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Bahasa Indonesia versus Bahasa Melayu; Some questions

1) Can you learn one and understand the other?


2) How easy(or difficult) is it to learn Bahasa Indonesia if you are an English speaker?


3) How easy(or difficult) is it to learn Bahasa Melayu if you are an English speaker?


4) Which one is more useful?


Jan 19, 2016 11:02 AM
Comments · 6

1. Yes, you can understand each other

2 & 3. Both language is similar but not exactly the same. As my experience both languages are easy to learn and understand.


I could give you a little explaination about the background, Bahasa Indonesia absorbed more on dutch language and Bahasa melayu absorbed more on English.


We might have same word but different spelling and/or pronounciation.

For example : meaning , in malay 'erti', in bahasa Indonesia is 'arti'


And we might have same word but different meaning.

For example : Bisa, in malay Bisa means poison, but in bahasa indo Bisa means : 1. can 2. poison


My personal experience

another example:

Alphabets, we have both the same A-Z like english alphabets, but malay alphabets has the same pronounciation as English, while Bahasa Indonesia alphabets our pronounciation is more like french alphabets, but the sound of each alphabets can be use directly to create a word. You don't have to guess again or worried about wrong pronounciation.


4. For last question : i will give you simple answer, either you learn Bahasa Indonesia or Bahasa Malayu, for sure with that language you can use it in at least 4 countries : Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore. Surely we can understand each other.


But if you observ from country population, country growth & potential, i guess Indonesian is more useful. 


Me, myself i teach both languages in the same time, but i teach Indonesian more often, coz i am native Indonesian.


PS : this is my personal opinion only, based on my experiences :)

January 21, 2016

1) Yes if your level is advanced enough
2) Easy/medium - no genders (German has 3, Spanish 2), no verb tenses (there are many languages with over 10 forms). What might be tricky is formal vs daily Indo is completely different; WAY more different than the difference between formal and daily English. You're not gonna learn daily Indo from a book
3) Harder because Indo's pronunciation is phonetic and Melayu is heavily accented. Melayu is like Indonesian with an Indian accent (for those of you who speak English, you'll know what the Indian accent sounds like in English)
4) Indo cause population-wise we're about 8.5x bigger (hence you're much more likely to run into an Indo than a Malaysian); and by 2030 Indo will be a top 5 world economy

April 23, 2016
Have u learn Bahasa Melayu before ? If you want to change to learn Bahasa Indonesia then, a small problem is different spelling.
Even though I'm malay, I have problem to read indonesia book but I understand when they speak. 
January 31, 2016
You must be really confused because of that right? Actually, if you can speak one of those two languages (Bahasa Indonesia & Bahasa Melayu), you can communicate to people from Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore... I think, it depends on your need :)
January 31, 2016

Thanks for your reply. As an Engish speakerr, then BM will be easier, but definitely Indonesian has the bigger population. This is definitely a dilemma!

January 30, 2016
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