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sukitc

Is Bahasa the easiest language to master?

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sukitc

I know this is a fairly complex question, but I always hear that Bahasa is the easiest language to pick up fluency in. Since there are so many multi-linguists on this website, I wonder whether people could vouch to this.

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Hofmann
Bahasa is a malay word meaning "language." It is not a language.

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sukitc

Thanks, I actually used the term as a short form for Bahasa Indonesia.

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anonymoose

I think so. I learnt a bit of Indonesian, and at least for a native English speaker, it is relatively easy to pick up.

I also think Swedish/Norwegian/Danish are fairly easy.

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Hofmann

Check this out. For English speakers, FSI places..

Afrikaans

Danish

Dutch

French

Italian

Norwegian

Portuguese

Romanian

Spanish

Swedish

German

...before Indonesian.

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Hofmann

Well, I think FSI's methods of obtaining this list make more sense than your method of obtaining yours.

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anonymoose

Of course it's a fact that the ease with which one can learn another language depends heavily on what one's native language is, and also on which other languages one is familiar. Therefore it is not possible to say which language is the easiest to learn.

On the other hand, that is not to say that all languages are equally as easy, and it depends only on one's native language. To some extent, I think it is possible to rank languages objectively based on their complexity or difficulty, even though each person's personal perception may differ somewhat.

Some factors which make Indonesian easy are that the verbs do not conjugate, there are no grammatical tenses, nouns do not have gender, and there are no tones. Also, there are quite a lot of cognates with English, and word order is not vastly different to English, so this is also a bonus for native English speakers.

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Erbse

Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Melayu share quite some similarities and both incorporate a lot of words You already know. Indonesia has been a colony of the Netherlands, so You can find tons of Dutch words in that language. Malaysia has been a British colony and has lots of English words, however the Indonesian variant has more than 200 million speakers, far more than Bahasa Melayu so learning Bahasa Indonesia should be more meaningful.

Also the grammar is simple and the use of the English alphabet makes reading and writing easy.

I had an Indonesian girlfriend for a while. Although I didn't learn the language, after a short while I could easily recognize the words as they seem very distinctive.

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d4rk182

bahasa indonesia is not hard as a chinese or japanese

but indonesian had so many local dialect like

-sundanese

-javanese

-batak

-west javanese accent

-manado

-and so many

but if you could speak bahasa indonesia well

i think you would be able to communicate with majority of indonesian citizen

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rlinda_yuya

I agree, most foreigners who live here manage to speak bahasa decently after just few months, local dialect is not that hard and it's not widely used in big city.

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Guoke

Colloquial Malay is easy to learn and written Malay with more complicated grammar is more difficult to learn. It can be confusing for a Malay language learner to have to speak one way and write another.

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chrix

I would disagree. It is simple for Westerners to start with but it does plateau out quite a bit if you want to get beyond the tourist everyday speech. And you need to have a firm grasp of both the colloquial Jakarta Indonesian as well as the Bahasa Indonesia yang baik dan benar.

The vocabulary can be hard to remember too, outside of the international vocabulary, a lot has to be learnt from scratch (whereas if English is your mother tongue, you will run into a lot of cognates when learning a Romance or another Germanic language).

When I was learning Indonesian this was the first time I actively came up with silly mnemonics to remember words better (like "tujuh" is seven because the week "toujours" has seven days, sembilan is nine because it starts with "S" like the month of September, or kita and kami: "God descended from heaven": Kami ga tengoku kara orite kita. (before he was in heaven "without us" (so 1p.exclusive), and on earth he was "with all of us" (so 1p. inclusive)) The Samoan classes I took in college also came in handy: sefulu "ten" (and many other numbers), afi "fire", i'a "fish", inu "drink" :mrgreen:

Edited by chrix

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Ah-Bin

Is this thing about calling Indonesian "Bahasa" world-wide or just confined to Australians? I notice they say it on the news here sometimes.

All the other languages are called "Bahasa" too

Bahasa Jawa (Javenese)

Bahasa Melayu etc.

I demand fair treatment for the other bahasas! Either that or start calling Chinese "hua" or "yu"

Why not just call Indonesian like people have been doing for years?

Reminds me of Japan where they do stuff like calling Korean "Hangul"

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chrix

No, it's world-wide and some Indonesians do it too when talking English...

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Erbse

By the way, do you know any forums similar to chinese-forums, just for Bahasa Indonesia?

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chrix

I'm afraid not. Most forums on Indonesia are more geared towards tourism, there's unilang, but not too much activity there. Check out my blog on Indonesian, http://indonesischblog.wordpress.com, I have some links to forums on there.

Edited by chrix

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calibre2001

I heard that President Obama will be in Indonesia next week. Hopefully we'll get to see him using his Bahasa skills after such a long period of being away. It'll be so interesting...

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chrix

I've written about this: http://indonesischblog.wordpress.com/2009/02/15/noch-einmal-obamas-indonesischkenntnisse/ (in German, I come to the conclusion that while he still may have a good pronunciation, he won't be able to hold a conversation that goes beyond "How are you" - "Fine thank you"). There's also a languagelog entry about this: http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=1025

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trien27
I actually used the term as a short form for Bahasa Indonesia.

Not in Malaysia you won't. Only in Indonesia perhaps?!

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