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Learn Indonesian

Duolingo, Rosetta Stone and other Apps

In this article we compare apps and learning software that you can use to learn Indonesian. Rosetta Stone doesn't offer an Indonesian course, while Mondly, Duolingo and Babbel do.

Indonesia travel posters from the 1960's

Overview of the Indonesian Language:

Indonesia is ranked fourth among the most populous countries in the world, with 260 million people.

But even in Indonesia, Indonesian is used primarily as a second language rather than as a native language. The reason for this is that there are about 700(!) indigenous languages in Indonesia.

Among the most important native languages in Indonesia are:

  • Javanese on the island of Java (84 million)
  • Indonesian in urban centers (43 million)
  • Sunda language in West Java (42 million)
  • Madura language on the island of Madura (13 million)
  • Minangkabau language in West Sumatra (5 million)
  • Balinese on the island of Bali (3 million)
In large cities, Indonesian is learned as a native language, while in more rural areas almost everyone learns Indonesian as a second language.

Indonesia travel posters

Indonesian is based on the Malay language, which originated on the island of Borneo and has been commonly used in Indonesia for centuries.

The Indonesian language has significant influences from Dutch, Chinese, Arabic, Hindi and also English.

Western languages have these words from Indonesian: Bamboo, Gong, Sarong, Orangutan, Amok.

Now let's take a look at the learning software and apps that you can use to learn Indonesian:


Mondly Indonesian App

The Best Alternative to Duolingo

The Mondly App lets you learn the Indonesian language in a playful way with a series of interactive exercises.

This Indonesian learning program contains:

  • Indonesian vocabulary trainer with 5000 words
  • 50 topics and categories to choose from
  • 2100 Indonesian lessons, including grammar
  • Conversation trainer for common situations (speech recognition)
  • There is even a virtual reality version of this learning app
Mondly has around 45 million users worldwide. This language course has the advantage of having 41 source languages and 41 target languages.

Summary: Mondly is very similar to the Babbel and Duolingo apps and even better in terms of quality. The cost-benefit ratio for the lifetime access to all 41 languages is unbeatable.

Link: Mondly Indonesian App and Online Course


Indonesian Basic Course

From 17 Minute Languages

Systems: Online Access (PC, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS)

Suitable for: Beginners and Advanced Learners, Students, Professionals

Content: 1300 words (basic course), 5200 words (complete course), grammar, verb conjugations, exercises

Prices: USD 29,95 (Basic Course), USD 97 (Complete Course)

Overall Value:

The Indonesian Basic Course contains a vocabulary trainer for the basic Indonesian vocabulary (1300 words) with native-speaker audio, as well as grammar explanations and various exercises.

The vocabulary trainer works with a long-term memory method, in which the new vocabulary is checked at increasing intervals.

You can choose between text input, multiple choice or simply confirming whether you knew a word or not.

The exercises include text comprehension questions, filling in word gaps or just vocabulary lists where one side is covered.

The basic course corresponds to the official language levels A1 and A2 (explanation of CEFR language levels).

The Complete Course contains:

  • Basic course for beginners (basic vocabulary with 1300 words)
  • Intermediate course (1800 more words)
  • Advanced course for experts (2100 words)
  • Additional specialized vocabulary
  • Covers the official CEFR language levels A1 to C2
There are 17 different languages you can use to learn Indonesian with this app.

Summary: Much cheaper and even better than the famous Rosetta Stone. There is a free demo version available and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Link: Indonesian Basic Course and Complete Course


Babbel Indonesian App

Better than Rosetta Stone

Systems: Android and iOS Apps, Online-Version (PC and Mac)

Suitable for: Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced, Students, Business Indonesian

Content: Vocabulary trainer with native speaker audio and speech recognition, grammar, exercises

Prices: Free (initial lessons), USD 12.95 (1 month), USD 84 (12 months)

Overall Value:

The Babbel Indonesian Learning App is quite similar to Rosetta Stone.

Babbel also focuses on combining pictures, listening, reading, writing and speaking. For this, Babbel has native speaker audio of all the words and speech recognition just like Rosetta Stone.

The Babbel App also offers improvements over Rosetta Stone:

  • Classical explanation of grammar (Rosetta Stone has none)
  • You are shown translations of words (unlike in Rosetta Stone)
  • Traditional vocabulary trainer is included in the Babbel App
  • The pricing of the Babbel app is much lower
Babbel is one of the oldest language learning apps and has over 10 million subscribed users world-wide.

Summary: Babbel includes most of the advantages of Rosetta Stone and even eliminates its disadvantages. Highly recommended!

Link: Babbel Indonesian App and Online Course


uTalk Indonesian App

Alternative to Duolingo or Babbel

The uTalk app teaches about 2000 Indonesian words and focuses primarily on playful exercises. There are several exercises to choose from:

  • Read and listen to Indonesian words (with translation and photos)
  • Match the Indonesian word you heard to a photo
  • Speak a Indonesian word and compare the recording with the original
  • A memory game with pictures
  • Speak the Indonesian translation of an English word
The vocabulary is divided into 60 freely selectable topics. The special thing about the uTalk app is that you get access to all 160 languages.

The interface of the app is well made and is similar to other apps like Babbel, Duolingo or Mondly.

Summary: Getting access to 160 languages is impressive and the scope (2000 words with native speaker audio and exercises) is also solid.

Link: uTalk Indonesian Language Course App


Duolingo Indonesian App

Well-Known Language Learning App

Systems: Android App, iOS App, PC and Mac

Content: Exercises with native-speaker audio

Prices: Free (with ads), USD 12.99 (1 month), USD 60 (12 months)

Overall Value:

The Duolingo App offers beginner language courses for 36 languages, including Indonesian. Duolingo covers mostly the basics as well as some intermediate level Indonesian vocabulary.

The major drawback of Duolingo (just like Rosetta Stone) is that there are no grammar explanations.

The vocabulary learning with Duolingo is "gamified", which means it is structured like a game with levels, experience points, achievements, etc.

The interface is relatively similar to the apps from Mondly and Babbel.

Summary: The vocabulary trainer and the exercises of the program are okay. However, it is not possible to learn Indonesian grammar with this app.


Memrise Indonesian App

App with User-Generated Lessons

Systems: Android App, iPhone App, Online-Version (PC and Mac)

Content: Indonesian lessons and vocabulary trainer with native speaker audio, grammar

Prices: USD 8,99 (1 month), USD 60 (12 months), USD 110 (unlimited)

Overall Value:

With the Memrise App you can learn over 90 languages.

This includes even very small languages - however, in such cases the language courses are often limited to just a few lessons.

One special feature of the Memrise learning app is the large number of lessons created by users (native speakers).

The quality of these lessons varies greatly though. For example, only the basic forms of verbs are usually taught, without the conjugations. Some languages also do not have an audio recording of the words at all.

Another good idea of the Memrise app are the user-generated tips and mnemonics for each word to help you memorize them.

Summary: User-generated lessons are a good idea. In practice, the quality of the lessons leaves a lot be desired.


Ling Indonesian App

Gamified Language Learning

Systems: Android App, iPhone App, Online-Version (PC and Mac)

Content: Indonesian lessons and exercises

Prices: USD 8.99 (1 month), USD 42 (12 months),
USD 110 (unlimited)

Overall Value:

The Master Ling App offers language lessons for 52 languages and is quite similar to famous apps like Duolingo, Babbel or Mondly.

This Indonesian learning app is based on "gamified learning", which means learning a foreign language in a playful way. There are mini-games, experience points, levels, quizzes and exercises.

Grammar explanations are not included and the vocabulary is limited to only 1000 Indonesian words and phrases. Each word and phrase has recorded native speaker audio and pictures.

Unfortunately, the translations are also often inaccurate or wrong, for which the app even has an error reporting button.

This app also has an entry test to determine your Indonesian proficiency level.

Summary: Good ideas, but rather poor implementation and not enough vocabulary to justify this price.


Drops Indonesian App

Alternative to Babbel and Duolingo

Systems: Android App, iPhone App, Online-Version (PC and Mac)

Content: Indonesian lessons and exercises with native-speaker audio

Prices: USD 13.30 (1 month), USD 72 (12 months), USD 164 (unlimited)

Overall Value:

The Language Drops App is most notable for having 47 target languages and 40 source languages, similar to Mondly.

You can learn about 3000 Indonesian words and phrases with this app. However, there are hardly any exercises, except for introducing a new word and matching the word to a picture.

You can choose from which topics you want to learn new words and at what skill level you want to learn (whether you know the language somewhat).

If you want to try the app for free for two weeks you have to provide your payment information and then cancel it.

The "deal" you get when you sign up for the free trial is more than 3 times as expensive as when you click "Get Premium" on the website (USD 38 per month instead of USD 13.30 per month).

Summary: No variety, no grammar and only 3000 words. Does not justify the higher price, even though you get access to all languages.


Simya Indonesian App

Not really recommended

Systems: Android App, iPhone App

Content: Vocabulary trainer for Indonesian learning

Prices: USD 9,99 (1000 words), USD 59 (1000 words in 50 languages)

Overall Value:

The Simya App for Android and iOS is purely a vocabulary trainer for 50 languages, including Indonesian.

The free version contains 300 words and has very frequent "ad breaks". The paid version (without ads) also contains only 1000 words and phrases.

All the words have native speaker audio and you can use the app offline too.

Indonesian grammar and verb conjugations are not included in this app.

Summary: Not really worth it, as there are much better alternatives like Mondly, Rosetta Stone or even Duolingo.


Pimsleur Indonesian Course

Most Expensive App to Learn Indonesian

Systems: PC and Mac (incl. Mobile App)

Suitabe for: Beginners, advanced, students, travel vocabulary

Content: Indonesian vocabulary, lessons with native-speaker audio and speech recognition

Price: USD 120 (basic course), USD 470 (complete course)

Overall Value:

The Pimsleur App is very similar to Rosetta Stone in that it does not give grammar explanations, verb conjugation tables, etc.

Instead, the Pimsleur method is supposed to let you learn the Indonesian language intuitively, just like your native language - by combining pictures, reading and speaking (speech recognition).

This Indonesian learning course for PCs and Macs also includes a mobile app for Android and iOS systems.

Pimsleur offers only a basic Indonesian course for beginners and has no intermediate or advanced lessons.

Summary: The most expensive Indonesian beginners course, even though it is unlikely that learning with it is much better than with the cheaper apps.



Additional Ways To Learn Indonesian Online:

Colanguage: Find Skype teachers

Overall Value:

At Colanguage you can arrange face-to-face language lessons online via Skype with language teachers around the world (from $5-10 per hour).

In addition to using apps, it is definitely a good idea to also practice with native speakers in order to learn Indonesian properly.

Tandem: Find a language exchange partner

Overall Value:

Instead of hiring teachers, you can also find people who are interested in a free language exchange online via Skype.

It is completely free of charge, but you have to act as a language teacher for the other person half of the time.


Overview of the Indonesian Learning Apps:

Learning App Subscrip-
tion?
Price Systems Value
17 Minutes
(Basics)
No
$29
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
17 Minutes
(Complete)
No
$97
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Mondly
No
$99
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Mondly
Yes
(1 month)
$10
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Mondly
Yes
(12 months)
$48
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Babbel
Yes
(1 month)
$13
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Babbel
Yes
(12 months)
$84
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
uTalk
No
$199
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
uTalk
Yes
(1 month)
$12
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
uTalk
Yes
(12 months)
$60
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Duolingo
Yes
(1 month)
$13
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Duolingo
Yes
(12 months)
$60
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Memrise
No
$110
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Memrise
Yes
(1 month)
$9
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Memrise
Yes
(12 months)
$60
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Master Ling
No
$110
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Master Ling
Yes
(1 month)
$9
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Master Ling
Yes
(12 months)
$42
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Drops
No
$164
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Drops
Yes
(1 month)
$13
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Drops
Yes
(12 months)
$72
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Simya
(1 language)
No
$10
Android, iOS
Simya
(50 languages)
No
$59
Android, iOS
Pimsleur
(Basics)
No
$120
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Pimsleur
(Complete)
No
$470
PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Best Apps to Learn Indonesian:
Mondly, Babbel

Best Indonesian Online Course:
17 Minute Languages

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