Do you even need to learn Bahasa Indonesia, which most people you know have not heard of and a language rarely taught anywhere?
Most prefer famous French, German, or Spanish. Or something ambitious like Chinese, Japanese, or Korean when selecting a language.
The popularity factors often narrow our decisions.
But there are many clear pros of learning a new language like Indonesian. The benefits outweigh any fears you may have.
Allow me to convince you that it is really worth picking up!
In this post, I have listed the 5 best reasons why you should learn this beautiful language.
Table of Contents
About the Languages of Indonesia
There are over 700 indigenous languages in Indonesia, almost 10% of the world’s languages. After Papua New Guinea, this is the second most linguistically diverse country in the world.
During independence in 1945, the government made Indonesian the national language to improve communication in the vast island country.
Today, this language is the best way to interact here, and it serves its original purpose. Most people here are bilingual, and many speak, to varying degrees, in three or four languages.
The Indonesian is part of the western branch of the Malayo-Polynesian group of the Austronesian family.
This is the fifth-largest language family globally by the number of speakers. Malay, Javanese, Māori, Samoan, Tagalog (Filipino), and over a thousand others are part of this group.
Today, over 200 million people speak Bahasa Indonesia, a standard form of Malay.
While it is the lingua franca, only 20% of the total population use it as their first language.
Javanese is the most common mother tongue. Still, Bahasa Indonesia is widespread since approx. 90% population understands it.
The standard version came from the language of its capital, Jakarta (Island of Java). The two vital languages, Javanese and Sundanese, have also influenced.
5 Reasons to learn Bahasa Indonesia
There are many excellent reasons to learn Indonesian. Here are the top five advantages of learning Bahasa Indonesia.
To be honest, there are much more than five. But to focus on the most important ones and limit the size of the article, I’m listing the top 5.
1. Connect over 200 million speakers
More than 270 million people live in Indonesia. This makes it the fourth most populous nation worldwide. Plus, Indonesian is the tenth most spoken language globally.
You can live in Jakarta, Bali, or other big cities without knowing Bahasa Indonesia. But your stay won’t be as comfortable as it could be.
By cutting yourself off from society, you will isolate yourself from it. Plus, you will miss the rich experience of other cultures.
If you aim to move to Indonesia to study or work with a long-term plan, you may want to learn it.
Although most youths speak English, you will still need to interact with locals from all walks of life. Thus, studying Indonesian will have a positive impact on business and personal relationships.
2. Increases job opportunities and salary
Why are so many people going to China to learn Mandarin?
The reason is simple — the booming Chinese economy and increasing job possibilities. Indonesia will experience the same thing in the next decade.
Growth in Indonesia’s economy means more employments. This is not only for the country but also for those who speak the language fluently. As a result, you can learn to pursue career goals.
It is the 15th largest economy by nominal GDP and the 7th largest GDP (PPP). It is the biggest economy in Southeast Asia, an emerging market, a key ASEAN member, and a growing industrialized nation.
The bilateral trade between Indonesia and India will touch $50 billion by 2025, with the figure already reaching $20 billion in 2020.
You will get a competitive edge if you combine language skills with other academic disciplines. This includes law, business, engineering, health, import, government, journalism, and the humanities.
This can open doors to a wide range of jobs in interpretation and translation. You can also become a tour guide, content writers, teachers, or find work in bpo, MNC, and export-houses.
You will increase the networking and contacts that can help you tap the market. And this can help you grow a business in the region where the language is helpful. This can indeed be a life changer.
3. Travel to beautiful Indonesia
Do you have plans for your next holiday?
Explore Indonesia, a land of countless spectacular wonders!
The natural beauty, low cost of living, exotic places, and diversity make it a dream destination for travelers.
The people are kind and fun-loving, and you will meet some of the most friendly people on the earth.
Every year, millions of foreign tourists visit this beautiful country from far and wide. It is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to discover this fascinating land that you can’t miss.
Tropical forests, pristine beaches, incredible mountains and volcanoes, spiritual temples, Rice paddies, historical sites, mystical landscapes… And flourishing markets, lively cities, delicious cuisines are some reasons to impress anyone.
Indonesia has many stunning destinations to offer tourists. Bali, Jakarta, Java, Sumatra, Yogyakarta, Sulawesi, Kalimantan, and the list is endless.
Language barriers should not prevent you from having fun.
You can still visit without speaking a single word in Bahasa Indonesia. But, knowing the language makes travel more pleasant and rewarding.
Some essential day-to-day phrases would help you travel with ease! It will allow you to explore the different regions, cultures, and lifestyles and open the door to genuine interaction with the natives.
Now you don’t have to use a dictionary or hire a guide when you arrive at the enchanting archipelago.
4. Gateway to other Southeast Asia languages
The two variants of Malay are Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Melayu. Both share the same language root, Malayo-Polynesian. And hence mutually intelligible to some extent.
Both are not dialects but two unique languages. Despite this, they are very similar and even closer than Spanish and Portuguese.
The grammar is almost the same. Yet, vocabularies, pronunciation, accents, dialects, and source of loanwords vary a lot.
For example, Indonesia is a former Dutch colony, so it has more influence from Dutch. In contrast, Malaysia is a former British territory. And so, Bahasa Melayu borrows from English.
There is also more importance of local languages on the Indonesian than Malaysian one.
So, suppose you know Bahasa Indonesia. If so, you will speak the Bahasa variant in Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, and some parts of Thailand and the Philippines. Of course, not entirely, but it will do the job just fine.
To sum up, the Indonesian language offers access to about three hundred million people in Southeast Asia.
5. It is relatively easy to learn
According to the research of FSI (Foreign Service Institute), Indonesian is one of the easiest languages to learn. In language difficulty, it is in category II.
This means to gain fluency, it takes 36 weeks or 900 hours. It doesn’t include self-teaching but only classroom education. So, double the time to 1800 hours.
Compared to other East Asia languages like Mandarin, Japanese, Thai, and Korean, Indonesian is an easy language to learn.
It is one of the few Asian languages that use the Latin alphabet. That makes it simpler than languages based on tonal variations and pictogram scripts.
Bahasa Indonesia is not a tonal language. You say it exactly like it’s written, so it’s pretty phonetic. There are no special characters and tricky intonations.
The sentence arrangement is simple — SVO (Subject – Verbs – Object). There are also many prefixes and suffixes like English.
The language is gender-neutral. There are no conjugations, plural forms, pronouns, case inflections, or tenses. The grammar rules are likewise easy to follow.
It comprises vocabularies borrowed from Sanskrit, Dutch, English, Chinese, Arabic. It further took words from regional languages like Javanese.
You will recognize many words and phrases if you already know one of such languages.
Like any other language, there are some challenging aspects, too.
For example, several local dialects exist as per the region and social status. So, it is hard to get all varieties. Further, the extra suffixes and particles make it a little complex and time-consuming.
You will still talk easily after a few months of intensive learning. You just need some motivation and a proper study plan to reach your goal.
Where to learn Indonesian?
Several educational institutions across the world are offering Indonesian courses. You can enroll in regular face-to-face programs.
For instance, JNU, a premier Indian university, runs a 1-year certificate (COP) and 1-year diploma (DOP) in Indonesian.
The Republic of Indonesia Embassy in Delhi and other cities conducts many short-term Bahasa Indonesia classes. The good news is that all non-native learners can take the courses for free.
You can save time and can take offline or online private lessons at your home or office from private tutors. There is also online language teaching websites or you can find one from local classified ads.
You can also register in various online courses or learn through some of the best language apps.
You can self-study too by taking the help of books, audio lessons, podcasts, YouTube videos, and online resources.
You can see that there are many good reasons to learn Bahasa Indonesia.
A few more motives like you can improve your brainpower, understand Indonesia better, and enjoy the movies and music in their original form.
It is also fun to learn, and you will make new friends too.
This is a unique ability that helps you stand out from the crowd. Because it is less common, this looks impressive on your C.V.
If you wish to study a South-East language, the evidence says you need to learn it now.
Do you have any plan to learn Indonesian? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.