SELAMAT DATANG DI UNCLONED WORLD BAHASA -- YOUR GUIDE TO LEARNING THE LANGUAGE OF INDONESIA AND THE MALAY PENINSULA. This site is intended for people interested in Malaysia and Indonesia and Singapore, and interested in learning the language(s) they can use when travelling through this hot, beautiful, volatile part of the world. In the process, I want to introduce some of my personal experiences from various trips, and detail the depth of the various cultures and languages of the region. I am only a beginner when it comes to understanding this part of the world, but in time, I want to become an expert. The unfoldment of this website will reflect the unfoldment of the development of my knowledge of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Malay world. This is a big area of the world, and it is likely you will be interested to visit this area sooner or later. This website can help you! That is my humble aim in establishing this website! I hope you enjoy it!
t h e + m a l a y + w o r l d
WHAT DO I MEAN WHEN I TALK ABOUT THE MALAY WORLD? In my old naive definition, I believed that all of Malaysia and The Philippines and Indonesia and Singapore could be called "The Malay World", I don't know why. Call it faulty judgment at the time. However, I was surprised to recently learn from the bonafide The Malay World website that the realm of the Malays includes only the Malay Peninsula from Thailand to Singapore, and parts of adjacent islands, such as east Sumatra and Borneo. So all of Java, The Philippines, Bali... all those other islands are not technically Malay. Whatever -- and it is good to be corrected! -- but if you speak the language of the Malays you can communicate with people from all the way from the south Thailand border to the Papua New Guinea border, even if you don't know the local languages. This is because the language of the Malays -- called Bahasa Malaysia in Malaysia, Bahasa Indonesia in Indonesia -- has become the official communications and trading language for this vast reason. Which is one reason why I want to learn it, because I want ready access to this huge vastness of the Earth!
So, even if it is not a correct geopolitical or linguistic term, as far as UNCLONED WORLD is concerned, the Malay World means the part of the globe where Bahasa Indonesia or Bahasa Malaysia is spoken or widely understood. And if you pick up just a couple of expressions or words from this website, your enjoyment of this part of the world will increase drastically, I guarantee you!
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BEFORE GET INTO TOO MUCH DETAIL ABOUT THE MECHANICS OF BAHASA MALAYSIA AND BAHASA INDONESIA, HERE IS THE BEST THING ABOUT THEM -- they are considered very easy to learn! That's right, it's true!
Another important point to mention early on -- Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysia are so close to being identical, you could easily learn both at the same time. I mean, why learn just one foreign language when for an extra 10 or 15 per cent outlay of energy, you could pick up a second foreign language as well? Bahasa Malaysia (the Malaysian national language) is in fact so similar to Bahasa Indonesia that I think that once you know one, you know the other one. I have heard they are 80 per cent cognate -- if you know one you can understand 80 per cent of the other language, in other words. Therefore, an understanding of this language allows you to communicate with the many people and peoples of the vast Malay/Indonesian archepelago -- all the way from the Thai border to East Timor and Irian Jaya on the New Guinea island. That's a huge part of the world, packed with some attractive tourist destinations (Bali, for example, or the jungles of Borneo.) It includes up to 300 million people. I have heard that Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia are also similar to Tagalog (the language of The Philippines). So my point is this: learning Bahasa Malaysia will give you a huge advantage in being able to communicate with the people of a vast stretch of south-east Asia. While it is possible to get by speaking only English in Bali or Penang, if you want to meaningfully interact with humans in Sulawesi or West Timor, it wouldn't hurt to have an arsenal of Bahasa under your belt, or under your sleeve, or whatever metaphor you would like to use. And if you ever find yourself in Manila, your Bahasa knowledge could give you an edge in penetrating the mysteries of Filipino Tagalog. And the sweetest point of all is this -- Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesi are among the world's easiest languages to learn. So you have no excuses in failing to pick them up!
w h y + s o + e a s y
WHY IS BAHASA SO EASY TO LEARN? There are many factors which conspire to make Bahasa so easy, for example the phonetic spelling and uncomplicated grammar. Bahasa is written in the Roman alphabet, which makes it easy for Americans and Europeans and Australians to pick it up. There are no articles in Indonesian. To make the plural, you simply double the noun: bahasa-bahasa means languages. Bahasa Indonesia lacks complicated verbal tenses. Literally all you need is a good vocabulary, because once you've got the words and a basic understanding of the grammar, you can speak the language as fluently as is possible for a foreigner. To say something like, 'I want to go and climb that mountain tomorrow,' you say, 'I like climb that mountain tomorrow,' or to say, 'Can I please have a cup of sweet tea,' you say 'Please sweet tea'. It's very easy.
Now, let us explore the intricacies of Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia more closely, with a focus on learning traveller phrases and vocabulary: