More on learning Indonesian

When I first started learning Bahasa Indonesia, someone told me that it would be best to learn the basics before diving into any kind of intensive course. That was good advice because it is easy enough to get a hold of basic Bahasa Indonesia by yourself. This way, you save a lot of time and money because you don't have to plough through beginner classes.

I used two main resources to learn things like numbers, pronunciation, simple phrases and so on. First of all, I downloaded all the lessons from There isn't much material, but these lessons were a good introduction to Bahasa Indonesia.

Even better than those lessons were all the free lessons I downloaded from There are about 50 or so free lessons you can download from that website. Each lesson is about five to 10 minutes long and the "hosts" are an American man and an Indonesian woman. They're both easy to understand and I picked up a lot from these lessons.

Once you have finished all the free lessons, there are more lessons that you can download for $11.75. I downloaded a couple of these and they were useful for the extra vocab and the listening exercises they contained.

I'm now about four months into learning Bahasa Indonesia and I'm more than halfway through my intensive course at UKSW. Everything has gone fine so far. I graduated from the four-week Upper Intermediate level with a high distinction and scored 91% overall, which I was really pleased with.

I now have a couple more weeks of classroom time. We started UKSW's Level 4 today. I feel like a bit of a jerk because after the class, I asked if I could go in a class by myself because I only have two weeks, whereas the others have three. I just wanted to go through things a bit quicker really.

Anyway, I recently bought a couple of Indonesian novels from the Gramedia book store in Semarang. It makes for a refreshing change to have something to read that isn't some kind of text book or a newspaper.

I find myself reading the Nyata tabloid quite a lot because the language used in it is far simpler when compared with regular newspapers. But there's only so much fun I can have reading about Indonesian celebrities.

The first book I bought is called Orang Miskin Dilarang Sekolah, or A Poor Person Forbidden from Going to School. It's by Wiwid Prasyeto. A lot of the books in Gramedia were either translations or else they looked like the book equivalent of chick flicks. This one seemed to have a more serious edge to it.

The second book I bought is Sebuah Memoar Cinta, or A Love Memoir. I'm about halfway through it and have found the language manageable enough. What I find most interesting is the way the author describes things like the sky or the weather, often as a metaphor for her own emotions.

I don't know if either of the books I bought are considered good reads, so to speak, but they suit my needs perfectly.

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2 thoughts on “More on learning Indonesian

  1. great post matt.
    i think it's not a jerk thing to go on a class by yourself.
    it's simply perfect decision of saving yourself from the other tingkat 4 insanity. I guess you've done enough staying two days with them. The more you stay, the more spit-balls n hatred of walty you could ever had. haha..

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