Indonesian/Lesson 0 Exercise

< Indonesian/Lesson 0

Okay, so now you at least know how to read Indonesian. That's a great start!

Indonesian/Malay has a rhymic quality akin to Italian. And for long, native poets, scribes, and orators have had a penchant of creating sentences that rhyme with each other. Just like in English poetry, the rhyming makes extensive use of the many similar final-sounds of words. To prove my point, let me bring you the Rhyme Game.

Rhyme Game edit


  1. To practice your pronunciation of Indonesian through the rhyming pattern in the words
  2. To build up your vocabulary, obviously!

Kuku-kukuku kaku (My nails are stiff) edit

-ku (pronounced -COO) is not very common, but it does contain some important words!

Word Pronunciation Meaning
aku uh-coo I, me, my
buku boo-coo book
siku see-coo elbow

Now that I've established the pattern, can you guess how to pronounce these words?

Word Meaning
baku formal, conforming to the norm
duku a sweet, small indigenous fruit. Here's what it looks like! [1]
kaku stiff
kuku nail (i.e. fingernail)
paku nail (i.e. hammer the nail!)
pangku to lap (esp. placing sth over one's thighs)
saku pocket
suku tribe
tungku stove

Cinta itu buta (Love is blind) edit

Words ending with -ta (-TUH) are often related to love, and to umm... many other things!

Word Pronunciation Meaning
cinta chin-tuh n. love
buta boo-tuh blind
genta gEn-tuh bell
renta rurn-tuh* elderly (and frail)

(*)the vowel sound in ren- is essentially a schwa, in contrast to gEn- in genta

Can you guess, based on what you've learned?

Word Meaning
bata brick
beta I, me, my (esp. in poetry)
cita desire, obsession
data data, duh!
dusta n. lie
gita song
harta wealth, fortune
kata word
kita we, us, our (inclusive)
kusta leprosy
lunta to neglect
mata eye
pita ribbon
peta map
pinta to ask for sth, to request
rata flat, plain, equal
sengketa n. dispute
senjata weapon
tata to put things in order
unta camel

Tangkap ikan kakap! (Catch the Barramundi fish!) edit

When you catch and hold onto something, you say -kap (-CUP)! And when you let something be known, you should also say -kap!

Word Pronunciation Meaning
tangkap tung-cup to catch
dekap dur-cup* to hug, to embrace
ungkap oong-cup to tell (esp. to expose the truth)

Here we go again!

Word Meaning
bekap to forcefully prevent so from speaking
cakap (1)v. to talk, (2)adj. skillful
kakap (1)n. Barramundi fish, (2) adj. big, gargantuan
lengkap complete
longkap to skip over
perangkap trap
rangkap double
sekap to detain
sikap behavior
singkap to expose
tingkap window

Other Tongue Twisters edit

If you're feeling especially game after your Indonesian phonetics lesson, have a go at the following tongue twisters:

Indonesian English
Ular melingkar-lingkar di atas pagar bundar the snake does circles on top of the circular fence
Kuku-kuku kaki-kaki kakak-kakakku kaku-kaku the toe-nails of my older siblings are stiff