Spoken by over 160 million people in Southeastern Asia, Bahasa Indonesia (literally Indonesian language) can claim a seat amongst the most widely used languages on Earth.
So why then, if so many people speak the language, is it so infrequently studied by language learners, never taught in foreign schools and entirely neglected by language learning programs and the companies that produce them?
While it is true that the Indonesian language is mostly concentrated on the islands that make up the archipelago, the country’s rapidly emerging Internet and social media culture coupled by a growing economy mean that the language is far more relevant on the global scale than many may be aware.
Indonesian is said to be mutually intelligible with the languages of Malaysia and Singapore, further increasing the number of speakers with whom a learner of Indonesian could unlock communications by tens of millions.
No language is especially easy to learn, and the difficulty of any given tongue relies on too many things to make it easily quantifiable. That said, Indonesian doesn’t appear to be an especially difficult language to learn by English speaker standards.
With no tenses, genders, or tones, and a simple SVO word order, Indonesian instantly ranks in my opinion as being easier than many other Asian languages – most of which are famous for being especially difficult for English speakers to learn.
Furthermore, potential learners also be happy to know that the Indonesian language is written with the Latin script, The added pressure of acquiring a new alphabet or other writing system won’t prove to be a burden.
Why might learning Indonesian benefit an international audience? Indonesia is currently serving as prime ground for tech start ups and other international businesses from around the world. This also increases the demand for teachers of other languages, particularly English, in Indonesia.
Not going to visit Indonesia any time soon? That’s not really an issue. Indonesia’s Internet culture is bigger than ever and nearly half of all Internet users access the web through their phones or other mobile devices. Finding people to speak to via Skype or Google Hangouts would be a snap.
As English is becoming increasingly popular and common in Indonesia and the number of speakers and foreign investors increases, finding individuals interested in language exchange has never been easier.
LATG can boast a truly significant Indonesian fan base, Jakarta in particular is one of the cities wit the most fans on our Facebook page and Indonesians are the second largest demographic that reads this blog, coming in only behind The United States.
Check out this infographic from techinasia.com for more information about Indonesia’s Internet and social media growth.
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