Saturday, October 09, 2010

#1 Bahasa Indonesia Pronunciation Mistake

Recently I was asked to assist some Indonesian language students with their reading, with a focus on pronunciation and fluency. As I listened to how they were pronouncing their words both in their speaking and reading, it was screamingly clear to me what the #1 trap 99% of the students were falling into... despite the fact that there ARE plenty of native Indonesian speakers here for them to learn from.

Can you guess what it is?

It's the "ng" combination when it's found in the middle of a word. For example, here are some of the most common everyday words where the 'ng' diphthong (letter combination that makes a single sound) shows up:

mengerti (to understand)
dengan (with)
ingin (wish / want)
jangan (don't)
tangan (hand)
mengingat (to remember)

Really, there are many, many words that have the 'ng' combo in the middle.

So what's the trap?

It's pronouncing the 'g' as a hard letter 'g' rather than the combo sound of 'ng' together. The correct sound is the same as in English when we say sung, or lung.

In Indonesian, the 'ng' combination is just that sound that you make at the back of your throat like you do at the end of the word sung. A hard 'g' sound should not be heard at the beginning of the next syllable.

Here's a short sound clip of each of the above words, first pronounced the wrong way, and then the correct way. Can you hear the difference?

It can be a little tricky to get it right at first, but once you've got it, you will start to break that bad habit of pronouncing the hard 'g' sound when it is not called for in a word.

Of course, the exception to this is when there is a double 'g' in the word, such as with...

tinggal (stay)
sungguh (really)
hingga (until)
Inggris (English)

In these words you do still have the 'ng' combo, but it's the second 'g' that gets the hard sound.

Here's a sound clip of how each of these words should be pronounced.

If you can learn to make this slight differentiation in how you pronounce Indonesian words with the diphthong 'ng' (where no second 'g' follows it) you will go a long way to losing your English accent! :-)

Have you mastered the 'ng' sound in bahasa Indonesia yet?

What has been your experience?

Let's get a discussion going on this tricky bit of Indonesian pronunciation. Just leave a comment below.


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Friday, October 01, 2010

This blog is not dead... just sleeping!

Hi everyone!

Have you wondered whether this blog has long ago been abandoned?

Well, it hasn't, really. It's just basically been in a long sleep because I have been too busy to devote time to this site. But my heart and intention have been to return to put more information together to help you along with your Indonesian language learning. And I do have some GREAT plans for that!

Plans that I am determined to carry out!

Technology has advanced from when I first started this site (and in my business where I make a living as a virtual bookkeeper and QuickBooks trainer online, I've learned how to use much of the new online technology), and there are some great ways that we can use them for learning to speak bahasa Indonesia much more quickly, and fun now!

These new ways include audio, video and even online live, interactive events!

But first things first. The goal of this post is to notify you that I will be moving this blog off of the Blogger platform and onto my own website soon. That way I will have much more flexibility to provide you with multi-media posts in the coming year.

Okay, you've heard me say I'm going to give this attention before... so let me prove to you that I'm serious about this and put a date on it. You can even harass me to MAKE SURE that I get it done! ;-)

So here's my commitment to you: I will have the all-new Kelas Bahasa site ready for you (and will notify everyone who is on the mailing list) by November 30th, 2010. The new website address is

If you go there now, you will see that I have already set up a new blog site, but the look and feel of it will change (since the technology has even improved since I did this just a couple months ago!)

So there you have it, my commitment to getting on the ball and working hard to bring you more ways to learn bahasa Indonesia... and have fun in the process! :-)

In the meantime, I'd love to hear about what YOU would like to have included on the new blog to help you along in your language learning. So please leave a comment below and let me know any ideas YOU have for making this an amazing and valuable place to learn and improve your Indonesian language skills.

Terima kasih buaaaanyak (that's how many Javanese people emphasize that they are VERY thankful...though I'm not Javanese, I am VERY thankful for you! :-)

Selamat belajar!


PS - If you haven't already, you should get onto the email notification list so that you get notified when the new site it up and ready for you with some brand new Indonesian language learning lessons. You can sign up here:

Kelas Bahasa Notification List

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