What's the best way to learn Indonesian? Well, there are many key elements, but in general, it needs to be learned physically, like learning a sport or learning to play a musical instrument.
The simple dialogue on the right gives you an idea of how we start learning. We simply jump in and get started. There's no need for any grammar explanations or English, simply get started listening and speaking Indonesian. Language learning is a physical process! Learn by doing!!
We also focus on 'intuitive learning'. In the dialogue to the right, even if you don't know a single word in Indonesian you can immediately recognize that "Apa?" = "What?", and "Ini." = "This.". Simple, right?
And you pershaps also realize that: "Iya, itu buku saya juga." = "Yeah, that's my book also."
So, 'juga' = (too, also, as well) and you'll discover naturally that it always appears at the end of the sentence.
What about Indonesian grammar?
Learning the grammar at the beginning is really the worst approach you can possibly take, especially for learning Indonesian. The prefixes and suffixes add an enormous layer of difficulty on a beginner student, and it's not 'real' Indonesian. It's not what is spoken daily by all Indonesians.
The grammar needs to be learned gradually and naturally. For example, by having beginner students listen and read aloud simple material like the one of the right, they're developing their speaking and listening skilss while 'embedding' a very important grammatical aspect.
They're hearing and saying 'buku saya' (my book), 'buku dia' (his book), 'ibu kamu' (your mom), 'teman saya' (my friend), 'majalah saya' (my magazine), etc, etc, many times, over and over.
Your 'brain' (conscious mind) will be busy trying to remember the words 'buku' (book), 'majalah' (magazine), 'koran' (newspaper), 'ibu' (mom, mother), 'teman' (friend), etc, and you'll be absorbing the very important grammatical concept that the possessive pronoun comes after the noun.
We know from experience how important this is. We had one student who had studied intensively for 3 months in Australia before being posted to Indonesia. She repeatedly said 'saya suami' (my husband).
Obviously, she was translating from English.
We explained that if she had learned with our program in the first place, it would be 'physically impossible' for her to make that mistake. She would have heard and said 'suami saya' (my husband), 'teman saya' (my friend), 'buku saya' (my book), 'majalah saya' (my magazine), etc, so many times that it would simply 'come out correctly' before her brain even turned on to try and translate it from English.
Don't think in English!!
Relating a language to your own is natural, and to some extent unavoidable, but Indonesian is so completely different that doing so will cause a lot of problems. At best, what you say will sound strange, and most likely they won't understand what you're trying to say.
It's okay to translate to English, but do it literally. In many ways speaking Indonesian simply requires 'throwing words together' that you know. And doing it in a pattern that you've heard, which is another benefit of learning 'physically'. You will have a tendency to say things and then think, "Was that right?" More often than not, it will be right.
Here's an example of putting words together for a unique meaning:
'mati lampu' (the power's out) literally means 'dead lights'.
Below is an expample of the progression of exercises used in the learning packages. The reason they're so effective, is that they focus on physical learning. Simply listen to the audio and read along. Next, the series of exercises gently activate your brain without creating any stress or anxiety.
The best way to begin learning Indonesian is simply
LISTEN, READ and SPEAK.
Try this for absolute Newbies! Simply click on the text to play, press 'Ctrl' to pause/play, and use the 'slider' to adjust the speed.
For absolute newbies:
Apa ini? (What's this?) Apa? Ini. Itu buku. (That's a book.) Buku siapa? [Book who?] Buku saya. (My book.) Buku kamu? (Your book?) Iya, buku saya. ... Ini buku kamu juga? Iya, itu buku saya. Dan ini? Iya, itu buku saya juga. ... Ini apa? Apa? Ini. Itu majalah. (magazine) Majalah siapa? Majalah saya. Majalah kamu? Iya, majalah saya. ... Dan ini? Itu majalah saya juga. ... (looking at a photo) Ini siapa? (Who's this?) Mana? (Where?) Ini. Itu anak saya. Namanya siapa? Rayhan. Umurnya berapa? (How old is he?) Delapan. (8) Tinggal di mana dia? (Where does he live?) Sama ibunya. (With his mom.) ... Ini apa? Koran. (newspaper)
And so on..
Each individual student can progress at whatever speed they're comfortable with.
Another important factor is to trust the method and trust yourself. Just 'let it happen' and you will learn very quickly.
selamat pagi (good morning)
To learn Indonesian quickly and easily you need good material that builds on all previous material in a gradual 'spiralling' of understanding.
Here's a list of words to get you going, and remember, don't waste time and effort trying to memorize words. Glance over the list quickly and let your intuitive learning ability take control.
I, me, my
in, at, on
Steps for Learning Indonesian with Introductory Package
The first step is to read and listen to dialogues where new words are added gradually, with definitions provided, and words and expressions are repeated in a natural manner but often enough to greatly help them 'sink in'. This is much, much more effective than lists of words and sample sentences. By reading the dialogues and speaking along with the audio, you are 'physically' learning Indonesian. You're training your mouth and ears and your intuitive learning abilities are allowed to kick in because your conscious mind is overwhelmed. It's a primary concept of our language learning method which I discovered in the book "Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain".
After listening to the dialogue once (about 2 minutes) students can either listen again and try speaking along with the audio, or try an exercise where you select the appropriate word. You've just been exposed to your first 20 or so words in Indonesian and you have been 'studying Indonesian' for just 2 minutes, but you will be able to do all the exercises correctly. We've 'tested' it many times and it's great to see how well it works and people are always surprised. That's the power of your 'intuitive mind' versus your 'conscious mind'.
(Notice that the definition of each word is given when you hold your mouse over it.)
Of course the exercise is extremely easy, and that's the secret! Most programs introduce new material and then ask questions that simply cause stress and anxiety in the student. And it requires conscious memory!! It's like trying to fill a bucket that's upside down.
Learning is about connecting neurons in your brain and then, even more importantly, strengthening them through repetition. But not 'one after the other in a list' repetition. That's nearly useless.
Our methods 'turn the bucket over' and then fill it easily and naturally.
After doing several exercises 'selecting the correct answer', the next step is to try typing in the missing word. This is again 'physical learning' and is intended to be 'easy'. Each student is encouraged to progress at whatever speed they feel comfortable with, and it's best to take a relaxed pace and not push on too quickly before you've 'absorbed' the information and really made those neuron connections strong.
Note that mouseover answers are given but physically doing the typing is strongly recommended help 'solidify' the learning process.
The final step is to give the entire dialogue in the opposing language. This approach to learning Indonesian (or any language) makes it more like learning a sport or learning to play a musical instrument. The physical action is paramount, and you'll be surprised, it's like riding a bike, you never forget. :) Seriously, the learning is 'deeper' and it stays with you for much longer even if you're not using it.