Learn Basic Indonesian Vocabulary Types and Examples

vocabulary bahasa indonesia

When it comes to mastering a new language, it’s always a good idea to build your vocabulary. The same idea applies to anyone who is learning basic Indonesian. Having a wide range of Indonesian vocabulary is essential to your progress, especially when the grammar side of basic Indonesian is quite simple!

A Few Tips Before You Start Learning Basic Indonesian Vocabulary

To learn Indonesian vocabulary effectively, it’s essential to come prepared. Other than your usual pen and paper as learning tools, here are a few tips to help you learn basic Indonesian vocabulary so you won’t forget it easily: 

1. Build a reading habit

When building any vocabulary, including basic Indonesian vocabulary, one of our most favorite ways of learning is through reading. It can be a bite-sized tweet, a snippet of news, social media feeds, and all different sources. 

2. Indonesian Vocabulary Of The Day

Instead of aiming for dozens of new Indonesian vocabulary, try memorizing 3 words of the day. Make an effort to remember these basic Indonesian words consciously and then apply them to context whenever possible. 

For example, if you just learned the word “Mari” which means “ let’s”, you can try to say it differently on the same day. It works wonders!

3. Focus on practical words

You want to learn Indonesian where you can use them in real life, so start with Indonesian vocabulary that relates to your daily activities. For example, if you are learning basic Indonesian as a part of your career, then focus on relevant Indonesian vocabulary instead of going too broad. 

4. But don’t forget the basic Indonesian vocabulary

While trying to learn Indonesian vocabulary that is relevant to you, you also want to get the basic Indonesian vocabulary out of the way. So without further ado, let’s learn basic Indonesian vocabulary- all grouped into types and examples for your easy learning.

The Basic: Learn Indonesian Vocabulary

1. Nouns

In Indonesian vocabulary, nouns refer to a person/people, things, places, and abstracts. You will notice that as you learn the Indonesian language, there is no specific division or types of nouns- but rather, a certain basic Indonesian vocabulary for each word. For examples:

Indonesian Vocabulary

English

Ibu

Ayah

Anak/anak-anak

Rumah

Kantor

Teman

Rekan kerja

Pegawai

Atasan

Cuaca

Orang-orang 

Pekerjaan

Sekolah

Bandara udara

Mobil

Mother

Father

Child/Children

Home

Office

Friend

Colleague

Employee

Employer

Weather

People

Job

School

Airport

Car

Examples:

  • Ibu saya bekerja sebagai guru = My mother works as a teacher
  • Mengapa orang-orang berkumpul? = Why are the people gathering?
  • Tahun berapa kelahiranmu? = What year were you born? 
  • Komputer Saya sedang rusak = My computer doesn’t work

Saya harus ke dokter segera = I need to visit a doctor asap

2. Pronouns

Same as the English language, basic Indonesian vocabulary for pronouns takes the place of nouns. 

Types of Pronouns

Indonesian Vocabulary

English

Personal Pronouns

  • Subject
  • Object

Saya, kamu, kami/kita,mereka, dia 

  • I, you, we, they, he, she, it
  • Me, you, us, them,him,her,it

Possessive Pronouns

Milik + ( Saya/ku, kamu/mu, kami/kita, mereka, dia)

Mine, yours, ours, theirs, him, hers, its

Reflexive Pronouns

Diri + (Saya/ku, kamu/mu,kami/kita, mereka,dia) 

Myself, yourself, ourselves, themselves, himself, herself, itself

Demonstrative pronouns

Ini & Itu

This/these & that/those

Relative Pronouns

Yang

Who, whom, that, which (=ever)

Interrogative Pronouns

Siapa, yang mana, apa

Who/whom, which, what

Reciprocal Pronouns

Satu sama lain, masing-masing

Each other

Examples:

  • Kamu masih ingat saya? = Do you remember me?
  • Itu buku dia yang baru dibeli = That book is his which is new
  • Saya bangga pada diriku  = I’m proud of myself
  • Siapa yang mau ikut dia ke kantor?= Who wants to follow him to the office?
  • Kita harus percaya satu sama lain = We have to trust each other

3. Verbs

Verbs in basic Indonesian vocabulary describe an action

Indonesian Vocabulary

English

Pulang

Pergi

Makan

Belajar

Kerja

Buka

Tutup

Bicara

Pesan

Baca

Tulis

Dengar

Jual

Beli

Go Home

Go

Eat

Study

Work

Close

Open

Talk

Order

Read

Write

Listen

Buy

Sell 

Examples:

  • Hubungi saya saat kamu tiba di rumah= Call me when you get home 
  • Saya suka sekali acara itu = I really love the show
  • Jangan lupa tutup pintu!  =Don’t forget to close the door!
  • Kami olahraga setiap pagi = We exercise everyday
  • Dia konsumsi vitamin untuk sehat = He takes vitamins for his health

Note: To learn the Indonesian language like a pro, mastering the verbs is essential since it’s a huge part of the basic Indonesian vocabulary. Be sure to keep practicing.

4. Adverbs

Adverbs are words or phrases used to explain verbs, adjectives, or relation of place, time, circumstance, manner, cause, degree, etc.  

Types of Adverbs

Indonesian Vocabulary

English

Adverbs of Frequency

Selalu, biasanya, sering, kadang-kadang, jarang, tidak pernah dll

Always, usually, often, sometimes, rarely, never, etc

Adverbs of Time

Sudah, lalu, sebelum, belum, tidak pernah, kemarin, segera, akhir-akhir ini dll

Already, ago, before, yet, never, yesterday, soon, lately, etc

Adverbs of Manner

Jadi, dengan pelan, dengan buruk, dengan indah, dengan bising, dengan senang hati dll

So, slowly, badly, beautifully, loudly, happily, etc

Adverbs of Degree

Hampir, sepenuhnya, agak, juga, cukup dll

Almost, fully, quite, too, enough, etc

Adverbs of Place

Disini, dimana-mana, dekat, bawah, jauh, mundur, naik dll

Here, everywhere, near, down, away, backward, upwards, etc

Conjunctive Adverbs

Lalu, sekarang, pasti, lagipula, jadi dll

Next, now, undoubtedly, besides, anyway, etc

Examples:

  • Hubungi saya saat kamu tiba di rumah= Call me when you get home 
  • Saya suka sekali acara itu = I really love the show 
  • Jangan lupa tutup pintu!  =Don’t forget to close the door!
  • Kami olahraga setiap pagi = We exercise everyday
  • Dia konsumsi vitamin untuk sehat = He takes vitamins for his health

5. Adjectives

Here are some of the most common Indonesian vocabularies for adjectives:

Indonesian Vocabulary

English

Besar

Kecil

Mahal

Murah

Cantik

Lucu

Pintar

Bodoh

Tua

Muda

Bahagia

Sedih

Cepat

Lambat

Big

Small

Expensive

Cheap

Pretty

Cute/funny

Smart

Stupid

Old

Young

Happy

Sad

Fast

Slow 

For comparative adjectives, simply add the word “ lebih—daripada” to replace “ more—-than”. Meanwhile, for superlative adjectives, use “paling” to represent “the most”

Examples:

  • Rumahnya dekat dengan rumahku = His house is near my house
  • Filmnya menarik sekali = The movie is very interesting 
  • Topi favorit saya berwarna biru = My favorite hat is blue color
  • Dia ngantuk dan pulang lebih cepat = He was sleepy and went home earlier.
  • Dia murid paling rajin di kelas = He is the most diligent student in the class.

6. Preposition

Prepositions are used before a noun/pronoun to show direction, time, place, location or to introduce an object. Here are some basic Indonesian vocabulary for prepositions:

Indonesian Vocabulary

English

Di 

Pada

Dengan

Dari

Selama

Hingga

Seberang

Sekitar

Diantara

Bawah

Atas

Dalam

Sejak

Oleh

at/in/on ( place)

at/in ( time)

With 

From

For/during/throughout

Until 

Across

About/ Around

Between/among

Under 

Above/On

In/Into

Since

By

Examples:

  • Saya tinggal di Jakarta sejak tahun 2000 = I have lived in Jakarta since 2000
  • Kita janji berjumpa pada pukul 7 malam = We plan to meet at 7 tonight
  • Dia belajar selama 2 jam = He studied for 2 hours
  • Diantara mereka berdua, Joni lebih rajin = Between the two of them, Joni is more hardworking
  • Dia meletakkan mainan ke dalam kotak = He put the toy into the box

7. Conjunction

Conjunctions act like connectors between two ideas ( words, phrases, clauses, or paragraphs). Here are some examples of basic Indonesian vocabulary for conjunctions. 

Types of Conjunctions

Indonesian Vocabulary

English

Coordinating Conjunctions

Karena, Dan, Tidak juga, Atau, Namun, Jadi

For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So

Subordinating Conjunctions

Setelah, Meskipun, Ketika, Karena, Sebelum, Supaya, Kecuali, dll

After, Although, As, Because, Before, So that, Unless etc

Correlative Conjunctions

Baik….atau, Tidak hanya…tapi juga, Baik ….dan, Sama….jadi, Daripada….lebih baik dll

Either….or…., Not only…but, Both….and, Just as….so, rather….than etc

Examples: 

  • Kakakku dan suaminya bekerja sebagai pengacara, tapi di kantor yang berbeda= = My sister and her husband work as lawyers, but in different firms. 
  • Setelah saya pulang, saya segera mandi supaya lebih segar = After I got home, I took a bath so that I felt better.

Bukan hanya makanannya enak, tapi juga harganya murah = Not only is the food yummy, but the price is affordable too.

8. Interjection

Interjections are a collection of vocabulary that is used to express feeling rather than meaning. In Indonesian vocabulary, interjections are largely ruled by spontaneity and are often used in daily conversations. 

Expressions

Indonesian Vocabulary

  • To think/delay/doubt

Hmmm…

  • To call someone

Hei! Woi! Oi!

  • In pain

Aduh! Ow! Ahhh!

  • Surprise

Hah?! Ah! Eh?! Wow! Astaga! Masa?!

  • To imitate sound

Dor! Plak! Bum! Kring! Brak!

  • To confirm

Yah, deh ( end of sentence)

Examples:

  • Aduh!! Tolong hati-hati yah .. = Ouch! Be careful, please. 
  • Woy! Tunggu dulu. = Hey! Wait up
  • Hmmm, pikir-pikir dulu deh = Hmm… I’ll think about it. 

So there you have it! All the basic Indonesian vocabulary to help you learn Indonesian the easy and fun way. Always remember to build your knowledge by practicing daily. Need someone to practice learning Indonesian conversation? Reach out today and be in touch with our certified mentor to learn more about the Indonesian language at Cakap. Click here to start

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