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: Hello everyone, and I’m Gina. Welcome back to IndonesianPod101.com. This is Pronunciation Lesson 4 - Indonesian Dialects.

Lesson focus

Fira: Up until now, you have learned that Indonesian has a set number of consonants and vowels – 19 native consonants, 6 vowels, and 2 diphthongs.
Gina: But we also want to let our listeners know that depending on where you go in Indonesia, there are over three hundred distinct ethnic groups, with their own language and culture – so people might say things slightly differently. So Fira, how are we going to cover this?
Fira: Well, we’re going to focus on two regions – Central Java and Bali. Why? Because most of the tourists who go to Indonesia visit these areas. And let’s start with Central Java.
Gina: Okay, so in Central Java, you’ll see lots of "-Os" written in Javanese names and place names.
Fira: Yeah, these aren’t actually "-Os" as we know them in English – or in Indonesian. Instead, these are examples of [o], which are slightly more "open", or a bit more relaxed than regular "-O."
Gina: Hmm, that sounds just about right. There’s such a sound in English, if you happen to speak an East Coast variant. This is the [o] like the vowel sound in "dawn" – [dawn]. So, how do we really say the name of Indonesia’s court center of "-S-O-L-O"?
Fira: "Sawlaw." [Saw-law]. "Sawlaw."
Gina: And how do you pronounce the name of Indonesia’s current president.
Fira: Well, his name is "Susilo" [su-si-law]; Bambang Yudhoyono – [yu-daw-yaw-naw] – not "Yud-ho-yono."
Gina: That’s right. And there’s another peculiarity about Central Javanese pronunciation, too.
Fira: Yes, there’s one more. The sounds [b], [d], and [g] are pronounced slightly differently than in English.
Gina: How so?
Fira: Well, in Central Javanese, these sounds are pronounced with a bit of a "breathy voice." This is a bit like aspiration, but your vocal chords are still moving when these sounds are pronounced. Let’s take the president’s last name, "Yudhoyono," again.
Gina: So, how would a Javanese person pronounce it?
Fira: [Yu-dho-yo-no].
Gina: Did you notice that the "-d" is pronounced slightly differently than the "-d" in English? This is because of Central Javanese influence.
Fira: Now let’s talk about Bali.
Gina: I visited recently and I have something interesting to say about the pronunciation there.
Fira: What did you discover, Gina?
Gina: Well, the letter "-a" is pronounced like a ‘schwa’ [uh] sound if it occurs at the end of words. However, it’s not like the ‘schwa’ captured by the letter "-E" – this schwa is a bit more pulled back in the mouth. It’s more relaxed.
Fira: Hmm, this sounds complicated, but you’ll get used to it soon, listeners, so don’t worry!
Fira: Let’s take a word that has a word-final [a].
Gina: Hmm, how about the capital, Jakarta?
Fira: Oh, that’s an excellent idea. Jakarta. So, a non-Balinese would pronounce this as [Jakarta]. And a Balinese might pronounce this as [Jakar-tuh]! [Jakar-tuh]!
Gina: Right. Did you notice how the vowel changed at the end there with the Balinese-style pronunciation? Now, in Bali there’s a famous tourist town spelled "-K-U-T-A." How would the Balinese say this?
Fira: They pronounce this as [Ku-tah]. [Ku-tah]. [Ku-tah]. Again, you can hear the Balinese word-final [a] in this word.


Gina: Alright listeners, that’s all for this lesson. To see more explanations and examples of different dialects, please check out the lesson notes! Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time!
Fira: Sampai jumpa.