Indonesian / Bahasa Indonesia uses 26 letters of latin alphabet as its writing system.
Indonesian is highly regular in its writing system which makes it very easy to learn to read and write in Indonesian.
Table of Contents
The 1st lines are the Letters, the 2nd lines are how to read it in Indonesian way, the 3rd lines are how to read it in IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet)
Indonesian Pronunciation and Phonemes
- 8 different vowel sounds written with 5 different vowel letters
- 4 different diphthongs written with 4 combinations of vowel clusters
- 23 different consonant sounds written with 21 different consonant letters and 4 different digraphs
Vowels and Diphthongs
|Vowels||Variations in IPA Notations||Examples|
|e||[e, ɛ, ə]||desa [de.sa]|
|o||[o, ɔ]||dosa [do.sa]|
|Diphthongs||Variations in IPA Notations||Examples|
- Indonesian basic vowels (a, e, i, o, u) are pure vowels and not diphthongs
- Indonesian Diphthongs are written as vowels cluster / chain of vowels (ai, au, ei, oi)
- Vowel “e” has 3 different kinds of pronunciation, the closer form [e], the open form [ɛ], and the schwa form [ə]
- Vowel “o” has 2 different kinds of pronunciation, the closer form [o], and the open form [ɔ]
- The open and close form of “e” and “o” follow sound harmony we will discuss in Indonesian Vowel Harmony topic.
Consonants and Digraphs
|Consonants||Variations in IPA Notations||Examples|
|b||[b, p]||babi [ba.bi]|
|d||[d, t]||dadu [da.du]|
|g||[g, k]||gagu [ga.gu]|
|k||[k, ʔ]||katak [ka.tak]|
|x||[s, ks]||xenon [sɛ.nɔn]|
sinar-X [si.nar ɛks]
|Digraphs||Variations in IPA Notations||Examples|
- Indonesian has 4 native voiceless plosive consonants: p, c, t, and k. In English, they are pronounced aspirated in most cases and unaspirated in some cases. In contrast to English, In Indonesian, all of them are pronounced unaspirated constantly.
- Indonesian has 4 native voiceled plosive consonants: b, j, d, and g. If it is at the beginning of syllable or in the middle between vowels they are always pronounced as voiced plosive. But if they are at the end of the word, they are pronounced as voiceless plosive, like p, c, t, and k.
- Indonesian has 2 sibilant plosive consonants: c and j. They are pronounced at front area of the mouth at alveolar area [t͡s] and [d͡z]. They are not like in English which ch, j and g are pronounced in the postal-alveolar or palatal area (middle area of the mouth) as [t͡ʃ] or [d͡ʒ]. So Indonesian “c” and “j” will sound more like English “s” or “z” in English not like English “ch” or “j” which sound in the English in “sh” ([ʃ]) area. These notations are one of most common mistakes in most Indonesian literatures which define Indonesian “c” and “j” as [t͡ʃ] and [d͡ʒ], since postal-alveolar area is considered unnatural in Indonesian Language. That’s why normally native Indonesian Speakers which are late to learn English as a foreign language normally has difficulties to pronounce English “sh”, “ch”, “j”, and “g” correctly, which English speakers may notice the difference when Indonesian people start to speak English.
- Indonesian “f” and “v” are pronounced voiceless like English “f” and not like English “v”.
- Consonant “q” and “k” have the same sound. Consonant “q” are only used for loan words or names.
- Consonant “x” are also only used for loan words or names. Indonesian assimilated foreign words with “x” sounds normally written as “ks”, especially for words where “x” are at the end of syllables, for example “ekspor” instead of “expor” as the assimilated word of “export”. Words where “x” are at the beginning with syllable, “x” are still written as it is but pronounced normally as “s”.
- Indonesian has 4 kind of nasals: m, n, ny, and ng. They follow Indonesian Consonant Harmony for prefix conjugations.
- Digraph “kh” and “sy” are mostly used for words originated from Arabic. The pronunciation are pretty vary in Indonesian, many people even pronounce “kh” as simple as “h” and “sy” as simple as a consonant cluster or chain of “s” and “y”. Pronounce it as “kh” as [x], and “sy” as [ç] or [ʃ] are considered unique or difficult even for many native speakers.
— © Efelti 2021. All Right Reserved