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Indonesian is part of the Austronesian language family, formerly known as the Malayo-Polynesian language family, which stretches from Madagascar in the west to Hawaii in the east. Indonesian, the national language for over 200 million citizens of Indonesia, is a variety of Malay which was developed into a standardized, national language, beginning in the 1920s with the rise of the nationalist movement. While Indonesian is the national language of Indonesia, the country permits the use of minority langauges, which are used in primary schools (in conjunction with Indonesian), and in the regional media. Standard Indonesian and Standard Malay of Malaysia are mutually intelligible thus making Malay/Indonesian the most widely spoken language of Southeast Asia. Malay/Indonesian is spoken in Malaysia, Indonesia, southern Thailand, Brunei, the southern Philippines, and Singapore.


Front   Central/back   Back
i       u
  (ɪ)   (ʊ)  
e   ə   o
  (ɛ)   (ɔ)    
Vowel Allophones


Vowel + Glide diphthongs

aj aw
  Labial2 Dental/Alveolar3 Palatal4 Velar Glottal
Stops and Affricates
voiced b d g
voiceless unaspirated p t k (ʔ)5
voiced v z
voiceless f s ʃ x h
Nasals m n ɲ ŋ
Lateral l
Tap r6(ɾ)
Glides j w

1 Vowels in parentheses are allophones of the corresponding tense vowel. There is a nasalized vowel allophone for each oral vowel.
2 /f, v/ are labio-dental; the rest are bilabial.
3 The stops /t, d/ and fricatives /s, z/ may be produced at the dental place of articulation (especially /t/ ).
4 The affricates /tʃ, dʒ/ and fricative /ʃ/ vary between palato-alveolar and palatal.
5 The glottal stop is an allophone of /k/ and an epenthetic segment intervocalically.
6 The trill [r] is an allophone of /ɾ/.

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