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Lesson Transcript

Fira: Hi everyone! This is Fira here.
Gina: Welcome back to IndonesianPod101.com. I’m Gina, and this is All About Lesson 2, Cracking the Indonesian Writing System. In this lesson, we’re going to learn about Indonesian spelling. For some people, just mentioning the subject of spelling is enough to make them nervous.
Fira: But when talking about Indonesian, it’s not that scary. If you know how to read English, then you’ve already mastered Indonesian characters.

Lesson focus

Gina: In other Asian languages which use the Roman alphabet, such as Vietnamese, you might see accent marks above some letters. But you don’t have to worry about that when learning Indonesian. All characters will look exactly as same as those in English.
Fira: But the name of the characters are different.
Gina: Yes! Let’s check them out one by one. How do you read A, B, C, D, E?
Fira: We pronounce them as ah, be, che, de, e, respectively.
Gina: By listening to the name of the characters, I believe you can also guess the pronunciation of each.
Fira: That’s right. For example, the letter che is pronounced “ch” when you read it in words. So once you remember the names of characters, you’ll also know its pronunciation.
Gina: Okay, let’s check out the next group. What about F, G, H, I, and J?
Fira: You can say ef, ge, ha, i, je.
Gina: Next, what is K, L, M, N?
Fira: You can read them as ka, el, em, en, respectively.
Gina: Since we’re talking about K and N, I have a question. When reading Indonesian text, there are sometimes a combination of consonants like K.H., N.G. or N.Y. Do they have special names?
Fira: No, they are referred to by each of the letters in the combination, one after the other. For example, K.H. can be read as ka-ha, and N.G can be read as en-ge. But their pronunciations only have one sound. For example, you can read ka-ha as ‘kh’ ‘ and en-ge as ‘ng’
Gina: Great. Let’s move to the next group. How do you say O, P, Q, R, S?
Fira: It’s oh, pe, ki, er, es. You can see the similarities to English.
Gina: Yes. And what about T,U,V, and W?
Fira: You can read them as te, u, fe, and we.
Gina: So fe, is the name of V, and not F? That’s confusing.
Fira: Right. The English letter F is called ef in Indonesian, and the letter V is called fe, so please be careful not to mix those up!
Gina: Does that mean that the letter V in Indonesian is pronounced like an F in English?
Fira: That's right. The letter V sounds like F, as in “Santa Fe”.
Gina: I see. Okay, and the last group is X, Y, and Z.
Fira: They are eks, ye, and zet in Indonesian.
Gina: So we’ve covered all of the characters that are also used in English. What about the others?
Fira: Actually, that’s all we have in Indonesian. So, you can memorize all of the characters very quickly, unlike when learning Thai or Korean.
Gina: Okay, it’s time for the quiz. Fira, could you give us some letters and have our listeners figure out what they spell?
Fira: Sure. The first one is ef, i, er, a.
[three seconds]
Gina: Listeners, do you know the answer? Ef is for the English F, i is the letter I, er is for R, and a is for the letter A. That spells Fira. F.I.R.A.
Fira: That’s right. What about this one; de, a, fe, i, de.
[three seconds]
Gina: Listeners, do you know the answer? de is for the letter D, a is for the letter A, fe is for the letter F, and i is for the letter I. So that would be Dafid? D.A.F.I.D?
Fira: Wait. Don’t forget that fe is for the letter V.
Gina: Ah.. right. Fe is for V, so it’s David, then! Right?
Fira: That’s correct. As you can see the Indonesian writing system is not that difficult at all!


Gina: That’s it for this lesson.
Fira: Okay see you next time! Sampai jumpa lagi