Bahasa Indonesia isn’t the first language of Indonesians?

Here’s the story of my best friend ever I met at Indonesia.


Romi Nuryawan from Indonesia, I met him when I joined Jump Out program of AIESEC Bangkok University to be a volunteer in Indonesia for six weeks. Every exchange volunteers in this program will have their own Indonesian buddies, and Romi was my buddy.

What’s interesting about him is that Bahasa Indonesia, official language of Indonesia, isn’t his first language. His first language is Sundanese, language spoken by people living in West Java e.g. Bandung.

There’re more than 700 living languages are spoken in Indonesia and Sundanese is the second most widely spoken language without official status. It turns out that there are 79.45% of Indonesians who speak local language daily at home while there only 19.94% who speak Indonesian.


This means people have their own local language as their mother tongue and Bahasa Indonesia as their second language.

Romi said that it depends on who he’s talking with like if he speaks with his friends or people of Bandung, he’ll speak Sundanese. But, if he goes somewhere else and he’s not sure that a person whom he’s talking with can speak Sundanese then he’ll speak Bahasa Indonesia. He also told me that he don’t understand other local languages in Indonesia. If people from Sumatra speak with him in their own local language, he won’t understand it.

This interests me a lot because they’re from the same country but they speak different languages. I’m from Thailand, a single lingua franca country. We have one official language that has 3 main dialects, but there’re just dialects not different languages like what Indonesia has.

I can still understand what people from the North, South or North East of Thailand although they speak in their own dialects.

A video of an interview that I do with him   Check this out!


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