Learning Indonesian will enrich your life. Through apps to learn Indonesian, you can master the language and put it to good use when you visit Indonesia.
Yes, apart from being equipped with swimwear to soak up the tropical sun and a belly ready to be filled with the country’s gastronomic delights, it’s best not to forget the Indonesian language on your packing list. After all, every adventure is better with a friend and what better way to make one than by speaking the local language?
The best apps to learn Indonesian include Duolingo, Rosetta Stone and Babbel. Apart from those, there are lesser-known apps such as Rasa Bahasa, Learning Indonesian and Learn Bahasa Indonesian that could suit your needs better. Below, you’ll find information on these great apps to learn Indonesian.
Duolingo is one of the most well-known language learning apps in the business, and with good reason! Upon registration, Duolingo lets you set a daily goal and creates a programme filled with five-minute lessons suited to your language level. It then sends reminders to keep you on track with your learning.
The lessons are set in a game-like environment complete with levels and rewards. This keeps you motivated throughout your journey of learning Indonesian.
In the beginning, lessons focus solely on expanding your vocabulary. Later on, it develops into lessons that work on your listening comprehension skills to prepare you for IRL use.
PROS: Duolingo makes language learning a lifestyle by gamifying daily use with a curriculum of adaptive and useful topics that’s perfect for beginners.
CONS: It can’t stand alone in getting you to fluency. Duolingo Indonesia is excellent at providing encouragement and the basic tools to communicate, but it does not offer enough in terms of grammar and practical use of the language.
PRICE: Free! But if you want to get rid of ads and have unlimited lives, Duolingo Plus is available for $7/month.
Mondly is an app that is accessible for both mobile and PC. It is the same as Duolingo in that it gamifies the learning process for users. Heck, their tagline is even “playing your way to a new language.”
It makes use of a combination of course materials, augmented reality (AR) and chatbots to keep you engaged and motivated.
It allows users to learn practical phrases for daily conversation. The range of topics include greetings, phrases that allow you to introduce friends/family, order a cup of coffee, ask for directions, and so on. This way, you can slowly build your language fluency and practice in real-life every day.
PROS: Mondly is also a little more thorough in teaching vocabulary. It not only translates the words but also provides deeper meaning and how it is used in the proper context. They researched a lot on how to get the brain to memorise as effectively as possible and patterned their lesson plans according to that.
CONS: The free account is very limited. To get the full learning experience, the Premium Account is the way to go.
PRICE: Free for the initial “hello” topic (level 1) which includes seven lessons as well as a daily lesson. A paid account starts at $47.99 per year and unlocks the rest of the topics.
3. Learn Bahasa Indonesian
If all you’re willing to learn at the moment are key phrases to get you by, then this is the app for you.
Learn Bahasa Indonesian is an easy-to-use phrasebook with a carefully translated list of essential phrases. The app includes audio files spoken by a native speaker adjusted to make it easily understandable for non-speakers.
The app helps you get comfortable with using the language. It also aids in making you familiar with the sentence structures and pronunciations.
PROS: The app has a good range of phrases organized categorically to suit general needs while visiting Indonesia. It allows you to save your favourite phrases so you can go back to them whenever you like, and you may also search by keywords. This makes it the ultimate app to whip out whenever you’re stuck in a pinch. List of phrases include topics such as greetings, phrases for general conversation, eating out, directions, and more.
CONS: It’s not as interactive as the other apps on this list. There are also no lesson plans. Without the motivation to learn, the app may end up functioning as a dictionary or translator more than anything else.
4. Learning Indonesian
Learning Indonesian is an app that plays a beginner’s audio course in Indonesian Bahasa. It is based on a very popular online course.
The app features 20 lessons geared towards developing conversational fluency and best suits beginners. The method used in the course is Challenge and Response. They will teach the meaning, proper use, and pronunciation of a word. You are then expected to repeat it back. At the end of each lesson, you will partake in a mini quiz to test and recall what you have learned. Lessons includes greetings, how to introduce yourself, and how to express love and affection, among others.
When you register, you will also receive a learning guide for support while you listen.
PROS: The lessons present a fun and easy-to-follow way to learn. You can listen and learn while you’re in commute or doing errands. The commentary makes it a comfortable and enjoyable experience. The lessons are done in segments so as to not overwhelm the listeners and aid in retaining knowledge.
CONS: You will undoubtedly get a good amount of Indonesian Bahasa from the free lessons. However, you will have to purchase the Premium lesson in order to further your learnings. This comes at a pretty steep price of $149.96.
PRICE: Free for twenty 10-minute basic lessons. Premium costs $149.96 for lifetime access.
If you want something more comprehensive with a proper curriculum crafted by experts around the globe, Babbel is the app for you to learn Indonesian.
Upon registration, you take a diagnostic exam to assess your skill level. The app creates a learning path for you. You configure whether or not you would like to use speech recognition, you choose a lesson and then you’re ready to start learning.
It is a little more structured and on the textbook-format side. Babbel does, however, integrate a lot of storytelling in their lesson to keep their users engaged.
It teaches new vocabulary and grammar through repeating words back to speech recognition, matching words, phrases or sentences (depending on your skill level), completing dialogue with audio clips, and completing tables with multiple choices. In between every exercise, there is a short rundown of the lesson to highlight points learned.
PROS: Babbel focuses on getting you ready for conversation more than anything else. Because of this, their lessons are geared towards daily conversation to have you ready for everyday use as soon as possible. Their speech recognition is top notch and so are their very thorough lesson plans.
CONS: The app does not excite much just in terms of the interface and experience. It is text-heavy in comparison with its contemporaries because of how thorough it is with its lessons. That is a good thing if you are dedicated to learning, but otherwise, it could feel like having a book with interactive text.
PRICE: Babbel offers a free trial lesson, and then prices start at $6.95 per month for 12 months; $7.45 per month for 6 months; $8.95 per month for 3 months. They also offer a 20 days money-back guarantee.
6. Rasa Bahasa
Rasa Bahasa is a simple and easy-to-use app developed by the South Australian Department of Education. It supports students in the early years to develop and practice their Indonesian language skills. The app teaches primarily through flashcards but also features five other games.
The app has audio clips that help you learn correct pronunciation of words, and also allows you to record how you’ve said it so you can play it back to yourself later on.
PROS: Because the app was developed for younger learners, lessons are less multiple choice quiz and more tetris and memory games with Indonesian words. This makes the app engaging and enjoyable for younger learners and keeps them on the path.
CONS: With only 30 categories and a limited scope of lessons, Rasa Bahasa will do you a world of good in terms of learning Indonesian vocabulary but it can only take you so far.
Why is it important to learn Indonesian Bahasa?
There are just some things that cannot be translated. A little Indonesian goes a long way in distinguishing you from a passerby tourist to a person who appreciates the local culture.
With the language in your back pocket, you’ll have the key to unlock many more doors which would otherwise not have been an option. Language proficiency helps you travel more independently because you don’t have to rely on another person to translate everything. It also affords you better prices and you get to avoid scams.
In addition, Bahasa can be understood in Malaysia and Brunei as well. Hence, if you are not happy communicating with the 250 million Indonesians during your stay, you have a couple more just across the sea to have real conversations with. Sounds like a good deal to us!
Is Indonesian easy to learn?
In comparison to other Asian languages, Indonesian Bahasa is much easier. The language uses the Roman alphabet, meaning it does not contain any special characters. There are no tones or tenses, and it does not require changes when it comes to saluting a certain gender. It’s one of the easiest languages and sometimes all it takes are apps to learn Indonesian.
How long does it take to learn Indonesian?
According to experts, it takes 900 hours to learn the Indonesian language completely. This means that it will only take roughly three months of dedicated language learning and you’ll be ready to hit the streets!
What is the best way to learn Indonesian?
In conjunction with apps to learn Indonesian, it is also good to have classes or a study group. You can hire tutors on language learning platforms such as Preply and Italki to assist you on your course or just to put your lesson into practical use and have conversations in Indonesian. You can listen to Indonesian language podcasts. For example, IndonesianPod101 is a popular podcast that features audio lessons for every type of learning. It has a seven-day fluency fast course. Fan of Gordon Ramsey? Good. You could even watch the cooking competition, Master Chef Indonesia!
As you can see, there are plenty of awesome media in Indonesian that would be both educational and enjoyable for learners. All it takes is a search on Google, or a quick join on Indonesian language learning groups on Facebook.
Whatever route you choose or whichever app gets the download, what’s important is to stick with the lessons and enjoy the ride. Every adventure starts with a single step, but if these steps lead to the temples of Java, the streets of Jakarta, or the waves in Bali, then it is all worth it.