Top Tips to Learn Indonesian Languange

Jul 7, 20210 comments

How long do you think it would take you to achieve native level fluency in Bahasa Indonesia? A long time, right? To be able to communicate like a native speaker takes many years of dedication, exposure and practice. The good news is that you can become conversational in the Indonesian language in a lot less time than you probably think.

The be conversational means having the ability to hold conversations about normal, everyday things with a native speaker at a normal, conversational speed. This is what you need if your objective is to be able to get to know Indonesian people, understand the culture, or successfully integrate into living in Indonesia.

Here are some top tips for becoming conversational in Indonesian :

1. Language learning is a daily habit

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Many people complain that they can’t learn a new language because it is too difficult or they aren’t “good” at languages. In reality, the number one reason for not improving at a language is not getting consistent practice.

The key to developing consistency is in making your Indonesian language learning a daily habit. In reality, all you need is 15 minutes per day to make progress, and surely even the busiest person has that! 

Consider your daily commute for example – thanks to technology, you can spend this time revising vocabulary or listening to an Indonesian language podcast. So stop making excuses and start building those daily habits.

2. Build your vocabulary with the right techniques

A common reason people give for being unable to learn languages is that they have a bad memory. But the problem is less to do with their memory and more to do with their technique.

Here are some tips to learn the Indonesian language that you can follow to build your Indonesian vocabulary:

Learn the most commonly used words. To achieve conversational fluency you only need to learn 2000 to 3000 words of Indonesian. Write down and learn the most commonly used words whilst ignoring complex vocabulary that you don’t hear so often.

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Learn vocabulary that is relevant to your life. Focus on topics that interest you or that you need to use in your day to day life. These could be related to your work or to your hobbies. By focusing on relevant language, you’ll be more likely to actually use the words you learn in real life. You’ll also find it easier to memorise these words as they are most relevant to you.

Keep a vocabulary book or make notes on your phone. Write down new vocabulary you come across in your daily activities either in a notebook or on a mobile device. By coming back to the word lists at a later stage, you have a much better chance of memorising them.

3. Take advantage of free online resources

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It is now easier to learn a language than ever before. A simple google search with giving you a plethora of free Indonesian language learning resources that you can peruse at your leisure. Whether you like to listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos, or access articles, there is an extensive range of free Indonesian language learning materials online.

Radio and podcasts are great because you can listen whilst you are commuting, working out, or even sleeping! If you’re a beginner, you can listen to podcasts where they speak extra slowly and include transcripts.

4. Have conversations and practice with native speakers

Whilst internet access gives you a wide range of learning opportunities for improving your Indonesian reading and listening skills, speaking is best practiced with another human being.

You can find native speakers to converse with for free on sites like Meetup and you can find language exchange meetings to attend.

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Another option to learn the Indonesian language is to go to Indonesian group classes. These can be enjoyable from a social perspective, however, if your objective is to practice speaking and achieve conversational fluency fast, they are not ideal as you will have to take it in turns with other learners. Unfortunately, classes often move as slowly as the slowest learner.

By far the most efficient option is to take private one-to-one lessons with a tutor. This gives you extensive speaking practice and feedback with an experienced, native speaker.

In order to rapidly improve your Indonesian speaking skills, you need to challenge yourself to make mistakes and receive feedback from an experienced tutor in a safe environment. The person you’re speaking with should therefore be a native speaker so that they have the ability to notice mistakes and provide the best possible error correction and explanations.

If your goal is to be able to speak at a conversational level, you should start practicing from day one of your Indonesian language learning journey. The more mistakes you make, the faster you will gain feedback from your tutor and improve.

5. Don’t obsess about the grammar

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Most people who give up learning a language do so because they study boring textbooks and try to rely on their willpower to keep going. When learning Indonesian, it is important to enjoy the process of learning and take lessons that are fun, as well as educational. If you are having fun, you’ll actually want to practice more often. So, if you want to improve your Indonesian and reach a conversational level, you don’t need to obsess over grammar practice; instead learn more of the words that are more relevant to your work and life.

If you are serious about learning the Indonesian language and achieving conversational fluency as quickly as possible, try taking online lessons with Indonesian Courses and get speaking to highly experienced Native tutors who have helped expatriates and visitors to Indonesia to become conversational in Bahasa Indonesia.

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