Indonesian Pronunciation & Alphabet

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Indonesian, or Bahasa Indonesia in its own language, is the official language of Indonesia, as well as an official language (via Malay) of Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore. It is the 9th most spoken language in the world, with well over 150 million speakers.

For English speakers, Indonesian is not so difficult to learn, and the alphabet will be immediately familiar, as it is the same Latin writing system. Likewise, pronunciation of Indonesian for English speakers is usually not a problem; Indonesian is quite a phonetic language, and rules for pronunciation almost never have exceptions. Speakers of Dutch will find it comfortingly familiar, as well, as the alphabet is pronounced in the Dutch way.

A a | B b | C c | D d | E e| F f | G g | H h | I i | J j | K k| L l | M m | N n | O o | P p | Q q | R r | S s | T t | U u | V v | W w | X x | Y y | Z z

Below are the pronunciations for each letter: first the Indonesian letter in bold, followed by the English phonetic approximate pronunciation, and finishing with an example and any notes. 

Vowels

A a (ah, uh) – as in the ‘a’ in ‘father’ and sometimes as the ‘u’ in ‘further’

E e (eh, uh) – as in the ‘e’ in ‘deck’ and sometimes as the ‘u’ in ‘further’

I i (ee, ih) – as in the ‘i’ in ‘spaghetti’ and as the ‘i’ in ‘internet’

O o (oh, ah) – as in either ‘o’ in ‘robot’

U u (ooh) – as in the ‘ou’ in ‘soup’

Consonants

B b (b) – as in the ‘b’ in ‘bear’

C c (ch) – as in the ‘ch’ in ‘church’

D d (d) – as in the ‘d’ in ‘daughter’

F f (f) – as in the ‘f’ in ‘frank’

G g (g) – as in the ‘g’ in ‘gate’

H h (h) – as in the ‘h’ in ‘hard’

J j (jé) – as in the ‘j’ in ‘jovial’

K k (k) – as in the ‘k’ in ‘kite’

L l (l) – as in the ‘l’ in ‘look’

M m (m) – as in the ‘m’ in ‘mouth’

N n (n) – as in the ‘n’ in ‘naughty’

P p (p) – like the ‘p’ in ‘pie’

Q q (k) – pronounced like ‘k’ as in ‘kite’ often with a ‘u’ after it

R r (rr) – typical ‘r’ sound, drawn out; often the sound is rolled

S s (s) – as in the ‘s’ in ‘stall’

T t (t) – as in the ‘t’ in ‘total’

V v (v) – standard ‘v’ sound, sometimes nearly a ‘b’ sound

W w (w) – as in the ‘w’ in ‘went’

X x (z) – hard ‘z’ sound, as in ‘zebra’

Y y (y) – as in the ‘y’ in ‘yardsale’

Z z (z, ss) – ‘z’ sound, as in ‘zebra’ or sometimes softer like ‘s’