What is the Language of Bali, Indonesia?

Bali Language

What is the language of Bali?

  • There are two languages spoken in Bali, Bahasa Indonesia and Balinese or simply Bali
  • Bali is an small Island located in Indonesia, South East Asia
  • Bahasa (Bhāṣa or Basa) is the Indonesian word for ‘language’
  • Bahasa Indonesia is the national language spoken in Indonesia
  • Etymology studies have shown that Bahasa Indonesia, the language of Bali, has it’s origins in the Malaysian language
  • Balinese is the local language but most people communicate through Bahasa Indonesia
  • Incredibly there are over 700 languages through the islands of Indonesia

Prepare to Travel, Learn the Language of Bali

If, like me, you like to prepare a few key phrases in the language of your destination country, then you are in the right place.

Local Farmer – Photo by Who’s Danilo ? on Unsplash

I hate the feeling of embarrassment which comes when on holiday and not being able to speak even the slightest bit of the local language. The onus should never be on a local person to speak English and definitely you should avoid miming and charades at all costs!

Having a few phrases in any local tongue, the language of Bali, can work wonders on the natives. Naturally friendly people, Balinese citizens are used to tourists but why not disarm them and at least show them you are willing to attempt to speak the Balinese language be it Bahasa Indonesia or the local Balinese language. In general the locals are very excited when any tourists make the effort even if your pronunciation has dogs covering their ears at such abuses of the Indonesian languages! 🙂

Though used to English speaking tourists, in a lot of areas of the Island of Bali, not everyone speaks English and so you will no doubt experience some difficulty in communication. To have a few common words and phrase in your repertoire will be useful. It’s pretty simple to learn a few phrases to get you going

Balinese man – Photo by Maksym Ivashchenko on Unsplash

Language of Bali, Should I learn Balinese or Bahasa Indonesia?

As of 2011, less than a third of the Islanders still used the Balinese language.

So, for the purposes of this little language lesson we will provide you with some key language phrases in Bahasa Indonesia.

However, if you are so inclined you can also go more in-depth by following this FREE language course by duolingo. No hidden extras and indeed use it for all your future language lessons pre holiday.

Below we’ve outlined some basic Indonesian phrases to get you going. It may be worth printing or taking a screenshot of these in advance of your trip.

Greetings
EnglishIndonesianPronounciation
Hello, how are you?Hai, apa kebar?Hi, a-pah kha-bar
Good morningSelmat pagiSe-lah-mutt par-ghee
Good daySelamat siangSe-la-mutt see-ahng
Good afternoonSelamat soreSe-la-mutt sore-ray
Good eveningSelemat petangSe-la-mat phe-tounge
Good nightSelemat malamSe-la-mutt mah-lahm
Good byeSampai jumpaSam-pai joom-par
Important Words
English IndonesianPronounciation
NoTidakTi-duck
YesYaYa
Thank youTermisa Te-ri-mah-car-see
SorryMaafma-af
HelpTolong!To-Long
WhereDimanaDi-ma-na
WhatApaA-pah
WhenKapanKa-pan
How muchBerapaBe-ra-pah
Excuse mePersmisiPer-me-see

We’re so kind here at TravelSpock that we even put a few words together so you can sound like a native when you’re out and about taking in the sights and sounds of Bali.

How are you?Apa Kabar?A-pah kha-bar
My name is…Nama saya…Na-ma sa-ya
Let’s eatAyo makana-yo ma-kahn
I’m hungrySaya laparSa-ya La-parr
I’m thirstySaya hausSa-ya ha-us
I wantSaya mauSa-ya ma-woo
HotPanaspha-nas
ColdDinginDee-ngin
Take awayBungkusBung-kus
Dine inMakan di siniMa-kagn di si-ni
Not SpicyTidak pedasTi-duck pe-das
Bali learn the language
Woman in Bali – Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

Bali Village where 80% use their own sign language

The little known village of Bengkala on the island of Bali is and unusual one. The village has been home to a large number of deaf people for many generations. Incredibly, 40% of it’s 3000 population are deaf.

From the 1960s greater efforts were made to integrate them into the local village life. Nowadays they are treated as equals. Life in this small little village very much revolves around them nowadays.

Deaf of Bengkala – photo Journal.ie

The community, not just the deaf, have their own unique sign language called Kata Kolok. It is different to international and Indonesian sign language. It has very much grown organically over generations. If you would like to more more about this sign language you can watch this short video.

Enjoy Bali

If you have read this article and travel to the Island. If you learned some of the language. We would love to hear from you. Help us update some useful phrases here for future travellers and share some pictures. This is a fluid article about the language of Bali and would welcome your input.

Further reading

Interested in Yoga? Every March the area of Ubud holds an annual Spirit Festival. The festival is truly about yoga, healing, music, and dance and attracts over 5000 people every year from around the world.  You can read more here.

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