passive voice. When I translate the English sentences here into the passive voice it is considered wrong. Oh and one more thing, but someone in here already told it; bahasa is not Indonesian language. It is indeed often heard and used, especially in the Netherlands. But it is wrong. Bahasa means language (taal). Like: bahasa Inggris, bahasa Belanda, bahasa German,
Thank you for your comments TJR! Let me share with you my strategy. Once I have finished the Duolingo course Indonesian, I hope to to have acquired enough background to be able to listen to (very) easy audio books and videos. After this, I hope to move to simple real life conversations with Indonesian and Indo people in the Netherlands. Obtaining an official qualification for mastery of Indonesian is of course very nice, but not (yet) my goal. If you have any suggestions for me for titles of simple audio books, please let me know!
"You can learn bahasa Indonesia at the Indonesian Embassy in Den Haag for free" - I have checked the website. That course starts next month and is fully booked, but language coach Aries has also posted some great videos about learning Indonesian in the Netherlands. Thanks TJR!
Sama-sama mas Archie. (your welcome). There is a lot to find at youtube. My Javanese teacher advised me to search for Javanese songs with subtitles. That way I come familiar with the Javanese sound. There wil be something similar in Indonesian as well. It is just finding it. Leerboek Indonesisch van Hein Steinhauer is a very thorough book accompanied with an audio CD. That boek has been used at Leiden University. And another tip; you can practice Indonesian at several toko's (in Den Haag) with staff that are Indonesian. In Amersfoort at Sally's Kitchen (restaurant) are also Indonesians working.
Wow, I have a very similar situation: I’m Dutch and although I was born in the Netherlands, my family (on my dad’s side) has lived on Java for generations, until they moved at the end of the 50s. I started learning Indonesian on Duolingo partly because of the family history, but also because I will be visiting Java and Bali next week! And same, although my grandmother only spoke to us in Dutch, there have always been some Indonesian words we’ve been using of which some of them I recognise in the lessons and makes me a bit sentimental!
Ah you are leaving for Indonesia! First time? I was there last september, for the first time. Java and Bali, 17 days. It was amazing to be there, albeit that the set up of the tour was a bit touristic. Trip with train and bus. But stil amazing. It was good to be back, if you understand what I mean
Thank you Archie, it was amazing and "good to be back" indeed! We probably did a similar route: starting in Jakarta and traveling towards the east of the island while visiting the places where my father and grandmother were born, as well as exploring the nature and getting to know that the people over there are so so kind! We did all of the traveling and organizing ourselves and finally ended up in Bali to spend the last couple of days relaxing before heading back to Europe.
Hope that one day I have the opportunity to go back, especially Java in particular has stolen my heart!
Hey Kelly, great to hear from you and your trip! Yes, I have followed the same track (Jakarta-Bali) , but it was organized by NRV travel. Not very adventurous, but very time saving. I liked most our visits in the Yogya and Malang region! I hope to become good enough in Indonesian to be able to read simple books / newspapers. That is for me the best way to move forward. But before that, I must first finish the dry exercises of the duolingo course..
Hello, I'm Flemish, but that's close to Dutch isn't it? I'm learning Bahasa Indonesia because I want to learn Arabic influenced languages. Unfortunately I have not a single Indonesian to talk to. So beautiful you're learning it to get close to your roots, I wish you luck!