Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Fira: Halo. Nama saya Fira.
Gina: And I’m Gina! Welcome back to IndonesianPod101.com. This is Pronunciation Lesson 3 - Special Non-Native Consonants in Indonesian. In this lesson, we’ll tell you about some special consonants – those that aren’t in the native consonant inventory. Fira, what are these consonants?

Lesson focus

Fira: There are four of them - "-f," "-q," "-z," and "-kh."
Gina: So where do these consonants come from, if they aren’t native to Indonesian?
Fira: They come from various languages, all of which have contributed a sizable portion to today’s Indonesian vocabulary, like Arabic, Portuguese, and Dutch.
Fira: But we’ll also tell you that many speakers of Indonesian don’t pronounce these letters as they were originally pronounced. Instead, they have adapted these sounds into the native Indonesian consonant system.
Gina: I see. Okay, let’s take a look at the first one.
Fira: It’s the letter Q. You can see this letter in many words borrowed from Arabic.
Gina: Can you give us an example?
Fira: The one that most people are familiar with is the holy book of Islam – the Qur’an. In addition, there was a defunct airline known as Bouraq – the final letter was a "-q."
Gina: In Arabic, this sound is a uvular stop – like a "-k," but produced further back in the throat. So how is this sound pronounced by most Indonesian speakers?
Fira: Most Indonesian speakers pronounce this [k] like the [k] sound at the beginning of the word “cat”. The vowel following it is pronounced differently, though.
Gina: All right, now the next letter we have is…
Fira: "-Z."
Gina: Yes, the final letter of the alphabet. What are some words that have this particular letter?
Fira: First, we have "zat" which means "chemical." We also have "lezat," which is another word for "delicious," and "zaman," which means "period" or "epoch."
Gina: So, how do people pronounce "-Z", since it’s not part of the native consonant inventory?
Fira: Well, that’s an interesting story. For words like "zat" and "lezat," many speakers who can’t pronounce "-Z" properly, end up pronouncing it like /s/.
Gina: Linguistically, this seems reasonable - /s/ is like /z/ except that the /s/ is voiceless - all that means is that you don’t use your voicebox. Say /z/ again though and you’ll find that you do. And then?
Fira: The "-z" in "zaman" is frequently pronounced as /j/, so many people pronounce this word as [jaman].
Gina: Ah, I see. Is this something that you just have to learn through experience?
Fira: You could put it that way, yes. You just have to learn how speakers pronounce these words!
Gina: All right – and finally, we have a consonant combination that actually stands for one consonant sound.
Fira: Yes, this is "-kh." It has K and H together.
Gina: Now, this is pronounced like the "-ch" in the Scottish word "loch" – as in the "Loch Ness Monster." This also appears in a lot of words of Arabic origin. Fira, can you give us some examples?
Fira: Sure. One is Khas, which means ‘Speciality.’ Another good one is "akhir," which means "last." "Akhir." [A-khir]. "Akhir."


Gina: Okay, that’s it for this lesson. Remember to check the lesson notes to reinforce what you’ve learned. Thanks for listening, everyone, and we’ll see you next time!
Fira: Sampai jumpa.