How to learn Bahasa

Great advice on learning the lingo if you’re traveling to Malaysia or Indonesia.

Bali info

Indonesia consists of thousands of islands, and each island has at least one language. This means there are thousands of different languages being spoken all over the country. Bali alone has 3 different Balinese languages, depending on the caste of the person speaking, or being spoken to. It is a very complicated system of hierarchy, where the person from a low caste must speak “up” to a person of a high caste who in turn must speak “down” to them.

On first meeting a fellow Balinese, they will need to figure out the caste, in order to know which language to speak. This can be detected from the name. Agung, Gusti, and Ida Bagus are all high caste names. My husband comes from a high caste, but is very uncomfortable with the whole idea, and advised me to simply learn the more neutral language spoken throughout Indonesia. That is Bahasa…

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