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What language do they speak in Bali?

Balinese people during Hindu ceremony

Plan to visit Bali in the near future and wondering what language they speak in Bali? Keep reading as we will discuss this topic in detail in this blog post.

Due to its popularity as one of the most visited holiday destinations in the world, people in Bali learn to speak many foreign languages such English, French, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and so on. Many travel agents provides professional tour guides who specialize in different foreign languages. English is the most common foreign language in Bali so if you speak this language, you won’t have any problems communicating with most people in Bali.

Bahasa Indonesia or Indonesian language

Bahasa Indonesia is the national language of Indonesia, widely spoken across the country including in Bali. Its simplicity (learn more about Indonesian’s simplicity here) and its popularity makes Indonesian the most common local language spoken in Bali. Balinese and Indonesians are appreciative if foreigners speak their language even basic sentences. Here are some basic sentences that you can try when you are in the country.

IndonesianEnglish Translation
Apa kabar?How are you?
Baik-baikI am fine
Selamat pagiGood morning
Selamat siangGood (early) afternoon
Selamat soreGood (late) afternoon
Selamat malamGood evening
Terima kasih/MakasihThank you
Sama-samaYou’re welcome
Nama saya JohnMy name is John
Saya dari AustraliI am from Australia
Saya tinggal di CangguI live in Canggu
Berapa harganya?How much is the price?
Bisa kurang?Can you lower the price?
Saya tidak punya uangI don’t have money

Bahasa Bali or Balinese language

Bahasa Bali is a local language widely spoken in the province of Bali. This language is mostly used by fellow Balinese to communicate to each in other in daily conversations as well as formal situations that involves Balinese traditions such as in traditional Balinese wedding, village meetings, and announcements in temple ceremonies. You will see Bahasa Bali in road sings along with their Indonesian translations. It also can be heard in the Bali’s I Gusti Ngurah Rai airport in its announcements.

There are three levels of Bahasa Bali: halus (high), madya (middle), and kepara (low). Halus Balinese is used to speak to people in higher castes or on special events such as wedding and temple ceremonies. Madya is normally for speaking to strangers, parents or teachers. Lastly Kepara is used in daily conversations with friends. Not all vocabulary has all three levels. For example, for the expression “how are you?”, “punapi gatra?” is used for both halus and madia, while “kenken kabare” is for kepara.

Want to impress Balinese people with some phrases in Bahasa Bali? Here are some important phrases that you can try when you are in Bali. These phrases are in madia or halus Balinese. In general, Balinese people are very tolerable with foreigners speaking less preferable Balinese, but as a Balinese myself, I am more impressed to hear halus/madia Balinese from foreigners.

Bahasa BaliEnglish Translation
Punapi gatra?How are you?
Becik-becikI am fine
Rahajeng semengGood morning
Rahajeng siangGood (early) afternoon
Rahajeng soreGood (late) afternoon
Rahajeng wengiGood evening
(Matur) suksmaThank you
Suksma mewaliYou’re welcome
Wastan tiang JohnMy name is John
Tiang saking AustraliI am from Australia
Tiang meneng ring CangguI live in Canggu
Aji kude niki?  How much is the price?
Dados kirang?Can you lower the price?
Tiang ten medue jinahI don’t have money

Other local languages in Indonesia

As one of the wealthiest provinces in Indonesia, Bali has many transmigrates from other places across the country. They bring their cultures and languages with them. Some common local languages heard in Bali are hear Javanese, Sasak (from the neighboring island Lombok), Sundanese, and Maduranese.  

Conclusion on what language do they speak in Bali.

Bali is linguistically diverse. Most common languages are Indonesian, the official language of Indonesia and Bahasa Bali, the local language used in the province of Bali. Due to its tourism industry, many Balinese people learn other foreign languges such as English, French, Japanese, Chinese, Korean so they can communicate and guide tourists from those countries. In addition, other local languages such as from other parts of Indonesia Javanese, Maduranese, Sundanese, and Sasak  also contribute to language diversity in Bali.

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Is Bahasa Indonesia easy to learn?

YES! Bahasa Indonesia was created to be the national language of 260 million speakers of thousands of local languages spread across 17,000 islands. Bahasa Indonesia is a second language for almost all of its speakers. Its success as a national language depends on it being easy to learn and easy to use.

Here are five reasons why Bahasa Indonesia is an easy language to learn.

It’s a phonetic language

This means that each letter in Indonesian represents one sound in the words it is used in. For example, the sound of “I” in “indah” is the same as the “I” in “ibu”. So you basically can pronounce any Indonesian words if you know how to pronounce the Indonesian alphabet.

Indonesian has no tenses or conjugation

Another easy feature of Bahasa Indonesia is that it doesn’t have any tenses. Instead, it uses time qualifying words to indicate when actions happen. For example:

I am eating – Saya sedang makan

I will eat – Saya akan makan

I already ate – Saya sudah makan

Bahasa Indonesia also doesn’t have any conjugation, meaning the verbs stay the same regardless of any subject they have. For example:

She/he eats – Dia makan

You eat – Anda makan

I eat – Saya makan

As you can see, the word ‘makan’ doesn’t change even though it has different subjects.

Bahasa Indonesia doesn’t have any articles

There are no “a”, “an”, and “the” in this language. For example:

An apple – apel

A house – rumah

Plural forms

In English, to indicate a plural noun, you can add “s” at the end of the word, e.g. houses, tables, teachers. In Bahasa Indonesia, to make a noun plural, you can simply repeat the word. For example:

A house = rumah

Houses = rumah-rumah

It’s important to note that you don’t have to repeat the word all of the time. If you already have a word that indicates the noun is plural, then you can say the word once. For example, for “many houses” Indonesians would say “banyak rumah” instead of “banyak rumah-rumah”.

Loan words from English

Bahasa Indonesia has a lot of loan words from English. Most of these words are different in spelling, but similar in pronunciation. Here are some examples:

activist – aktivis

actor – aktor

class – kelas

design – desain

evacuation – evakuasi

Bahasa Indonesia not only offers you grammatical and phonetic simplicity, but it also provides you with the opportunity to connect with the vibrant and ethnically diverse people who live across one the world’s largest archipelagos. With this in mind, it’s hard to find excuses not to learn the language. If this article tickles your taste buds, and you are ready to get started, contact us now.

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Bahasa Indonesia Course

Are you thinking of taking a Bahasa Indonesia course but you not sure which language school to go to? We have a few considerations for you!

Choosing a Bahasa Indonesia language school can be tricky as there are so many options available both in-class and online learnings. We provide four steps for you to follow in order to find your ideal language school.

Make language goals

What do you want to focus on? What do you want to achieve by the end of your Bahasa language course? These are a few questions that you need to answer. For example, if you want to be able to communicate with local people in spoken language, then you need to find a language school that emphasizes colloquial communication over correct grammar. If you are into correct grammar and formal Indonesian, then you need to find a school that offers such courses. Ideally, you want to find a language school that allows you to customize your learning to fit with your language goals. You don’t sit in a classroom and follow a textbook.

Check the school reputation

You certainly don’t want to end up in a crummy language school and listen to a teacher that you can’t stand. Before deciding to take their Bahasa Indonesia course, you need to know your teacher and his/her profile. You want to check the general information about the school like who runs it, how their curriculum is developed, how much experience and what qualifications the manager and teachers have. 

With a digitalized world now day, you can easily find the school’s reviews online.  

Pick your location

There are so many Indonesian language school across Indonesia. Of course you can study anywhere through online classes, but you will miss the opportunity to immerse yourself with local people. So we recommend you come to Indonesia and learn the language here.

Popular places to take a Bahasa Indonesia course are Bali, Yogyakarta and Jakarta. Each place has their own distinctive accent, but you will hear other accents as these three places are so diverse. Many people from other parts of Indonesia immigrate to these places.

If you fancy sunbathing in a beautiful sunny beach outside of your class time, then Bali is a no-brainer option. Bali also is famous for its rich culture and scenic landscapes. If you like big cities and don’t mind bad traffic, Jakarta is way to go. Jakarta also has some nice tourist attractions such as the National Monument, Thousand Islands, Kota Tua, Taman Mini Indonesia Park, Ancol Dreamland.  Jogyakarta is for you who are into Javanese culture and a smaller city. Some famous tourist spots in Yogyakarta include Brobudur, Water Castle, and Kraton of Yogyakarta.

Analyze the Cost

Price doesn’t always represent the quality of the language school. However, if you find school that charges too much or too little, then you have a right to be suspicious. To find out how much is too much or too little, you need to compare Bahasa Indonesia course fees among different schools in the same location. Then you need to compare the price with the school’s reputation and reviews. If you find a good school with cheaper price, why do you have to pay extra?