Although many of the younger people in the more ‘touristy’ areas of Bali know some degree of English, it being a compulsory subject in high school, a knowledge of bahasa Indonesia, the national language of the Indonesian Archipelago, is a definite asset in further communication with the Balinese. However, even fluency in this language will not ensure an understanding of all the Balinese have to say. The reason for this is that Bali, like all other areas of Indonesia, also has its own local language – Balinese – which is not a dialect of Indonesian, but is a totally different language – in fact, three languages! High Balinese is used to talk to older people or people of a higher caste than yourself, Low Balinese for your peers or those of a lower caste, and Middle Balinese for those in uncertain situations, until a person’s caste becomes evident. Thus, all Balinese know at least four languages.
Because of the wonderful impact that even a few words of hesitantly spoken Indonesian can have in a newly formed relationship with any Balinese person, as well as the mere usefulness in some situations, a number of common words and phrases have been included on the following page. For pronunciation – ask anyone who can speak it!
Of course as with all developed languages, bahasa Indonesia becomes more involved with a deeper study of it. however to gain a basic survival level of understanding it is one of the most easiest languages in the world to learn. And with over 200 million people using it as the lingua franca in Indonesia, as well as the language spoken throughout Malaysia being almost the same as that spoken in Indonesia, a little bit of knowledge of Indonesian will open up many doors of communication in this area of the world.
If you wish to spend more time learning Indonesian while staying with us at Klub Kokos, we can also arrange Indonesian language lessons for you on site to fit around any of the other plans that you may have for your holiday.
For starters, here is a list of a few useful words.