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I plan to travel to Bali and want to learn some basic words in native language, like "Hello", "Thank you", ....

But I'm not sure which language is native to Bali. It looks like there are Indonesian (Malay) and multiple forms of Balinese language.

Which one should I choose?

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1  
Are you just going to be in tourist areas? It sounds like you don't want to try to learn the language but just a few words. If you really want so few words why not learn "hello" and "thank you" in both Indonesian and Balinese? –  hippietrail Oct 10 '13 at 6:29
    
It's unclear when to use what. And even worse I have found that "The members of the four castes use different dialects of the Balinese language" :( –  valodzka Oct 10 '13 at 10:30
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WikiVoyage has both an Indonesian phrasebook and a Balinese phrasebook, but the former is much more fully fleshed out while the latter has lots of gaps. –  hippietrail Oct 10 '13 at 11:23

2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

The native language in Bali is bahasa Bali (Balinese). The official language in Indonesia is bahasa Indonesia (not Malay as you said, due to political reasons the two languages have separated). Anyway, Bahasa Indonesia is used by all people for education, government and almost everything else in Indonesia. You definitely should choose Bahasa Indonesia since it is spoken by all people in Bali and all other islands of Indonesia. Also, people in the touristic places will be able to understand basic English words and you can manage by English only, but it will be nicer if you use some Bahasa Indonesia words and people there will respect that.

Here are some few words that can help you get by:

  • Yes: Ya
  • No: Tidak or Nggak
  • Hello: Halo or Salam
  • How are you: Apa kabar
  • Fine: Baik
  • Please: Tolong
  • Excuse me: Permisi
  • Sorry: Maaf
  • Thank you: Terima kasih
  • You are welcome: Sama sama
  • How much: Berapa
  • Where: Dimana
  • What: Apa
  • When: Kapan
  • Restaurant: Restoran
  • Toilet: Kamar mandi or just use toilet
  • Room: Kamar
  • Food: Makanan
  • Hospital: Rumah sakit
  • Airport: Bandara
  • Beach: Pantai
  • Expensive: Mahal
  • Me, I: Saya or Aku
  • I want: Saya mau

Remember, the letter C in Indonesian is pronounced as CH.

P.S. I speak Bahasa Indonesia and I always managed by just Bahasa Indonesia anywhere in Indonesia.

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The c hint is good; but I notice none of your suggsted phrases use that letter :) –  Flimzy Oct 9 '13 at 18:47
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@Flimzy lol you are right :) I just added this info in case the OP wants to read something there. –  MeNoTalk Oct 9 '13 at 19:36
    
a bit of correction : Malay and Indonesian language is not separated because of political. they come from same root, however after Indonesia has EYD ( Ejaan Yang Disempurnakan - "Perfected Pronouncation" ) Indonesian language develop to a different way by adopting English, Indian, Arab and Dutch language. However Indonesian still able to understand most of Malay words. –  Rudy Gunawan Oct 10 '13 at 5:23
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@RudyGunawan they became separated for political reasons, then developed individually from there. Though at the time there probably were already enough differences to classify bahasa Indonesia as a separate dialect at least, a regional language based on Malay quite possibly. –  jwenting Oct 10 '13 at 5:30
    
@RudyGunawan They are separated for political reasons, read this part in Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indonesian_language#Official_status –  MeNoTalk Oct 10 '13 at 5:33

Since Bali's main income is from tourism, you can survive by just using English, and the local people are able to speak English or at least "broken English" (This is not applicable to any other island in Indonesia).

If you want to use local language, you better choose to learn a bit of Indonesian words. Some basic words (other than what MeNoTalk has mentioned) can be found below :

  • YES : Ya
  • No : Bukan / Tidak (formal) Enggak (informal)
  • Police : Polisi
  • Eat : Makan
  • Food : Makanan ( Makan with postfix -an )
  • Drink : Minum
  • Sleep : Tidur
  • Cheap : murah
  • Help : Tolong
  • Medicine : Obat
  • Country : Negara
  • Name : Nama
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Depending on where you go it's true for all islands... There's areas of Bali as remote as a mountain village on Flores or Lombok, and few would speak English there (though probably some, especially with eco-tourism becoming more important and opening those more remote areas to foreign travelers). –  jwenting Oct 10 '13 at 5:32

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