Indonesian language | phonology



It is usually said that there are six vowels in Indonesian.[41] These six vowels are shown in the table below. However, other analyses set up a system with other vowels, particularly the open-mid vowels /ɛ/ and /ɔ/.[42]

Table of vowel phonemes of Indonesian
Front Central Back
Close i u
Close-mid e ə o
Open-mid (ɛ) (ɔ)
Open a

In standard Indonesian orthography, the Latin alphabet is used, and five vowels are distinguished: a, i, u, e, o. In materials for learners, the mid-front vowel /e/ is sometimes represented with a diacritic as é to distinguish it from the mid-central vowel /ə/.


Some analyses claim that Indonesian has three native diphthong phonemes only in open syllables, they are:

  • /ai̯/: kedai ('shop'), pandai ('clever')
  • /au̯/: kerbau ('buffalo'), limau ('orange')
  • /oi̯/ (or /ʊi̯/ in Indonesian): dodoi, amboi

Others assume that these diphthongs are actually a monophthong followed by an approximant, so ⟨ai⟩ represents /aj/, ⟨au⟩ represents /aw/, and ⟨oi⟩ represents /oj/. On this basis, there are no phonological diphthongs in Indonesian.[43]

Diphthongs are differentiated from two vowels in two syllables, such as:

  • /a.i/: e.g. lain ('other') [], air ('water') []
  • /a.u/: bau ('smell') [ba.u], laut ('sea') [la.ut]


Indonesian consonant phonemes
Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Plosive/Affricate voiceless p t t͡ʃ k (ʔ)
voiced b d d͡ʒ ɡ
Fricative voiceless (f) s (ʃ) (x) h
voiced (v) (z)
Approximant w l j
Trill r

The consonants of Indonesian are shown below.[41][44] Non-native consonants that only occur in borrowed words, principally from Arabic and English, are shown in parentheses. Some analyses list 19 "primary consonants" for Indonesian as the 18 symbols that are not in parentheses in the table as well as the glottal stop [ʔ]. The secondary consonants /f/, /v/, /z/, /ʃ/ and /x/ only appear in loanwords. Some speakers pronounce /v/ in loanwords as [v], otherwise it is [f]. [z] can also be an allophone of /s/ before voiced consonants.[45][46]

Orthographic note: The sounds are represented orthographically by their symbols as above, except:

  • /ɲ/ is written ⟨ny⟩ before a vowel, ⟨n⟩ before ⟨c⟩ and ⟨j⟩
  • /ŋ/ is written ⟨ng⟩
  • the glottal stop [ʔ] is written as a final ⟨k⟩ or an apostrophe ⟨'⟩ (the use ⟨k⟩ from its being an allophone of /k/ or /ɡ/ in the syllable coda)
  • // is written ⟨c⟩
  • // is written ⟨j⟩
  • /ʃ/ is written ⟨sy⟩
  • /x/ is written ⟨kh⟩
  • /j/ is written ⟨y⟩


Indonesian has light stress that falls on either the final or penultimate syllable, depending on regional variations as well as the presence of the schwa (/ə/) in a word. It is generally the penultimate syllable that is stressed, unless its vowel is a schwa /ə/. If the penult has a schwa, then stress moves to the ante-penultimate syllable if there is one, even if that syllable has a schwa as well; if the word is disyllabic, the stress is final. In disyllabic stress with a closed penultimate syllable, such as tinggal ('stay') and rantai ('chain'), stress falls on the penult.

However, there is some disagreement among linguists over whether stress is phonemic (unpredictable), with some analyses suggesting that there is no underlying stress in Indonesian.[44][47][48]


The classification of languages based on rhythm can be problematic.[49] Nevertheless, acoustic measurements suggest that Indonesian has more syllable-based rhythm than British English,[50] even though doubts remain about whether the syllable is the appropriate unit for the study of Malay prosody.[47] However, many linguists suggest that rhythm in Indonesian is not payed[clarification needed], because Indonesian is not a kind of tonal language like Chinese, Thai, or Vietnamese.[7]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Indonesies
አማርኛ: ኢንዶኔዥኛ
aragonés: Idioma indonesio
asturianu: Idioma indonesiu
azərbaycanca: İndoneziya dili
Bahasa Banjar: Bahasa Indonésia
Bân-lâm-gú: Ìn-nî-gí
Basa Banyumasan: Basa Indonesia
башҡортса: Индонезия теле
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Інданэзійская мова
Bikol Central: Tataramon na Indones
brezhoneg: Indonezeg
català: Indonesi
Cebuano: Inindonesyo
čeština: Indonéština
Cymraeg: Indoneseg
Esperanto: Indonezia lingvo
euskara: Indonesiera
Fiji Hindi: Indonesian bhasa
français: Indonésien
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Yin-nì-ngî
հայերեն: Ինդոնեզերեն
Bahasa Indonesia: Bahasa Indonesia
interlingua: Lingua indonesian
isiZulu: Isi-Indonesia
íslenska: Indónesíska
עברית: אינדונזית
Basa Jawa: Basa Indonésia
kalaallisut: Indonesiamiutut
kernowek: Indonesek
Kiswahili: Kiindonesia
Lingua Franca Nova: Indonesian (lingua)
македонски: Индонезиски јазик
Bahasa Melayu: Bahasa Indonesia
Baso Minangkabau: Bahaso Indonesia
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Éng-nà̤-ngṳ̄
Nederlands: Indonesisch
norsk: Indonesisk
norsk nynorsk: Indonesisk
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Indonez tili
پنجابی: انڈونیشی
ភាសាខ្មែរ: ភាសាឥណ្ឌូនេស៊ី
Piemontèis: Lenga Indonesian
português: Língua indonésia
Runa Simi: Indunisya simi
саха тыла: Индонезия тыла
Gagana Samoa: Fa'aInitonesia
Simple English: Indonesian language
slovenčina: Indonézština
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Indonežanski jezik
Basa Sunda: Basa Indonésia
svenska: Indonesiska
татарча/tatarça: Индонезия теле
Türkçe: Endonezce
Türkmençe: Indoneziýa dilleri
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: ھىندونېزىيە تىلى
Tiếng Việt: Tiếng Indonesia
Winaray: Indonesyo
粵語: 印尼文
Zazaki: İndonezki
中文: 印尼语