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Family in Indonesia: How to Say Indonesian Mother and More!


Any language student is going to recognize this assignment:

Write a paragraph about your family. Say how old each person is and give their names.

Perhaps it’s a ho-hum writing prompt, but it serves a really important purpose. As it turns out, people talk about their families all the time—and they definitely ask others about theirs.

In Asian cultures, the family usually plays a much more important role than it does in Western cultures. This makes it practical to know how to talk about the family tree in Indonesian, fluently. Are you aware of all the vocabulary and usage that you’ll need in order to truly understand how Indonesians talk about their Indonesian family tree? Below you’ll find all the information you need about Indonesian family terms and the family culture in Indonesia!

Table of Contents

  1. The Family in Indonesian Culture
  2. Describing Your Immediate Family
  3. Your Extended Family
  4. New Family Members: Indonesian Love and Marriage
  5. Using Family Words with Ordinary People
  6. How IndonesianPod101 Can Help You Learn Indonesian Well

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1. The Family in Indonesian Culture

Parent Phrases

When it comes to family values in Indonesian culture, Indonesian families tend to be closer to eahc other than those in Western countries. It’s very likely that people living in a larger house might have three generations under one roof.

Also, families tend to be bigger. The average household size for the USA was 2.6 people in 2018, while in Indonesia it was 3.9 in 2013. However, more and more parents are choosing to have just two children, particularly in urban areas.

The notion of a family representing a close bond is so strong in Indonesian, that a few hundred years ago, the polite way to address someone on the street was saudara ini—literally “this sibling!”

Children are expected to be respectful toward their elders, and that respect holds true even if some family members work overseas, which many do. The sense of connection that an overseas Indonesian has to his or her own family “back home” is quite strong, and many people will make the choice to forego extra savings in exchange for being able to physically travel back to Indonesia when they can.

2. Describing Your Immediate Family

Family Words

Even if we limit ourselves to just what most Westerners consider a family, don’t be surprised to find that there are quite a few more words here than you’d expect.

Let’s start with parents. A mother is called ibu and a father, bapak. I’m going to put most of the new words in this article into simple sentences so you get an idea of how these words actually work in context.

  • Nama ibu Fitri, dan nama bapak Hary.
    “The mother’s name is Fitri, and the father’s name is Hary.”
  • Bapak berusia 40 tahun, dan ibu berusia 39 tahun.
    “The father is 40 years old, and the mother is 39 years old.”

Now for “children,” or anak.

  • Saya punya dua anak kecil.
    “I have two small children.”
  • Anak saya suka susu.
    “My child likes milk.”

Indonesian Children

As is quite common in languages around the world, Indonesian doesn’t have separate words for male and female children. Thus a son is a “male child” (anak laki-laki), and a daughter is a “female child” (anak perempuan).

Indonesian words for family also describe older and younger siblings with different words. Note the words for “male” and “female” making an appearance again.

Older Younger
Brother Kakak laki-laki Adik laki-laki
Sister Kakak perempuan Adik perempuan

That’s about it for the nuclear family in Indonesian. But English doesn’t stop there, and neither does Indonesian.

3. Your Extended Family

The first thing most people think of as “extended” family is the grandparents. The word for “grandmother” is nenek and “grandfather” is kakek. Be sure not to confuse kakek with kakak!

Local languages all over Indonesia have their own words for grandparents, which we won’t get into. But in urban Jakarta, the words are actually opa and oma, instead of kakek and nenek. They’re holdovers from the Dutch colonial times, when certain words filtered down into the Indonesian language. Indonesian is a flexible language! Check out some of the slang words for family members when you’ve got a moment.

  • Nenek di mana?
    Di belakang rumah.

    “Where’s Grandmother?”
    “In the back of the house.”

Then we naturally have “grandchildren,” or cucu. Naturally, you can add laki-laki and ­perempuan here to be more specific as well.

  • Saya punya tiga cucu—dua laki-laki dan satu perempuan.
    “I have three grandchildren—two boys and one girl.”

The word for “cousin” is sepupu, and it doesn’t change based on age or gender. Any child of your parents’ siblings is a sepupu.

Lastly, in Indonesian you would call your “aunt” your bibi and your “uncle” your paman. Here there are again shades of Dutch influence, because some people continue to call their “aunts” tante and their “uncles” oom instead.

  • Tante Rere bekerja di mana?
    “Where does Aunt Rere work?”

Now let’s take a quick look outside the family…

4. New Family Members: Indonesian Love and Marriage

Man Putting Ring on Woman's Finger at Wedding

What do you call your sweetheart in Indonesian?

Many things, probably, though one of the most common pet names is Sayang. Strangely enough, it also means “unfortunately”! Trust me, the two meanings never overlap.

When you’re in a relationship, you call your significant other your pacar, and occasionally you’ll also see the word pasangan meaning “romantic partner.” Neither of these terms is gendered, keeping with the rest of the Indonesian language.

After the wedding (the pernikahan), the two parties are suddenly called suami meaning “husband” and istri meaning “wife.” This is often considered the moment when a person becomes an adult in Indonesian culture.

In fact, there’s a common question that people ask in Indonesia that would be rather rude in Western cultures.

  • Sudah menikah?
    “Are you married yet?”

Culturally, the only two acceptable answers to this are belum meaning “not yet” or sudah meaning “yes, already.” It’s either happening sometime or it already has—it would really throw people off to answer directly in the negative. Indonesians who are used to attending family reunions understand that this question comes left, right, and center.

In English, there are, of course, new names for parents after marriage—namely, the “in-laws.” Indonesian actually has words that map pretty directly onto the English equivalents, so you don’t have to do any memory games or mental gymnastics to figure these out.

One’s “parents-in-law” are known as mertua, regardless of whether they’re on the bride’s or groom’s side. And then “siblings-in-law” are known as ipar, with the same sort of freedom.

To be specific about their gender, you do the same thing we did above to describe siblings and children: add laki-laki for men, and perempuan for women. For parents-in-law, use bapak and ibu respectively instead, but you have to put them before the word mertua. Let’s clear this up with a couple of examples.

  • Ibu mertua saya tidak suka kue.
    “My mother-in-law doesn’t like cake.”
  • Saya punya dua ipar laki-laki.
    “I have two brothers-in-law.”

You’ll note that the structure of these words is different for each category: ibu mertua is literally talking about “a type of mother” while ipar laki-laki, since the word order is switched, means “a male sibling-in-law.”

Better get used to these family words for talking about your family in Indonesian, because they’re not going away…

5. Using Family Words with Ordinary People

Two Women Talking

Okay, here’s an extremely important part of speaking Indonesian that we’ve kind of glossed over up until now.

It’s a very normal part of polite Indonesian to use the words bapak and ibu when addressing or speaking to others.

  • Permisi, Bapak?
    “Excuse me, sir?”

But building off of that, you actually use these words instead of the pronoun Anda or “you.” Generally, you’ll use a very truncated form, where bapak becomes pak and ibu becomes bu.

  • Apakah Ibu mau lihat?
    “Do you (polite, female) want to see?”

And although this article is about Indonesian, we can’t bring up this point without introducing a tiny bit of Javanese. The largest of Indonesia’s cities are all on the island of Java, so people living there usually grow up bilingual in Indonesian and the local variety of Javanese (a related but different language).

Two words from Javanese appear quite constantly in Indonesian: mbak and mas. These mean “sister” and “brother” respectively, and they’re used with young people the same way ibu and bapak are used with older people.

  • Halo Mas, dari mana?
    “Hey man, where are you from?”

These words are also the accepted way to call servers over at a restaurant.

  • Permisi Mbak, minta bill.
    “Excuse me, ma’am, I’d like the bill.”

6. How IndonesianPod101 Can Help You Learn Indonesian Well

Family Quotes

Now you might be thinking: If you don’t personally have a handful of bibi and a couple of cucu laki-laki running around, what good is it to know all this vocabulary?

Well, for one thing, you certainly don’t need it to simply get by. Besides somebody asking if you’re an only child (anak tunggal) or not, you could live a fruitful life in Indonesia without ever talking about a sister-in-law.

But here’s the thing—Indonesians use these words like second nature. Any TV dramas, folktales, or epic poems that you’re interested in? They’ll be using these words all the time. “So and so’s brother betrayed so and so’s father, and I had to band together with my cousin to stop them!”

As I mentioned before, Indonesian family winds through Indonesian society. Being in good graces with somebody’s family is a fantastic social lubricant—they like you, you like them, everything just seems to go right when you’re together.

That can happen without knowing the language, of course. But when you go the extra mile to really understand the culture, it opens doors you could only dream of.

To learn more about the culture in Indonesia, and of course the language, visit us at Read our insightful blogs posts, listen to our podcasts, and even upgrade to Premium Plus and take advantage of our MyTeacher program to learn Indonesian with your own personal teacher.

Your hard work will pay off, and you’ll be speaking Indonesian like a native before you know it! Let us know how this article helped you, or contact us with any questions.

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Top Indonesian Phrases for Travelers


Everybody knows about the beautiful beaches and temples of Bali. Millions of people flock there every year, and the island is developing at an incredible speed.

Did you know, though, that there’s a whole lot more to Indonesia—frequently referred to as the country of 1,000 islands—than just Bali?

And the beautiful thing for the tourist who wants to see it all is that the effort to promote the national Indonesian language has been enormously successful. The vast majority of Indonesians are perfectly bilingual in at least one local language as well as standard Indonesian.

So the visitor with Indonesian phrases for travelers under their belt gets to avoid the hassle of learning multiple local languages, and instead gets to experience the benefit of using the national language wherever they go.

And the benefits of knowing basic Indonesian travel phrases are many.

Table of Contents

  1. What it’s Like Speaking Indonesian in Indonesia
  2. Top Useful Travel Phrases to Get You All Around Indonesia
  3. Conclusion: How IndonesianPod101 Can Help You Learn More Indonesian

1. What it’s Like Speaking Indonesian in Indonesia

Basic Questions

Before you learn travel phrases in Indonesian, there are a few things you should know.

Many language learners tend to complain that the locals switch to English instead of speaking their native language. Nobody wants that—it’s embarrassing and makes you feel like you don’t know anything at all.

It’s true, though, that if you’re in Jakarta or Denpasar and you approach someone in a Starbucks and speak broken Indonesian to them, they’re probably going to use English with you just to save time and effort on your part. Can’t blame them.

English ability is considered very trendy in Indonesia. Not only are a lot of people actively studying English at school, but popular culture in English is commonplace.

You may be wondering, then, why you should learn travel phrases in Indonesian at all! But hope isn’t lost for the learner of Indonesian. Venture outside of a built-up area and you’re likely to meet plenty of people who are far more comfortable speaking Indonesian than English.

Even in Bali, a quick motorbike ride outside the cities will bring you to small towns where you’ll have to speak Indonesian to ask for directions or get a bite to eat.

And if you speak Indonesian confidently and competently, even fluent speakers of English are likely to continue in Indonesian with you from small topics to big ones.

In particular, if you can speak some Indonesian in touristy cities, you’ll set yourself apart from the crowds of English-only visitors and bring a smile to some faces.

Now that you know a little background and context on the topic, let’s get to our list of essential travel phrases in Indonesian!

2. Top Useful Travel Phrases to Get You All Around Indonesia

1- Greetings

Survival Phrases

Naturally, when you’re going around Indonesia, you won’t want to just barge into a conversation without starting it off politely.

The most common greetings in Indonesia are based on the time of day, or more accurately, the times between different calls to prayer (known as azan, which change very slightly month to month). However, they line up pretty nicely with English equivalents, and are some of the most useful Indonesian travel phrases (everyone’s happier after a nice greeting!).

  • “Good morning!”
    Selamat pagi!
  • “Good afternoon!”
    Selamat siang!
  • “Good evening!”
    Selamat sore!
  • “Good night!”
    Selamat malam!

Once you’ve met someone multiple times, the selamat gets dropped, and just saying the time of day is adequate. You’ll notice that the vowel sound usually gets stretched out for this.

  • “Good eveniiiiing!”

Woman Grabbing Someone's Attention

When you’re just trying to get someone’s attention, the greeting isn’t necessary—just say “excuse me” and add the correct pronoun.

  • “Excuse me, sir…”
    Permisi, Pak…
  • “Excuse me, ma’am…”
    Permisi, Bu…

Pak and Bu are short forms of bapak and ibu, meaning “father” and “mother” respectively. The short forms are used as polite pronouns for people older than you.

If you and the other person are both young (or you’re much older), then you should use mas for men and mbak for women.

  • “May I ask…”
    Bolehkah saya tanya…
  • “Goodbye!”
    Sampai jumpa!

2- Shopping

Indonesia is developing fast, and in any city you go to, you’ll have a choice between shopping at smaller markets and shopping at enormous malls. Generally speaking, people working in malls have better English, but definitely don’t count on it.

In any case, it’s incredible how far you can get with just a few simple words.

  • “This one, please.”
    Yang ini.
  • “Thank you! Thanks!”
    Terima kasih! Makasih!
  • “Thank you very much!”
    Terima kasih banyak!

Two Women Examining Clothes

Seriously, the phrases and Indonesian words for travellers above are the bare bones of any commercial interaction. What if you want to expand a little bit on what you’re trying to say?

  • “I really like this!”
    Saya sangat suka yang ini.
  • “This is so beautiful!”
    Ini cantik sekali!
  • “Do you have a bigger size? / Do you have a smaller size?”
    Apakah Anda punya yang lebih besar? / Yang lebih kecil?
  • “I’m looking for jeans size 32/34.”
    Saya mau jeans dengan ukuran tiga puluh dua/tiga puluh empat.
  • “Can you make it any cheaper?”
    Boleh sedikit lebih murah?
  • “Okay, I’ll take it!”
    Oke, saya ambil yang ini.

3- Dining Out

The same general advice about English ability applies to restaurants as well as other shops. The smaller and more out-of-the-way the place—and the older the person behind the counter—the less likely it is that they’ll be able to speak English to you.

You may be glad to hear that lots of menus actually have English on them, even outside of tourist areas; this fits with English being a trendy language.

The simplest way to order is to simply point at the menu. Indonesians like to put pictures on their menus, so even locals are used to pointing. When you do so, say something like this:

  • “One of these, and two of these.”
    Ini satu, dan ini dua.
  • “Do you want it spicy? / Do you want peppers? / How many (peppers)?”
    Mau pedas? / Pakai cabe? / Berapa?

I enjoy spicy food, but I strongly recommend that you try one or even “half” (setengah) before confidently saying that you want several peppers. The Indonesian peppers are something else!

The word pakai here is occasionally pronounced as paké, especially in Javanese-speaking areas. It literally means “to wear” and it’s used when you’re asking or answering a question about what you’d like included with your food. You’ll often hear it with the yes-no tag question, like so:

  • “Add rice, right?”
    Pakai nasi, nggak?

One of the biggest tests of your listening skills is the following question, usually delivered at breakneck speed on account of its frequency:

  • “For here or to go?”
    Makan di sini atau dibungkus?

After you order, the most common thing is for the cashier to simply say the price, instead of saying, for example, “the price is…” beforehand.

  • “Twenty-three thousand.”
    Dua puluh tiga ribu.

Here’s an all-purpose compliment you can use after your meal, practically guaranteed to win a smile:

  • The food was excellent!”
    Makanannya enak sekali!

Man Full After Good Meal

Suppose it wasn’t so good, though? Lots of Indonesian food isn’t far from what’s normal in Western countries, but sometimes you may be offered a particular concoction of hot peppers and marinated eggs that you’d prefer to pass on. The polite way to decline is as follows:

  • “Maybe next time.”
    Mungkin lain kali.

Some people might also say Mungkin besok, where besok literally means “tomorrow.” But it’s important to know that Indonesians more often than not use it to mean “any time in the future.” This is also true of its counterpart kemarin meaning “yesterday.”

  • “The restaurant that we went to yesterday (or before) was better!”
    Resto yang kita pergi kemarin lebih bagus!

4- Transportation

Preparing to Travel

Taxis are becoming less and less common in Indonesia as more and more people use ride-sharing apps.

Instead of Uber, the two main ride apps are called Grab (a Singaporean company) and Go-Jek (a homegrown Indonesian venture). Both offer car rides as well as much cheaper and faster motorbike rides.

Foreigners can easily download these apps and simply pay with cash instead of using an e-wallet.

However, you may not be comfortable ordering a ride by yourself with a new app and having to communicate with the driver. In that case, simply ask someone nearby to order one for you on their phone. Better do this politely!

  • “Can you help me order a Grab/Go-Jek?”
    Bolehkah Anda membantu saya memesan Grab/Go-Jek?
    • The word Grab is written the same as its English counterpart, but pronounced gréb.
  • “I want to go to the Hotel Omah.”
    Saya mau ke Hotel Omah.

If you’re going back to a place you know well, but your driver does not, then you’ll have to direct them a little bit.

  • “Turn left here, then make a U-Turn.”
    Di sini belok kiri, terus putar balik.

Taking a Taxi

There’s a great line dance song, actually, which is perfect for memorizing kiri (left) and kanan (right). It’ll stay in your head for a loooong time!

Public transit is, unfortunately, not as developed as the rideshare economy. Many bus stops are poorly marked, and it can be quite uncomfortable to wait in a bus while an endless stream of motorbikes cuts your driver off.

But they sure are cheap! Long-distance bus rides can take advantage of the new highways that are frequently being opened across Java, cutting transit time to big cities to a fraction of what it used to be.

  • “Does this bus go to…?”
    Apakah bis ini pergi ke …?
  • “Where can I buy a ticket?”
    Di mana bisa beli tiket?
  • “I want two tickets to … please.”
    Saya mau dua tiket ke …

Remember to include a “thanks” (makasih) after even little transactions like this one!

5- Emergencies

Indonesian cities usually have a “police station” (kantor polisi) in every district, as well as police boxes on major intersections. Officers don’t tend to patrol, though speed traps are pretty common. “Private security” (satpam) is pretty common, and they may be able to help you contact authorities in times of need.

  • “Where is the police station?”
    Di mana kantor polisi?
  • “I have to call the police.”
    Saya harus menelepon polisi.

Each medium-sized city will have a number of “hospitals” (rumah sakit) and “clinics” (klinik), and usually at least one “International” hospital, which generally has some English-speaking staff or translators. Don’t count on this in smaller cities, though.

  • “I’ve got to get to the hospital!”
    Saya harus ke rumah sakit!

At “pharmacies” (apotek) you can describe your symptoms and get “over-the-counter medicine” (obat), no problem. The most important word is sakit which means “pain,” or “painful.”

  • “My head hurts.”
    Saya sakit kepala.
  • “Do you have medicine for a sore throat?”
    Ada obat untuk sakit tenggorokan?

In the case of asking for things in a shop, you wouldn’t use the construction apakah Anda punya or “do you have,” but instead the construction ada…? which means “is there…?”

6- Compliments

Why are you in Indonesia, why are you learning Indonesian, and how come you speak it so well?

You’re definitely going to get questions like these. Fortunately, you can use the same stock answers every time and nobody will ever know—plus, you’ll get so good at delivering them that people will be more and more impressed!

  • “I really like Indonesian food.”
    Saya sangat suka makanan Indonesia.
  • “I’m interested in the culture of Indonesia/Southeast Asia.”
    Saya tertarik dengan budaya Indonesia/Asia Tenggara.

Remember that, in Indonesian, you’re interested “with” something instead of interested “in,” as in English. What would interest you so much that you’d want to learn the language?

  • “I like learning languages.”
    Saya suka belajar bahasa-bahasa.
  • “Indonesian is very beautiful!”
    Bahasa Indonesia indah sekali!

To be honest, compared to other Asian languages, Indonesian isn’t particularly difficult to pick up the basics in.

Two Women Having a Chat

For that reason, locals don’t tend to lavish praise on foreigners who can speak it. Instead, the foreigner with some linguistic ability will often hear this phrase:

  • “Have you been in Indonesia long?”
    Sudah lama di Indonesia?

To which you can answer:

  • “No, only a few weeks.”
    Tidak, hanya beberapa minggu.

3. Conclusion: How IndonesianPod101 Can Help You Learn More Indonesian

World Map

And for those few weeks, it’s amazing what you can end up learning to say in Indonesian!

Do you feel more prepared to travel in Indonesia with these Indonesian travel phrases? Or are there still some you’re struggling with? Let us know in the comments!

Why stop here with these simple phrases? You’ll absolutely be welcomed if you stop at a little warung or “small restaurant” and ask about the food—particularly if you tell them it’s delicious.

There are plenty of foreigners who have lived in Indonesia for a long time, and just slowly picked up the language without the need for much study.

Of course, if you’re into puzzles, learning the nuances of the prefixes and suffixes hinted at in this article is a challenge for anyone.

All that goes to show that travel phrases are really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to language knowledge.

There’s no time like the present to dive deeper, especially if you commit to a reliable and engaging language-learning program such as IndonesianPod101.


Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a HubSpot certified content strategist, copywriter, and polyglot who works with language learning companies. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing & more.

Count One, Count Many with Indonesian Numbers


I remember that one of the hardest things for me when I was actually living in Indonesia was using numbers automatically.

Anybody can count through the numbers to ten in Indonesian—you can pick that up on the plane ride over.

When you actually have to use these Indonesian numbers, though, things are probably a bit more tight. It’s probably hot, and there’s probably somebody behind you in line who doesn’t care at all that it’s your first time in an Indonesian restaurant.

Can’t you just feel their gaze on the back of your head?

Well, probably not, because Indonesians are famously polite and patient. Nevertheless, it’s not a situation you want to be in. You want to have those numbers down pat.

And the best way to learn numbers in Indonesian is to have a good solid review. So, what are the numbers in Indonseian and how can you use them?

Let’s go over numbers in Indonesian, starting from square satu.

Table of Contents

  1. The Number System – Zero to Ten
  2. Numbers 21 – 99
  3. Bigger and Bigger Numbers
  4. Ordinal Numbers in Indonesian
  5. Phone Numbers
  6. Prices
  7. Using Prices and Numbers as Conversation Starters
  8. Conclusion

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1. The Number System – Zero to Ten

Indonesian Numbers

If you’re new to Indonesian numbers, you’ve got a lovely surprise coming. The counting system in Indonesian is extremely simple and regular, perhaps more so than the vast majority of systems around the world.

Indonesians use the Arabic numerals widely seen all over the world, even in a traditional script like Javanese or Balinese. Only in the most formal or ritualistic occasions will you ever have a chance to see the traditional numbers in Indonesian written out, and so we won’t cover them here.

Here’s how to count in Indonesian:

English Indonesian
“Zero” Nol
“One” Satu
“Two” Dua
“Three” Tiga
“Four” Empat
“Five” Lima
“Six” Enam
“Seven” Tujuh
“Eight” Delapan
“Nine” Sembilan
“Ten” Sepuluh

Now let’s have a look at counting in Indonesian beyond that. First we’ll look at the names for the numbers themselves, and then we’ll examine something that can trip up a lot of first-time learners.

English Indonesian
“Eleven” Sebelas
“Twelve” Dua belas
“Thirteen” Tiga belas
“Fourteen” Empat belas
“Fifteen” Lima belas
“Sixteen” Enam belas
“Seventeen” Tujuh belas
“Eighteen” Delapan belas
“Nineteen” Sembilan belas
“Twenty” Dua puluh

So go back and look at “ten” there, sepuluh. Look familiar?

In Indonesian, when we count “one of” something, we almost always use the prefix se- instead of saying satu in front of that thing.

And instead of having unique words for most numbers like in English, or saying the equivalent of “six ten four” (64) like in Chinese, Indonesian is actually counting how many of each “digit place” you have. Let’s look at an example.

So the root behind “ten” is puluh, and therefore when we have “one ten” we’ll say sepuluh. Belas is a little harder to find an analogue in English. If you want, you can think of it like “one ‘tens place’” but to be honest, simply memorizing these words may be just as effective.

The important thing is that you keep sepuluh or “ten” and sebelas or “eleven” separate in your mind. That should be easy once you take the next step:

2. Numbers 21 – 99

You’re now ready to make all the numbers in Indonesian up to 99. They follow a simple pattern, best explained through example:

  • tiga puluh — “thirty”
  • tiga puluh satu — “thirty-one”
  • empat puluh dua — “forty-two”
  • enam puluh enam — “sixty-six”
  • delapan puluh lima — “eighty-five”
  • sembilan puluh sembilan — “ninety-nine”

As you can see, we’re now counting puluh, so “four ten two” is the way to say “forty-two.”

That’s all we have to do all the way up to 99, and even beyond!

3. Bigger and Bigger Numbers

Calculator, Pen, and Big Numbers

Remember that satu puluh and satu belas always combine into sepuluh and sebelas. This pattern continues all the way to a billion! The second pattern of simply stating the numbers in order also continues uninterrupted.

  • seratus — “one-hundred”
  • seratus dua puluh sembilan — “one-hundred twenty-nine”
  • seribu — “one-thousand”
  • seribu tiga ratus empat puluh lima — “one-thousand three-hundred forty-five”
  • sejuta — “one-million”
  • semiliar — “one-billion”

Remember that miliar is much, much bigger than “million” in English. After miliar, Indonesian borrows internationally-used words for the absurdly large numbers.

Since they’re not as widely used, you don’t need to turn satu into a prefix anymore. Simply say satu quintilliun and people will understand perfectly. For writing numbers in Indonesian for all of the rare and huge numbers out there, go ahead and check this handy guide for the spelling rules.

English uses “millions” or “hundreds” as shorthand for saying the exact number when something is “a lot.” How can you do that in Indonesian if words don’t have plural forms?

All you need is the suffix -an. Observe:

  • Ratusan orang di Bandung tinggal di Jalan Srikandi.
  • “Hundreds of people in Bandung live on Srikandi Street.”

The equivalent of “dozens,” then, is puluhan, literally “tens.”

  • Puluhan mahasiswa mengisikan jalan-jalan Jakarta.
  • “Dozens of students are filling the streets of Jakarta.”

That’s not the only thing we can fix to Indonesian numbers.

4. Ordinal Numbers in Indonesian

Ordinal numbers (first, second, third, etc.) are an absolute breeze in Indonesian. Let’s get “first” out of the way first:

pertama — “first”

This word can comfortably fit after any noun, like so:

  • Ini mobil pertama yang saya punya.
  • “This is the first car I’ve had.”

After that, we simply add ke- as a prefix to any other number and get the ordinal form. Here’s a full list.

English Indonesian
“First” Pertama
“Second” Kedua
“Third” Ketiga
“Fourth” Keempat
“Fifth” Kelima
“Sixth” Keenam
“Seventh Ketujuh
“Eighth” Kedelapan
“Ninth” Kesembilan
“Tenth Kesepuluh

When writing out numbers in text, especially big ones, that ke- is attached to the digit with a hyphen.

  • Ini abad ke-21. (kedua puluh satu)
  • “This is the twenty-first century.”

5. Phone Numbers

Phone Number on a Slip of Paper

The phone number system in Indonesia is quite different from that of Western countries. Many people have two phones, or a phone capable of dual SIM cards. You keep one number for actually placing calls, and have another phone for data. Then you swap out your data card every few months with a new one after it expires. Don’t worry, this is simple and easy at any phone store.

Phone numbers begin with the country code +62, then a city/region code, then a personal phone number that can vary in length. Some are ten digits, and some are eleven, depending on when you got your number and if it’s a mobile or landline.

Enough cultural notes for now, though. Let’s look at the language.

The first big difference in how to say numbers in Indonesian is that the number “zero” is read as kosong (literally “empty” when translated) when reading out phone numbers.

The second is that “eight” (delapan) is often truncated to lapan. If you’re not expecting it, it can really throw you off!

Here are a couple of phrases you can use to ask people for their numbers.

  • Apa nomor teleponmu?
  • “What’s your phone number?”
  • Nomorku kosong empat lima…
  • “My number is zero four five…”
  • Maaf mbak, satu kali lagi — kosong empat lima apa?
  • “Sorry miss, one more time — zero four five what?”

Unlike in English, each number is read out individually, not combined into two-digit numbers.

English and Indonesian have a couple of false friends when it comes to talking about phones. A “SIM card” in English is not a “SIM” in Indonesian; that’s what they call a driver’s license. To buy a SIM card, you’ll need to ask for a kartu ponsel.

Similarly, a mobil in Indonesian might sound a lot like “mobile phone” in English, but it’s the word for “car.” A cell phone is called HP, read as if you’re simply reading out the letters. It’s also known a little more formally as a ponsel, short for telepon selular or “cellular telephone.”

6. Prices

A Rupiah
Indonesia uses the rupiah, which is currently at around 14.000 to the US dollar. There are coins and bills, divided into several sizes as follows.

  • seratus rupiah — “100 rupiah”
  • dua ratus rupiah — “200 rupiah”
  • lima ratus rupiah — “500 rupiah”
  • seribu rupiah — “1.000 rupiah”
  • dua ribu rupiah — “2.000 rupiah”
  • lima ribu rupiah — “5.000 rupiah”
  • sepuluh ribu rupiah — “10.000 rupiah”
  • dua puluh ribu rupiah — “20.000 rupiah”
  • lima puluh ribu rupiah — “50.000 rupiah”
  • seratus ribu rupiah — “100.000 rupiah”

What a list! It might seem overwhelming now, but it’s the same numbers we’ve been working with all through the article.

When you go shopping or ask for the bill in Indonesia, people say these numbers fast. Interestingly, it’s just as common for people to say the equivalent of “thirty-five” as it is for people to say “thirty-five thousand rupiah.” Some people will be explicit and some not, but you’ll pick it up fast enough to avoid being confused for too long.

By the way, it would be a good idea for you to practice speaking that list aloud at natural speed, just so that when the opportunity to talk about money comes up, you won’t feel lost for words. Here are some phrases to help you along:

  • Berapa harganya?
  • “How much is it?”
  • Harganya seratus tiga puluh enam ribu.
  • “The price is one-hundred and thirty-six thousand.”
  • Berapa?
  • “How much?” (a little more informal)
  • Kok mahal!
  • “Whoa, that’s expensive!”
  • Bisa lebih murah tidak?
  • “Can it be made cheaper?”
  • Bagaimana kalau seratus ribu dua puluh?
  • “How about one-hundred and twenty thousand?”
  • Delapan puluh, boleh tidak?
  • “Eighty-thousand, how about it?” (informal)

One more word you should be aware of is pas. It means “just right” or “exactly.” You’ll hear it more often than you use it, which is when you give exact change. Have a look at this exchange:

Clerk: Enam puluh ribu lima ratus rupiah, mbak.
“Sixty-thousand and five-hundred rupiah, ma’am.”

You: Enam puluh ribu… ah, punya lima ratus.
“Sixty-thousand…ah, I’ve got a 500.”

Clerk: Pas, ya?
“Exact change.”

You’ll notice that I threw in a little mbak there, which is essential to understand when you deal with people in the service industry. It’s a little filler word used for politeness, and even though I’ve translated it as “ma’am,” it isn’t nearly as formal as the English equivalent.

The intricacies of these pronouns deserve a lesson all of their own, but I’ve included them here because they may confuse you if you’re listening intently for numbers and nothing else.

In short, men will hear bro, mas, or pak, and women will hear sis, mbak, or kak depending on their ages and locations in Indonesia. You should do your best to match that polite pronoun when speaking in return.

7. Using Prices and Numbers as Conversation Starters

Huge Mall

There’s a lot to be said for language practice in unlikely places. When I lived in Indonesia, I used convenience stores as one of my main sources of conversation practice—without wasting anybody’s time.

In Indonesia, you’ll probably find yourself in convenience stores a lot because they’re air-conditioned and they have cold drinks. Usually, there’s a sale on with a big MURAH! or “cheap” sign next to it.

Your mission is to ask about the terms of the sale, especially if it might be something you’re interested in. Can you buy water bottles by the case? Is one brand of toothpaste deeply discounted? Ask about these things in Indonesian!

Then, to really get numbers in your mind, think out loud as you weigh the pros and cons of participating in the sale. Not only does this give you more time in the air conditioning, it also gives the clerk an opportunity to check your math.

You: Empat puluh ribu, lima kotak, jadi sepuluh ribu sekotak.
“Forty-thousand, five boxes, that’s ten-thousand a box.”

Clerk: Maaf pak, sebenarnya delapan ribu sekotak.
“Sorry sir, that’s actually eight-thousand a box.”

8. Conclusion

The single best way I’ve found for actually learning the meanings of numbers in other languages is to force myself to use them. I know it’s really, really easy to just skip over them when you read, and automatically convert the digits to your native language in your head.

When you do that, you’re robbing yourself of the practice you need.

All it really takes is a couple of minutes of practice every so often—probably the only part of language-learning that can be so described!

As you go through your IndonesianPod101 lessons, ask yourself what the lesson numbers were in Indonesian. As you browse through Indonesian news or Twitter, check the dates of the articles, if not the numbers in the articles themselves.

Every little bit helps, and the more you do it, the better you become.

Are there any Indonesian numbers or number-forming rules you’re still confused about? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll do our best to help you out!

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Sorry in Indonesian: Language-specific Phrases

When I was little, I always hated getting in trouble at a friend’s house.

Something about being in a slightly unfamiliar environment made the feeling of shame and embarrassment ten times worse.

It’s kind of the same when you have to apologize for something in a foreign language, right?

You’re completely out of your comfort zone, to begin with, and now you’ve gone and messed something up to the point where you’ve got to rely on your language skills to get you out of trouble, and say sorry in the Indonesian language.

Lucky for you, if you land into trouble in Indonesia, you’ve already got an advantage.

Indonesians are extremely accommodating and are more often than not perfectly willing to let an altercation go without so much as a raised voice.

But you don’t want to just rely on the goodness of others, do you? You want to do the right thing and own up to your mistakes. As you learn to say sorry in Indonesian, lessons like this one will greatly benefit you!

To that end, here are the words, phrases, and grammar you’ll need to pull off a flawless apology in Indonesian. Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your Indonesian Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

  1. Saying Sorry for Small Things: The Magic Word Maaf
  2. Saying Sorry for Big Things
  3. Everything’s Okay: How to Accept an Apology
  4. When to Apologize in Indonesian Culture? Hint: All The Time.
  5. Conclusion

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1. Saying Sorry for Small Things: The Magic Word Maaf

3 Ways to Say Sorry

As you learn how to say sorry in Indonesian, vocabulary is the first step. The simplest word for apologizing is maaf. As you may recall, the doubled letter means that you pronounce it with a little hitch in your voice, like in the English word “uh-oh.”

The word originally comes from the Arabic word mu’aaf, which means “exempt.” Over time, the word entered Malay, and eventually Indonesian.

It’s pretty versatile for four little letters! Let’s take a look at some of the ways it can be used.

1- As an Exclamation

When you learn how to say sorry in Indonesian language, simple apologies are a good place to start. If you bump into someone, you can say something like this:

  • Oh! Maaf!
    “Oh! Excuse me!”

And just like the English phrase “excuse me,” which has a few meanings, you can also use maaf to get someone’s attention. Not always, though. The cultural norms here run pretty deep, so let’s break down what it means.

You use maaf to ask for attention when the person is your superior. In a class, for instance, students will usually prefix their questions with maaf, and they’ll certainly do so if they’re about to go use the bathroom or take a phone call.

There’s another word, permisi, which also means “sorry,” “excuse me,” and “please let me by.” You use permisi to get attention from a serviceperson, or in other words, in a situation when you’re expected to need the attention or service of others.

Here, you can see how to use it in a restaurant:

  • Permisi! Minta bill ya.
    “Excuse me! I’d like the bill please.”

And now compare how you’d use maaf:

Man Complaining About Wrong Dish

2- With Particles

We already mentioned oh, maaf, but you can also use the particle ya, placed after the word, to indicate that the thing you’re apologizing for was a little bit serious (but there’s really no harm done).

  • Kok, lupa membawa surat. Maaf ya.
    “Whoops, I forgot to bring the letter. Sorry!”

This same ya is occasionally replaced by loh, particularly in informal written dialogue.

It sounds perfectly natural once or twice, but make sure you don’t add in the particle when something serious has gone wrong. The implication is that you’ll either fix the mistake, or that it wasn’t a big deal to begin with.

The particle ya can also be directly attached to the English word “sorry,” usually spelled sori in Indonesian to reflect its pronunciation. It’s even less serious than maaf ya!

3- As a Verb or Noun

By itself, maaf simply means “excuse” or something like “freedom from punishment.”

Just like most words in Indonesian, maaf can be made into a verb or noun with the careful use of prefixes. There’s a number of obscure words that can be made with the wide variety of Indonesian prefixes out there, but you only really need to know one.

When learning how to say sorry in Indonesian, grammar is essential. So here’s a tip: By adding the me- prefix and the -kan suffix, we get memaafkan, “to excuse.”

  • Saya tidak akan memaafkan kamu.
    “I’m not going to forgive you.”

Note that this doesn’t mean “to apologize.” For that, we use the phrase minta maaf, or literally “ask for forgiveness.” It’s most often paired with the two prepositions kepada and atas, which both have many meanings, but mean “to someone” and “for something” in this context. Let’s see how to say sorry in Indonesian phrases with some examples:

  • Saya harus minta maaf kepada istriku.
    “I have to apologize to my wife.”
  • Dia minta maaf atas apa yang dia melakukan.
    “He apologized for what he did.”

Man Apologizing to Woman

The polite and humble way to say “I apologize” (as opposed to “I’m sorry,” which is less serious) is simply Saya minta maaf. Adding mau, meaning “want,” helps it even further, in the way that you can say “I would like to apologize,” in English.

  • Saya mau minta maaf kepada kamu.
    “I want to apologize to you.”

Let’s get a little more serious for a moment.

2. Saying Sorry for Big Things

Say Sorry

It turns out that maaf works well all the way up the politeness scale, beyond “I’m sorry” in Indonesian.

To make it more serious, we’ll add a few more words to the sentence.

  • Saya benar-benar minta maaf.
    “I’m truly sorry.”

Benar means “truly” or “seriously.” Doubling it, or “reduplicating” in linguistic terms, intensifies the word. The effect is far more genuine than saying “I’m really, really sorry” in English. By the way, some people spell the word bener, but that’s looked down on as incorrect.

We can also swap out the word minta for the word mohon, meaning “to beg.” They mean almost exactly the same thing, but mohon is a more formal word associated with speechmaking and writing.

  • Saya mohon maaf atas kesalahan saya.
    “I beg forgiveness for my mistakes.”

Indonesian is relatively special among world languages in that it doesn’t have a wide set of vocabulary to express different levels of the word “apologize.” Instead, there are additional phrases around a single root word.

For instance, there’s a particular formal phrase used in religious ceremonies related to apologies, and it still includes that same word maaf.

  • Mohon maaf lahir dan batin.
    “I apologize for my life and soul.”

You wouldn’t use this outside of religious contexts, which means it’s not actually an apology that you can use in daily life. It does appear on greeting cards for Ramadan, though!

So when things get more serious in terms of what you did wrong, it’s important to own up to your own faults and specifically say what your mistakes were.

Spell them out explicitly and use the same words we’ve been looking at, and you’ll see that you come across as a lot more serious and humble.

  • Saya mohon maaf atas kesalahpahaman hari ini.
    “I apologize for the misunderstanding today.”

Stressed Woman on Phone

Kesalahpahaman, meaning “misunderstanding,” is one of my favorite words in Indonesian because it looks so different from its English counterpart yet ends up meaning exactly the same thing.

Salah means “wrong” and paham means “to understand.” The circumfix (a prefix plus a suffix) ke-an creates a noun from a root word, very much like “to understand” can become “an understanding” with the addition of a suffix in English.

Put all that together and you have a “misunderstanding!” This word is commonly used in speeches and newspaper reports, as it’s nice and long and impressive.

  • Saya bertanggung jawab atas semuanya.
    “I am responsible for everything.”

The ber- prefix here is a little bit hard to translate, and you’d be better off consulting a more complete grammar guide if it’s completely new to you.

Essentially, you’re saying that you have or possess whatever’s attached to that prefix. And in this case, that’s tanggung jawab, a set phrase meaning “responsibility.”

One word or two, that phrase is often paired with untuk or atas, meaning “for,” to explain, well, what you’re responsible for.

With this example, you’re responsible for semuanya or “everything!” That’s a lot of responsibility! It doesn’t take any changes to the phrase, though, to lessen that burden.

  • Saya bertanggung jawab untuk keterlambatan paket.
    “I am responsible for the package’s delay.”

Let’s have a look at what you can do to convince others that you’ve turned over a new leaf. You can’t just say you’re sorry and then keep on doing the same old things.

  • Saya tidak akan melakukan hal ini lagi.
    “I won’t do this thing again.”

We can, of course, bring in benar-benar at any time to really make our feelings clear.

Lagi means “again” and can be used for things happening again in the past or the future.

  • Saya lupa mematikan lampu dan AC lagi!
    “I forgot to turn off the light and the air-con again!”

This should keep you in the clear through whatever mistakes you might have made.

3. Everything’s Okay: How to Accept an Apology

Mother and Daughter Reconciling

Now, though, let’s look at a few cases where you’re on the opposite end of the apology. What can you say?

The catch-all phrase, interestingly enough, is very close to its English equivalent.

  • Tidak apa-apa.
    “It’s nothing.”

Tidak is one of a handful of commonly used words meaning “not.” This word, and this particular phrase, are so common that they often get shortened in rapid speech.

  • Gapapa.
    “No prob’.”

Very formally, you can respond to a request for forgiveness in the affirmative. Remember that we can turn maaf into a verb meaning “to forgive” like so:

  • Saya maafkan Anda.
    “I forgive you.”

No big deal!

4. When to Apologize in Indonesian Culture? Hint: All The Time.

It’s kind of a joke among foreigners living in Indonesia: in order to do anything politely, you have to first apologize for existing. Saying sorry in Indonesian culture is just a part of life.

Virtually every email or letter that makes a formal request will include the word maaf to show deference on the part of the person making the request.

And at the end of speeches or presentations, it’s customary to apologize for any misinformation or mistakes you may have inadvertently included.

  • …terima kasih. Saya minta maaf atas kesalahan apapun.
    “…thank you. I’d like to apologize for any mistakes.”

If you happen to be employed as a teacher, you may even feel frustrated as your students apologize for asking questions! Then again, teachers leading classes of foreigners have to get used to students simply asking without any formality.

  • Maaf Pak, tapi saya mau tanya…
    “Excuse me, sir, but I’d like to ask…”

Lastly, when you take your leave from a group, you’ll have to apologize as well. In some cultures, it’s normal to say something when you’re heading off, and in others no special phrase is necessary. But in Indonesia, it’s expected that you’ll say:

  • Maaf, saya akan pergi.
    “Sorry, I’m gonna go.”

Group Talking at Cafe

What if you don’t follow this? What are the consequences?

The thing is, Indonesians are almost never going to correct you for missing this cultural cue. However, you run the risk of slowly being perceived as ruder and ruder over time. People probably won’t be able to articulate why they think you’re not fitting in, but there’s always going to be something that separates you from others.

That’s why it’s so important to be aware of the kinds of cultural differences that can exist, because how are you supposed to follow cultural cues that you’re not even expecting?

5. Conclusion

People often give the advice that if you want to pick up certain cultural nuances in a foreign culture, you should watch a lot of TV.

That advice is particularly useful here when talking about norms of politeness. TV shows let you watch people from different levels of society interact constantly, and you can really learn a lot about the right times to say each of the phrases in this article.

Even more modern web series will shed a lot of light on this. Some of them don’t show the more traditional levels of politeness, but they’re still valuable because you’ll get to see how young and trendy Indonesians navigate apologies.

The more exposure you have to actual Indonesians living out their lives through TV, movies, or online videos, the more you’ll internalize how this all works together.

And then, if worst comes to worst and you find yourself in hot water in Indonesia, you’ll know exactly how to keep cool and make apologies in Indonesian.

Do you feel more prepared now to say sorry in Indonesian? Or are you still a little fuzzy on how to apologize in Indonesian? Let us know in the comments!

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Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a HubSpot certified content strategist, copywriter and polyglot who works with language learning companies. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing & more.

Language Learning Tips: How to Avoid Awkward Silences

Avoid Awkward Silences

Yes, even beginners can quickly learn conversational Indonesian well enough to carry on real conversations with native speakers. Of course, beginners won’t be able to carry a conversation the same way they could in their native language. But, just knowing a few tips like which questions to ask to keep a conversation going are all you need to speak and interact with real native speakers! But before we get to specific suggestions, let’s first take a closer look at how having real Indonesian conversations is so vital to your mastery of the language.

Learning to Carry a Conversation is Vital to Mastery of Any Language

Communicating with other people is the very point of language and conversation is almost second nature in our native tongue. For beginners or anyone learning a new language, conversations aren’t easy at all and even simple Indonesian greetings can be intimidating and awkward.

However, there are 3 vital reasons why you should learn conversational Indonesian as quickly as possible:

  • Avoid Awkward Silences: Nothing kills a conversation faster than long periods of awkward silence, so you need practice and specific strategies to avoid them.
  • Improve the Flow of Conversation to Make a Better Impression: When you know what to say to keep a conversation going, communication becomes much easier and you make a better impression on your listener.
  • Master the Language Faster: Nothing will help you learn to speak Indonesian faster and truly master the language than having real conversations with native speakers. Conversations quickly expose you to slang, cultural expressions, and vocabulary that force you to absorb and assimilate information faster than any educational setting—and that’s a great thing!

But how can you possibly have real conversations with real Indonesian people if you are just starting out?

3 Conversation Strategies for Beginners


1. Ask Questions to Keep a Conversation Going

For beginners and even more advanced speakers, the key is to learn to ask questions to keep a conversation going. Of course, they can’t be just random questions or else you may confuse the listener. But, by memorizing a few key questions and the appropriate time to use them, you can easily carry a conversation with minimal vocabulary or experience. And remember, the more Indonesian conversations you have, the quicker you will learn and master the language!

2. Learn Core Vocabulary Terms as Quickly as Possible

You don’t need to memorize 10,000’s of words to learn conversational Indonesian. In fact, with just a couple hundred Indonesian words you could have a very basic Indonesian conversation. And by learning maybe 1,000-2,000 words, you could carry a conversation with a native speaker about current events, ordering in restaurants, and even getting directions.

3. Study Videos or Audio Lessons that You Can Play and Replay Again and Again

If you want to know how to carry a conversation in Indonesian, then you need exposure to native speakers—and the more the better. Ideally, studying video or audio lessons is ideal because they provide contextualized learning in your native language and you can play them again and again until mastery.

IndonesianPod101 Makes it Easier and More Convenient Than Ever to Learn Conversational Indonesian

Learning Indonesian

For more than 10 years, IndonesianPod101 has been helping students learn to speak Indonesian by creating the world’s most advanced online language learning system. Here are just a few of the specific features that will help you learn conversational Indonesian fast using our proven system:

  • The Largest Collection of HD Video & Audio Lessons from Real Indonesian Instructors: IndonesianPod101 instructors have created hundreds of video and audio lessons that you can play again and again. And the best part is: They don’t just teach you Indonesian vocabulary and grammar, they are designed to help you learn to speak Indonesian and teach you practical everyday topics like shopping, ordering, etc!
  • Pronunciation Tools: Use this feature to record and compare yourself with native speakers to quickly improve your pronunciation and fluency!
  • 2000 Common Indonesian Words: Also known as our Core List, these 2,000 words are all you need to learn to speak fluently and carry a conversation with a native speaker!

In all, more than 20 advanced learning tools help you quickly build vocabulary and learn how to carry a conversation with native speakers—starting with your very first lesson.


Although it may seem intimidating for a beginner, the truth is that it is very easy to learn conversational Indonesian. By learning a few core vocabulary terms and which questions to ask to keep a conversation going, just a little practice and exposure to real Indonesian conversations or lessons is all it really takes. IndonesianPod101 has created the world’s largest online collection of video and audio lessons by real instructors plus loads of advanced tools to help you learn to speak Indonesian and carry a conversation quickly.

Act now and we’ll also include a list of the most commonly used questions to keep a conversation going so you can literally get started immediately!

How to Start Thinking in Indonesian

Learn 4 tools and techniques to stop translating in your head and start thinking in Indonesian

Going through Indonesian lessons is enough to get by and learn the basics of Indonesian, but to truly become fluent you need to be able to think in Indonesian. This will allow you to have conversations with ease, read smoothly, and comprehensively understand natives. To do this, you need to go beyond just completing daily or weekly lessons.

We naturally translate in our heads because it’s viewed as the easiest way to learn the definitions needed when learning a language. This way of learning can actually hinder your skills and fluency later on. If your brain has to make neural connections between the word you’re learning, what it means in your native tongue, and the physical object the connection will not be nearly as strong. When you bypass the original translation between Indonesian and your native language then there is a more basic and strong connection between just the Indonesian vocabulary word and the tangible object.

start thinking in Indonesian

In this blog post, you will learn the 4 important techniques to easily and naturally begin to speculate about the daily occurrences in your life. The best part is all of these techniques are supported and can be achieved through

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1. Surround yourself with Indonesian

Surround Yourself

By surrounding yourself with Indonesian constantly you will completely immerse yourself in the language. Without realizing it you’ll be learning pronunciation, sentence structures, grammar, and new vocabulary. You can play music in the background while you’re cooking or have a Indonesian radio station on while you study. Immersion is a key factor with this learning process because it is one of the easiest things to do, but very effective. Even if you are not giving the program your full attention you will be learning.

One great feature of is the endless podcasts that are available to you. You can even download and listen to them on the go. These podcasts are interesting and are perfect for the intention of immersion, they are easy to listen to as background noise and are interesting enough to give your full attention. Many of them contain stories that you follow as you go through the lessons which push you to keep going.

2. Learn through observation
learn through observation

Learning through observation is the most natural way to learn. Observation is how we all learned our native languages as infants and it’s a wonder why we stop learning this way. If you have patience and learn through observation then Indonesian words will have their own meanings rather than meanings in reference to your native language. Ideally, you should skip the bilingual dictionary and just buy a dictionary in Indonesian. also offers the materials to learn this way. We have numerous video lessons which present situational usage of each word or phrase instead of just a direct translation. This holds true for many of our videos and how we teach Indonesian.

3. Speak out loud to yourself
talk to yourself

Speaking to yourself in Indonesian not only gets you in the mindset of Indonesian, but also makes you listen to how you speak. It forces you to correct any errors with pronunciation and makes it easy to spot grammar mistakes. When you speak out loud talk about what you did that day and what you plan to do the next day. Your goal is to be the most comfortable speaking out loud and to easily create sentences. Once you feel comfortable talking to yourself start consciously thinking in your head about your daily activities and what is going on around you throughout the day.

With you start speaking right away, not only this, but they have you repeat words and conversations after a native Indonesian speaker. This makes your pronunciation very accurate! With this help, you are on the fast path to making clear and complex sentences and then actively thinking about your day.

4. Practice daily

If you don’t practice daily then your progress will be greatly slowed. Many people are tempted to take the 20-30 minutes they should be practicing a day and practice 120 in one day and skip the other days. This isn’t nearly as effective because everyday you practice you are reinforcing the skills and knowledge you have learned. If you practice all in one day you don’t retain the information because the brain can realistically only focus for 30 minutes at most. If you’re studying for 120 minutes on the same subject little of the information will be absorbed. Studying everyday allows you to review material that you went over previous days and absorb a small amount of information at a time.

It’s tough to find motivation to study everyday, but can help. It’s easy to stay motivated with because we give you a set learning path, with this path we show how much progress you’ve made. This makes you stick to your goals and keep going!


Following the steps and having patience is the hardest part to achieving your goals, it’s not easy learning a new language. You are essentially teaching your brain to categorize the world in a completely new way. Stick with it and you can do it just remember the 4 tools I taught you today! With them, conversations, reading, and understanding will become much easier. The most important thing to remember is to use the tools that provides and you will be on your way to being fluent!

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5 Ways To Improve Your Indonesian Speaking Skills

5 Ways To Improve Your Indonesian Speaking Skills

Speaking is usually the #1 weakness for all Indonesian learners. This is a common issue among language learners everywhere. The reason for this is obvious: When language learners first start learning a language, they usually start with reading. They read online articles, books, information on apps and so on. If they take a class, they spend 20% of their time repeating words, and 80% of the time reading the textbook, doing homework or just listening to a teacher. So, if you spend most of your time reading instead of speaking, you might get better at reading but your speaking skills never grow. You get better at what you focus on.

So if you want to improve you speaking skills, you need to spend more of your study time on speaking. Here are five tips to help you get started:

1. Read out loud
If you’re listening to a lesson and reading along, read out loud. Then re-read and speed up your tempo. Do this again and again until you can speak faster. Try your best to pronounce the words correctly, but don’t obsess about it. Read swiftly, emote and put some inflection on the sentences. Reading aloud helps to train the muscles of your mouth and diaphragm to produce unfamiliar words and sounds.

Read out loud!

2. Prepare things to say ahead of time.
As you may know from experience, most learners run out of things to say. But, if you prepare lines ahead of time, you won’t be at a loss for words in conversations. This will help you not only to learn how to say the words, but how to say them in the right context. A good way to prepare yourself before conversations is with our Top 25 Questions Series, which teaches you how to ask the most common conversational questions, and how to answer them, in Indonesian:

Click here to learn the top 25 Indonesian questions you need to know.

3. Use shadowing (repeat the dialogues as you hear them).
Shadowing is an extremely useful tool for increasing fluency as well as improving your accent and ability to be understood. Shadowing helps create all the neural connections in your brain to produce those words and sentences quickly and accurately without having to think about it. Also, as mentioned in tip #1, shadowing helps develop the muscle memory in all the physical parts responsible for the production of those sounds. Depending on what your primary and target languages are, it’s quite likely that there are a lot of sounds your mouth just isn’t used to producing. Shadowing can be done, for example, when watching TV shows or movies or listening to music.

Each one of our lessons begins with a dialogue. Try to shadow the conversation line by line, and you’ll be mastering it in no time.

Click here to for a FREE taste of our Absolute Beginner series!

4. Review again and again.
This is the key to perfection, and we can’t emphasize it enough. Most learners don’t review! If you review and repeat lines again and again, you’ll be speaking better, faster and with more confidence.

Review again and again

You’d be surprised by how many people try to avoid talking! The more you speak, the faster you learn – and that is why you’re learning Indonesian. Practice speaking every chance you get: whether it’s ordering coffee, shopping or asking for directions.

Sneak Peek: Review More Indonesian with This Feature, Badges & Your 26% OFF

Click here to get 26% OFF + A FREE Audiobook!

Hello Listener,

You’ll want to know about these 2 new Indonesian learning tools and features. They’re great for reviewing, motivation and progress. One is an unofficial sneak peek.

So what are they? The brand new Achievement Badges and the Word Bank! And… if you want to master Indonesian, unlock our proven learning system at 26% OFF and get a Bonus 6.5-hour Audiobook!

In this month’s newsletter:

  1. 72 Hours Left! Click here to get 26% OFF + FREE 6.5-Hour Audiobook
  2. New Feature! Achievement Badges Now Available for Premium PLUS
  3. Sneak Peek: Save & Review Vocab with this Study Tool

1. Ends Friday! Learn Indonesian with 26% OFF & a FREE Audiobook!
No school. No stress. Learn Indonesian at your pace and start speaking in minutes with effective lessons! ‘Til Friday only, get 26% OFF any 1- or 2-year plan and a BONUS Indonesian Audiobook as a 2-for-1 deal. You get access to 90+ hours of audio and video lessons by teachers, lesson notes, motivational progress stats, apps, study tools and more. Just $2.96/month and up to $62.40 OFF. Hurry! Ends Friday, 8/28/2015!

Click here to learn Indonesian and get 26% OFF. Up to $62.40 in savings.
(The free 6.5-hour Indonesian audiobook will be inside your welcome email)

2. NEW Feature! Learn and Stay Motivated with NEW Achievement Badges
Learning Indonesian? You deserve recognition and motivation. So, if you’re a Premium PLUS member… you can now unlock new badges as your Indonesian improves. Your Premium PLUS teacher will give out badges as you complete weekly assignments. The result? You master more Indonesian, unlock badges for your progress, and stay motivated to keep going.

Click here to learn about the Premium PLUS Achievement Badges!

3. Here’s a Sneak Peek at the Newly Redesigned Word Bank!
We haven’t fully announced this yet… but here’s a sneak peek! The Word Bank – your personal collection of words and phrases – is better than ever. What’s new? First, a shiny new design. You can sort and manage your vocab and phrases with custom labels. And feel free to print out your entries as physical study material or export them as files! Not a Premium member? Take advantage of the 26% discount by Friday.

Premium Users: Click here to access the New Word Bank!
(Note: You must be logged in to access this)

To your fluency,
Team IndonesianPod101

P.S. We’re giving you a BONUS 6.5-Hour Audiobook. Get 26% OFF by Friday!
No school or textbooks necessary to learn Indonesian! In fact, you get a FREE Audiobook when you get 26% OFF any 1- or 2-year plan. Master Indonesian in LESS time with this 2-for-1 deal! Unlock our learning system – over 90 hours of audio and video lesson by real teachers and more! Just $2.96/month and up to $62.40 OFF. Hurry! Ends Friday, 8/28/2015!

Ends Friday! Click here to learn Indonesian and Get 26% OFF!
(Your FREE Audiobook will instantly be available in your welcome email)

Click here to get 26% OFF + A FREE Audiobook!

6 Reasons to Learn a Language Before You Travel

6 Reasons to Learn a Language Before You Travel

There are plenty of destinations where you can get by with English, but sometimes you want to do better than just ‘get by’. Here are 6 reasons you should learn the basics of the language of your next trip destination.

What are the 6 reasons you should learn the basics of the language of your next trip destination?

1. You will be able to discover your destination better than other tourists.
Getting by is one thing, but actually experiencing a trip abroad is quite another. No amount of guidebooks and online research can compensate for a basic lack of language ability. Speaking the language of your destination permits you to explore that destination beyond the regular tourist traps. Your language skills will not only allow you to dig into all the hidden gems of your destination, but they will also allow you to mingle with the locals to get a true experience on your holiday. Think of it this way: you’re not restricted to talking to the people at the tourist desk anymore.

2. Knowing how to communicate with local police or medical personnel can be life-saving.
Before you leave for your destination, make sure you learn how to ask for help in that destination’s local tongue. Do you know how to ask the waiter if this dish has peanuts in it? Or tell your host family that you’re allergic to fish? Can you tell the local doctor where it hurts? Moreover, an awareness of an environment improves your chance of remaining safe inside it. For example, walking around a busy marketplace, dazzled by an unfamiliar language, signs and accents will instantly render any tourist a more attractive mark for pickpockets. Communicating with other people, asking questions and looking confident will make you look like a semi-local yourself, and will ward off potential thieves.

Click here for Indonesian Survival Phrases that will help you in almost every situation

3. It helps you relax.
Traveling is much less stressful when you understand what that announcement at the airport was saying, or if this bus line reaches your hotel. These things stress you out when traveling and they disappear when you understand the language. This allows you to focus on planning your trip in a better, easier way.

Speaking the language can provide you with a way to get to know people you’d never otherwise have the opportunity to speak with.

4. Speaking the language can provide you with a way to get to know people you’d never otherwise have the opportunity to speak with.
Sometimes those relationships turn into friendships, and other times they’re nothing more than a lively conversation. Either way, as Nelson Mandela said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” When you approach someone – even staff at a store or restaurant – with English, rather than their own language, an invisible divide has already been erected. Making even a small effort to communicate in the language of the place you’re visiting can go a long way and you’ll find many more doors open up to you as a result.

Click here for the Top 25 Indonesian Questions you need to know to start a conversation with anyone

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

5. You’ll be a better ambassador for your country.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we know very little about other countries and cultures, especially the local politics. And what we do know is often filtered to us by the media, which tends to represent only certain interests. When you can speak the local language, you’re able to answer questions that curious locals have about your country and culture. Are you frustrated with how your country is presented in global news? Are you embarrassed by your country’s leaders and want to make it clear that not everyone is like that where you’re from? This is a very good opportunity to share your story with people who have no one else to ask. We all have a responsibility to be representatives of the place we come from.

6. Learning another language can fend off Alzheimer’s, keep your brain healthy and generally make you smarter.
For more information, check out this blog post about the 5 Benefits of Learning a New Language.

You’re Too Cool for School: Master Indonesian at 26% OFF & Get a FREE Audiobook

Click here to get 26% OFF & a free Audiobook!

Hello Listener,

Did you start this year out with a resolution to learn Indonesian? Haven’t found time to make it happen yet? Well, with students everywhere going back to school this month… Now’s a perfect time to renew your dream of truly learning Indonesian.

Even if you’re a complete beginner. Even if you’re out of school…
You can and will learn Indonesian with 90+ hours of lessons from real teachers. The Too Cool for School Sale at IndonesianPod101 starts today:

Click here to get 26% OFF & a free Audiobook!
Click here to get 26% OFF & a free Audiobook!

Start speaking Indonesian from your very first lesson and get our entire Indonesian learning system at 26% OFF! That’s just $2.96/month with Basic or $7.40/month with Premium and up to $62.40 in savings. So if you upgrade now, you instantly receive:

How does it work? And how will you learn Indonesian?
Learning Indonesian in a class simply isn’t an option for most of us with work, family and busy schedules. Between the excessive costs and the inconveniences of getting to class and working around someone else’s schedule, classrooms aren’t realistic.

But at IndonesianPod101, you get fun, effective and proven lessons from real Indonesian teachers. The entire learning system was designed to help you overcome the obstacles of traditional classes, because:

  • IndonesianPod101 is a Mere Fraction of the Cost of Classrooms
  • You Get 90+ Hours of Audio & Video Lessons from Real Indonesian Teachers
  • You Access Lessons & Study Tools With Your Computer or Any Mobile Device
  • You Learn at Your Own Pace and When It’s Convenient For You
  • There Are No Extra Textbooks To Buy (But you do get a FREE Audiobook!)

Click Here to Get 26% Off Any Annual Subscription & A Indonesian Audiobook FREE!

That’s right: You learn whenever and wherever is convenient for you and at a pace you choose! And during the Too Cool for School Sale, just sign up for any annual Basic or Premium subscription by clicking on any link and we’ll instantly discount the price by 26%!

And with a Premium plan, you’re unlocking the entire system….

  • Exclusive! App for the iPhone, iPad or Android
  • Full Lesson Library Access: 500+ Indonesian Lessons
  • Read Along with Every Lesson with PDF Lesson Notes
  • Get Instructor Feedback & Comments on Each Lesson
  • Stay Motivated & See Your Progress Grow with Progress Tracking
  • Know Which Lesson to Study Next with Learning Guidance
  • Hear the Conversation Line by Line with the Line by Line Dialogue
  • Get Full Lesson Transcripts, Translations & Review Tracks
  • Get Extra Practice with Review Quizzes for Every Lesson
  • Master Indonesian Words Fast with Smart Online Flashcards
  • Reach Conversational Fluency with the 2,000 Top Indonesian Word List
  • Save Words & Phrases for Later Review with the Word Bank
  • Perfect Your Pronunciation with Voice Recording Tools
  • 24/7 Access via Any Device with Internet Access
  • Get All the Vocab from a Lesson Season with Season Vocabulary
  • Exclusive! Create Your Own Word Lists with the Custom Lists App
  • …and much more!

Click here to get UNLIMITED access for just $0.24/day or $7.40/month!
(Your FREE Audiobook will instantly be available in your welcome email.)

So for the next few days, that means you gain full access to our Basic plan for as low as just $2.96 per month or our most popular Premium plan for just $7.40 a month – a mere fraction of what you would pay for traditional classroom instruction!

Don’t Forget Your FREE Indonesian Audiobook!
Get the best of both worlds with real-life conversation and the in-depth explanations of a textbook! Listen to over 6.5 hours of lessons and read along with 200+ pages. You’ll get your free Audiobook instantly when you upgrade, inside the welcome email.

Click Here To Learn Indonesian At 26% OFF & Get Your Free Audiobook!

And Upgrading is Risk-Free.

Remember, you get a 60-Day Money-Back Guarantee so if plans change or you are anything less than thrilled with our language learning system – we’ll promptly refund your entire order without any hassles or questions.

But hurry: Although it’s never too late to make a fresh start and realize your dream of learning Indonesian, the Too Cool for School Sale ends soon, so….

Click here to learn Indonesian with 90+ hours of Indonesian lessons & save up to $62.40
(Your FREE Audiobook will instantly be available in your welcome email.)

To Making a Fresh Start,

Team IndonesianPod101

P.S. All subscriptions are fully backed by our 60-day money-back guarantee meaning you can lock in your savings now and if you later decide that you’re not learning Indonesian as fast as you’d like, then we’ll refund your entire subscription amount. You have nothing to lose but you have to ACT NOW before this Too Cool for School Sale ends!

Click here to get UNLIMITED Indonesian learning for just $0.24/day or $7.40/month!
(Your FREE Audiobook will instantly be available in your welcome email.)