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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
Fira: Halo! Nama saya Fira.
Gina: And I’m Gina! Welcome back to IndonesianPod101.com! This is Pronunciation Lesson 5, Common Indonesian Pronunciation Mistakes. In this lesson, we’ll be going over the top five pronunciation mistakes in Indonesian.

Lesson focus

Fira: Yes, and it’s important that you, our listeners, are familiar with them, so that you can minimize them when you speak.
Gina: Definitely! What’s our first one?
Fira: Tip number one is remember to trill your "-R's!"
Gina: Remember that in Indonesian, the letter "-R" is not pronounced the same way as in English.
Fira: Yeah, that’s right – you don’t want to end up sticking out like a sore thumb.
Gina: And one of the ways that people can detect a foreign accent over the phone, is by the way you pronounce this particular sound.
Fira: For example, if you want some rice, you ask for "beras." "Beras." With a trilled "-r." If you ask for "brass" with an English-like "-r," who knows what you’ll get?
Gina: (Laughter) Ok, so what’s our next pronunciation tip? 
Fira: Tip number 2 is - don’t aspirate!
Gina: Right – in the first lesson of this pronunciation series, we said that the letters "-c," "-k," "-p," and "-t" were pronounced slightly differently to their corresponding sounds in English. And this is because of aspiration. When you read these characters in Indonesian, we recommend you grab a piece a paper, and hold it loosely about four inches from your mouth.
Fira: Then, you should get a list of things to read that has plenty of "-k's," "-p's," "-t's," and "-c's."
Gina: Yes and you can see the breath moving the piece of paper! That’s a good tip! So what’s the next one?
Fira: Tip number 3 - Don’t forget your glottal stop!
Gina: There are two cases where you need to make a glottal stop in Indonesian.
Fira: The first one is when you have a "-k" at the end of the word. For example, the word "anak" which means [child]. [A-nak]. "Anak." You can hear the glottal stop at the end.
Gina: And the second case is...?
Fira: Wherever you have two identical vowels right next to each other, you have to make a glottal stop.
Gina: Can you give us an example?
Fira: For example, the word "saat," which means "moment." [Sa-at]. "Saat." It has the glottal stop. Another good one is the word for "sorry" (ma-af.) "Maaf." [Ma-af]. "Maaf."
Gina: Okay, what’s the next tip?
Fira: Tip number 4 - learn to be comfortable with your velar nasal consonant now!
Gina: Remember that Indonesian has many sounds that are similar to English, so there aren’t too many challenging sounds – except for one – the velar nasal spelled "-n-g.”
Fira: Don’t you have this in English, though? Like in the word "sing?"
Gina: Yes, we do – but notice that "-ng" is always in the middle or at the end of words in English. It’s never at the beginning of the word. In Indonesian, there are a number of words that have this particular sound at the beginning!
Fira: Yeah, for example, the informal way of saying "understand" is "ngerti." [Nger-ti]. "Ngerti." It’s not an "-n." sound. And it’s not an "-n" plus "-g" sound – it’s the sound at the end of "sing" put at the beginning.
Gina: Can you give us another example?
Fira: The informal way to say "to send" is "ngirim." "Ngi-rim." "Ngirim."
Gina: You might notice the consonant at the beginning of the word. Listen carefully listeners, because I’m about to give you a pronunciation tip that is sure to help you! Imagine the word "sing" – and immediately lop off the "-s" and "-i", so that you get the final consonant in isolation – "-ng." What’s next, fira?
Fira: At that point, once you feel comfortable, you can put various vowels after the "-ng". And then practice pronouncing those syllables, like /ng-a/, /ng-i/, /ng-u/, /ng-e, /ng-o/, and so on.
Gina: That’s a pretty good strategy, Fira!
Fira: If you keep at this, velar nasals won’t scare you anymore!
Gina: Okay, now what’s the last tip we have for everyone?
Fira: Tip number 5 -watch out for similar-sounding words!
Gina: This could happen in any language, but Indonesian has a smaller number of sounds than English, let’s say. This means that there are many words that sound really similar - and the difference is only one syllable, or something like that. And when you’re starting out and still have a small vocabulary, it becomes even easier to mix words up. What are some more infamous examples?
Fira: One example is "pak" and "bak."
Gina: They sound really similar…so what do they mean?
Fira: "Pak" with a "-p" means "father" – what you would call most middle-aged men or fathers. Sort of like "mister," but much more personal. "Bak" with a "-b" means a "water basin."
Gina: Yeah! You have to be careful with this one. You wouldn’t want to try and call a nice gentleman a water basin!
Fira: (laughs) Yeah, that would be very awkward!
Gina: How about another example?
Fira: Here’s a triple bonanza! "Boleh," "bola," and "bule!"
Gina: Wow, what do those mean?
Fira: "Boleh" means "may," or "go ahead," as we learned in an earlier lesson. "Bola" means "ball." Now, the third word is one you want to be a little careful about, because some people could be offended by it. But it's important to know because you may hear it in Indonesia. It’s "Bule," a casual slang term for a "white person" that is often used to describe foreigners in general.
Gina: So be careful not to get those mixed up! All right, well those are our top 5 tips for avoiding pronunciation mistakes in Indonesian!
Fira: Remember to keep practicing, listeners!
Gina: We can’t stress this enough. Listening and repeating is the quickest way to get these sounds down.

Outro

Gina: Alright listeners, that’s all for this lesson, and for this series.
Fira: As always, to see more explanations and examples from this lesson, please check out the lesson notes!
Gina: We hope you enjoyed this series and found it useful, and we’ll see you in another series. Thanks for listening, bye!
Fira: Sampai jumpa.

9 Comments

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

IndonesianPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Which is the most difficult word to pronounce?

IndonesianPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 12:54 PM
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Hi James!


That's good to hear! Is there any other advantage for tagalog speaker when learning Indonesian?


Dipta

Team IndonesianPod101.com

james
Tuesday at 09:59 PM
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I'm filipino and pronouncing ng is easy because its the same as tagalog.

IndonesianPod101.com Verified
Monday at 02:34 PM
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Hi Abdullah!


Thanks for posting :wink:

It is good that you can handle the trill and the ng sound.


If you have any more question please let us know!


Dipta

Team IndonesianPod101.com

Abdullah
Friday at 12:10 AM
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I loved this lesson, and I liked the trilled 'r' very much :smile:


I think the most difficult words for me are the once containing the sound 'ng' in, but I am still good in that.


Thank you

IndonesianPod101.com Verified
Friday at 12:00 PM
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Hi bob dannatt,


Thank you for your feedback.

We have just checked and this audio file is working properly. Have you had the same issue with another lesson?

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bob dannatt
Friday at 04:47 PM
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Very slow to load and stopped intermittently- poor quality

IndonesianPod101.com Verified
Monday at 12:52 PM
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Hi Sam!

Yes I agree, pronouncing "r" in Indonesian way is probably one of the hardest thing to do (especially for English speakers). :disappointed:

But believe it or not, not all Indonesian can roll the "r" properly. So it's not something you have to perfect, when speaking Indonesian. :innocent:


Fira

Team IndonesianPod101.com

Sam
Thursday at 03:20 PM
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Any word with the trilled "r" sound. I've practiced and practiced, but I just can't do it!