Enseignement de l'indonésien/Exceptions aux règles de prononciation

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Examples modifier

Three ways to pronounce e:

  1. bel (= bell)
  2. lebih (= more)
  3. beda (= different)

Two ways to pronounce o:

  1. toko (= shop)
  2. bongkah (= lump)

Catatan (Note) modifier

The Indonesian language lacks the letters q, v, x, and z. These letters were incorporated to accomodate foreign words. Even f is due to the influence of the Arabic alphabet.

A pair of the same vowel in succession are pronounced differently than just prolonging the vowel sound; rather, there is a slight pause between the vowels. For example: The word maaf, which means sorry, is pronounced as ma (slight pause) af.

There are four compound consonants (diphtongs): ng, ny, kh, and sy. Although they do not constitute new letters, they are pronounced differently:

Compound PronunciationIPA Sound
ngeng[ŋ] (not[ŋɡ])Like the soft ng in English, e.g. banging, singing. It is incorrect to pronounce it like bingo or mango (i.e. the hard ng). To pronounce the hard ng, we would use ngg instead (which are not considered as compound by itself).
nynye[ɲ]Like the ny in canyon. Much like the ñ sound in Spanish.
khkha[x]Like the ch in Lochness, or soft g in Spanish: gente
sysya[ʃ]Like the sh in shoe or ship

As is the case with the standalone letters, only ng and ny are native to Indonesian. Both kh and sy only appear in words with Arabic origin.

Examples modifier

Sungai (= River) → Soft ng
Bangga (= Proud) → Hard ng, note the ngg
Banyak (= A lot)
Akhir (= End)
Khalik (= The Creator/God, mainly used in poems)

Go to Exercise: Indonesian Rhymes

Tahu & tahu modifier

Tahu meaning know: the h is silent, and the word is pronounced to rhyme with bau (smell) (i.e. similarly to the English word Tao (Chinese philosophy).)

Tahu meaning tofu is pronounced "tah-who"

You can practice saying "Saya tidak tahu. Saya bukan tahu." The pronunciation should be different in the two cases.

Final ai modifier

In everyday Indonesian, the "ai" at the end of a root word is pronounced as e or ek (the k being a glottal stop, not an aspirated k). In informal writing (e.g. email) Indonesians sometimes spell this way as well, e.g. capek instead of capai.

Teacher's notes modifier

It is advisable to distribute this material through other lessons, rather than learning all these exceptions at once.