Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saya Belajar Bahasa Indonesia

One of my major tasks besides teaching English and absorbing Indonesian culture, is learning to speak Bahasa Indonesia. There is no incentive to learn a langauge quite like being thrown into a situation where no one speaks your own language. I can now say from experience that there is nothing as frustrating as never being completely understood by anyone.
During Fulbright orientation in Bandung I had Bahasa Indonesia lessons twice a day for a total of 3 hours every day. Since I've been at my site, however, I've had to teach myself. I have a book, "Teach Yourself Bahasa Indonesia" and a English-Indonesian dictionary that are very useful. I'm amazed at how quickly I'm learning! But there isn't much interesting in my book or in my basic conversations. So, how to make learning Bahasa Indonesia interesting?
I bought Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Bahasa Indonesia! I've read two pages so far and it took me 2.5 hours. I have to look up a lot of words in my dictionary. But this is an incredibly fun way to learn a language.
If you're interested in learning some Bahasa with me, here are a few key phrases I've learned (pronunciation is similar to in Spanish):
I am afraid of spiders. Saya takut laba-laba.
My name is Sarah. Nama saya Sarah.
I am from America. Saya dari Amerika.
I'm sorry. I can't speak Bahasa Indonesia. Maaf. Saya tidak bisa berbicara Bahasa Indonesia.
Thank you. Terima kasih.
I am happy. Saya senang.
Nice to meet you. Senang berjumpa dengan Anda.
I already ate. Saya sudah makan. (This is because people are constantly trying to feed me. Which is very nice, but sometimes it is just impossible to fit more food into my stomach.)
I like... Saya suka...
I want... Saya mau...
I am a vegetarian. Saya vegetarian. (This is very confusing to people. It takes a lot more explaining than this to get food without meat. Also, people think that because I am a vegetarian I must eat 4-5 eggs every day. I have no idea why they think that...I don't even really like eggs.)
1 satu
2 dua
3 tiga
4 empat
5 lima
6 enam
7 tujuh
8 delipan
9 sembilan
10 sepuluh


  1. Where did you get Harry Potter?! I would love to learn bahasa indonesia that way! Love the blog and you still need to tell me how to feature your blog on mine...miss you!

  2. Wow, awesome stuff you got there :D
    (Probably they think you have 4-5 eggs a day to replenish your protein...?)