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PRONUNCIATION GUIDE


The pronunciation of Bahasa Indonesia, Lamaholot, and other languages from the Indonesian archipelago, most of them closely related to Malay, should be fairly intuitive to speakers of Romance and Germanic speakers, but for English speakers it requires substantial adjustment.

Vowels:
  • a when at the end of a word or when followed by a single consonant is pronounced as in 'father'.
  • a when followed by two consonants or a single consonant in the last syllable, as in kabar, 'news', is pronounced as in 'Cannes'.
  • e in many cases, the majority of them in the first syllable of a word, is practically silent, as in kepala, 'head', pronounced 'kuh-pah-lah'.
  • e in other cases is pronounced like 'e' in 'men'. There is no rule, one just has to know. For that reason, in most dictionaries and some studies this pronunciation is indicated by an accent, as in péncil. We have adopted this convention as well, but be advised that the Indonesian Donald Duck is 'Donald Bebek', not 'Donald Bébék'.
  • i is pronounced as it is in the word 'Indonesia', i.e. either as in 'in' or in 'Asia'. It is never prounced as in 'I'.
  • o when followed by a two consonants or a single consonant in the last syllable is, as in pondok, is pronounced as in 'London'
  • o when at the end of a word or when followed by a single consonant is pronounced as in 'open'.
  • u is pronounced as in 'blue', never as in 'usual'.
  • y is always pronounced as in 'young', never as in 'why'.
Diphtongs:
  • ai is pronouced as in 'aisle', never as in 'aid'.
  • au is pronounced as in 'sauerkraut', never as in 'marauder'.
Consonants:
  • c is pronounced as 'ch' in 'challenge'. For example cari, 'to seek', is pronounced as 'charee'.
  • g is pronounced as in 'gum', never as in 'gem'.
  • j is pronounced as 'dj'.
  • r is lightly rolled, as in Romance and Germanic languages.
Bigraphs and trigraphs:
  • kh is pronounced gutturally as in 'loch'.
  • ng is pronounced as in 'hang'.
  • ngg is pronounced as in 'hung-ger', with an additional 'g'.
  • sy is pronounced like 'sh' in 'shoot'.
Note that in many older studies you will encounter words and place names in the colonial spelling, which is essentially Dutch phonetic, e.g. Soerabaja instead of Surabaya, Djokjakarta instead of Yogyakarta.





©Peter ten Hoopen, 2017. All rights reserved.