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Bahasa Indonesia is one of the most unique languages in Southeast Asia. It is spoken by more than 40 million people, most of whom live in Indonesia. Whether you’re trying to pick up basic Indonesian for an upcoming trip and want to converse fluently in the language, learning Indonesian will enrich your life.
Thankfully, there are plenty of apps to learn Indonesian that you can download to help you master the language!
Why are apps the best way to learn Indonesian?
Indonesian is a complex language that encompasses multiple cultural and linguistic nuances. While it uses the same alphabet as English, everything from pronunciation to grammar differs greatly.
One of the best ways to start is to build a strong, basic grasp of rudimentary Bahasa Indonesia. Apps are a great way to do this because they provide the opportunity to learn on the go.
- Apps like Babbel and Pimsleur provide holistic courses that you can access with just a tap of a button on your phone.
- In addition, short daily lessons from apps like Duolingo and Mondly offer learners who can’t afford to spend hours a day reading language books the chance to gradually build up their proficiency.
- Finally, to supplement your learning, you could also search for an affordable tutor on italki or Preply.
Excited already? Alright, no more teasing. Let’s dive in now and check out the best apps to learn Indonesian!
Best all-round apps to learn Indonesian
Out of all the apps to learn Bahasa Indonesia, Babbel is arguably the most comprehensive one on the market. Before you even begin, you’ll be able to take a placement test so that the app can gauge your level of Indonesian proficiency. This makes Babbel a good app not just for beginners but also intermediate learners.
Once you find your level, you’ll be able to start learning via multiple different courses and lessons, each expertly crafted to deliver results. Lessons on Babbel are often interactive and focus heavily on conversational topics.
They include audio clips to get you attuned to proper pronunciation and spaced repetition to help you retain what you’ve learned through memory.
Why we love Babbel:
- A pre-course assessment to gauge your level
- Engaging content that focuses on daily conversational topics
- Holistic lessons that help work on fundamental grammar
Price: Monthly subscription on Babbel costs $12.95 while a yearly plan will set you back $83.40. Quarterly and half-yearly plans are also available. Sign up here.
Devices: Babbel is available on the App Store (iOS) and the Google Play Store (Android).
If what you want is to be able to converse fluently, then Pimsleur is easily the best app to learn Indonesian for you! By relying on its patented Pimsleur Method, the app prioritizes getting the learner comfortable with speaking the language.
By relying on existing research on learning techniques that tap on intuitive learning and combining them with essential vocabulary, Pimsleur allows the user to immerse themselves completely in the language.
Their audio lessons, based on real-world contexts, will also help you boost your pronunciation and pick up important grammatical nuances. What’s more, your vocabulary bank is sure to expand the more you tune in!
Why we love Pimsleur:
- Audio lessons that focus on real-world conversational skills
- Facilitates offline learning
- Comes with a hands-free mode so you can learn anytime
Price: The whole course is free for seven days! After that, you can buy a bundle of five lessons for $21.95, or pick up the full course for $119.95.
Devices: Pimsleur is available on the App Store (iOS) and the Google Play Store (Android).
Best casual, fun apps to learn Indonesian
Mondly is another app to learn Indonesian that keeps you engaged through interactive lessons. Available on both mobile and PC, Mondly promotes active learning by gamifying the process. As you improve your fluency in the language, you’ll collect points that “unlock” the next level!
Each lesson emphasizes a different aspect of Bahasa Indonesia and lasts only a few minutes each. These bite-sized lessons focus on conversational topics such as greetings and ordering food at a restaurant.
Add to that the fun of level progression and what you have is an Indonesian language app that quickly becomes equal parts recreation and education.
Why we love Mondly:
- Great, fun way to acquire new vocabulary and practice grammar
- Quick, casual lessons that are perfect for busy learners
- Synchronized access across different platforms
Devices: Mondly is available on the App Store (iOS) and the Google Play Store (Android).
I’m pretty sure Duolingo needs no elaborate introduction. It is one of the most popular language-learning apps in the world and, for casual learners, provides a fun, interactive way to learn Indonesian online.
The emphasis of Duolingo is casual learning. Rather than put users through complex courses, the app allows you to set daily learning goals and helps you achieve them with short, personalized lessons! And, to ensure that you don’t lose interest, the lessons are split into levels where you can earn rewards to unlock the next lesson like a game!
However, just because it’s casual doesn’t mean it’s less effective. The app starts by teaching you basic words in Bahasa Indonesia before moving on to other essential aspects like comprehension and pronunciation.
Why we love Duolingo:
- An engaging way for total beginners to start learning Indonesian
- Short, holistic lessons that optimize information absorption
- Game-like environment keeps the learning process fresh
Price: The app itself is free. But for an ad-free experience, you can subscribe to the premium version for $6.99/month
One of the apps to learn Indonesian that I personally really like is Drops. It features an extremely smooth and gorgeous interface that makes learning the language an aesthetically pleasing experience. But this isn’t just a pretty app.
Beyond the stunning visuals, Drops fully makes use of flashcards and word association to help users effectively (and quickly) learn and understand new Indonesian words and phrases. The best part about this method is that you don’t need to spend hours on the app just to learn Indonesian. In fact, each lesson on Drops lasts only about five minutes!
And while it feels like the perfect app to learn Indonesian for beginners, it actually caters to all levels of proficiency! So whether you’re trying to expand your word bank or simply want a refresher, we highly recommend this lovely app!
Why you should try Drops:
- Short, quick lessons that don’t take up much time
- Vivid flashcards that keep you interested
- Great way to learn more vocabulary in a short space of time
Price: Premium features start at $9.99/month or $159.99 for lifetime access. Start here.
Devices: Drops is available on the App Store (iOS) and the Google Play Store (Android).
Unlike most of the other apps on this list, Ling is still relatively unknown. However, we think that it is one of the up-and-coming apps to learn Indonesian that will soon be considered one of the best of its kind.
Ling models itself as the perfect tool for self-study sessions and promotes learning Indonesian in a fun, interactive way. From basic grammar to common words and phrases, and even proper pronunciation, everything is delivered in engaging lessons (games, puzzles, quizzes, and more) aimed to retain your interest in the long term.
Why you should try Ling:
- Game-centric lessons that keep you coming back
- Covers a wide range of topics that are crucial to achieving fluency
- A handy chatbot to practice conversational skills
Price: It’s free. Premium access to all modules start at $8.99/month.
Devices: Ling is available on the App Store (iOS) and the Google Play Store (Android)
For beginners or those who simply want to learn enough Bahasa Indonesia for a week in Bali, we recommend Learn Bahasa Indonesian. It’s basically a useful phrasebook that contains a list of essential phrases in addition to short audio lessons to help with pronunciation.
The phrases are split into different topics. These include basic greetings, ordering food, asking directions, and more, most of which are super helpful for the avid traveler. If you find a particular list that you feel you might use more often than others, you can simply save it for easier access later!
Why we love Learn Bahasa Indonesian:
- Quick way to learn useful phrases
- Ability to store your favorite phrases
- Offers offline access
Another nifty app to learn Indonesian that’s perfect for beginners is Learn Indonesian. The app is basically a comprehensive word bank and phrasebook that helps enhance your vocabulary and helps you gain more fluency using what you’ve learned.
Featuring vibrant illustrations, high-quality audio lessons, and a smart search function among other useful tools, Learn Indonesian is one of the top apps to learn Indonesian if you want to quickly expand your conversational word bank.
Helpfully, lessons are also separated by categories including travel, business, and more. This makes it super easy to find exactly what you want without sifting through hours of courses and lessons!
Why we love Learn Indonesian:
- Vibrant interface makes learning a fun experience
- Comprehensive word bank and phrasebook
- Offline access
Price: Premium access starts at $4.99/month while lifetime access costs $65
9. Rasa Bahasa
Rasa Bahasa is a simple app developed by the South Australian Department of Education. It supports students in their journey to develop and practice their Indonesian language skills.
The app builds vocabulary primarily through flashcards but also features five interactive games. It includes matching words to the right categories, picture symbols, pronunciation and more.
The app integrates audio clips that help you learn the correct pronunciation of words. You can also record your pronunciation for comparison and improvement.
Why we love Rasa Bahasa:
- Useful for building vocabulary through flashcards
- App is tetris-like and includes memory games
- Engaging and enjoyable, even for young learners
Devices: Rasa Bahasa is available exclusively on the App Store (iOS)
Best apps to find a tutor online
As helpful as apps for learning Indonesian are, sometimes having someone to guide you along the way makes all the difference. italki is one of the best language learning platforms in the world to get connected with tutors and fellow learners to supplement your learning.
Using the app, you can arrange for lessons (conducted via Skype) with native Indonesian speakers that run for either 30, 45, 60, or 90 minutes. The nature of the lessons depends on you. Choose from a properly structured lesson taught by professional tutors or just a casual chat with community tutors and fellow learners.
For those who learn better under the tutelage of others (or if you simply crave some cultural immersion), then italki is definitely one app to learn Indonesian you don’t want to miss!
Why we love italki:
- Quality one-on-one tutoring lessons with native speakers
- Personalized lessons based on your own preferences
- Great practice for conversing in Indonesian
Price: Joining the platform is free but tutoring sessions start from $4/hour. Find an affordable Indonesian tutor here.
Devices: Italki is available on the App Store (iOS) and the Google Play Store (Android).
Another awesome app to look for Indonesian tutors is Preply. Unlike Italki (where you can choose between formal lessons or casual conversations) though, most users on Preply are teachers and tutors by profession, in addition to being native speakers.
Lessons on Preply are often professionally structured and are designed to help you master Bahasa Indonesia. Even though lessons are planned according to individual requirements, you can expect plenty of time to work on fundamental language skills like grammar and essential vocabulary.
Why we love Preply:
- Affordable one-on-one lessons with professional tutors
- Comprehensively-structured lessons that cover all bases
- Personalized sessions based on each learner’s requirements
Price: The fee for each tutor differs. However, expect an average price of about $15/hour. Find a tutor on Preply here.
Devices: Preply is available on the App Store (iOS) and the Google Play Store (Android).
FAQs about learning Bahasa Indonesia
Why learn Indonesian in the first place?
While a handy translation app can help if you’re on a short holiday in Indonesia, being able to speak Indonesian allows you to travel more independently. What’s more, some cultural nuances can only be fully appreciated in their native language.
What countries can understand Bahasa Indonesia?
By learning Indonesian, not only will you be able to converse with native speakers in Indonesia, but the language is also mutually intelligible with Bahasa Melayu in Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei too!
Is Indonesian easy to learn?
In comparison to other Asian languages, Indonesian is much easier. For one, it uses the Roman alphabet, and words are pronounced the way they look. As long as you can master the basics of grammar, you’re golden!
How long does it take to learn Indonesian?
According to experts, it takes 900 hours to learn the Indonesian language completely. Thankfully, you have these awesome apps to learn Indonesian to help you!
Finally, what is the best way to learn Indonesian?
Personally, I would say to combine a holistic app like Babbel with a flashcard app like Drops to quickly build a strong foundation. After that, it helps to find a tutor on italki to help improve your fluency further. These individual apps to learn Indonesian are great, but only when you combine them can you reap the full benefits.
What other Indonesian learning resources are available?
In addition, you can also look for podcasts like IndonesianPod101 or watch shows like Master Chef Indonesia! There’s plenty of enticing Indonesian media to enjoy as you pick up subtle language skills. A personal favorite of mine is the Indonesian film Love for Sale (2018) which is available on Netflix!
Ultimately, whatever route or app you choose, what’s important is to stick with the lessons and enjoy the ride. So what are you waiting for? Start your Indonesian learning journey today!