Indonesian is the
national language of the Republic of Indonesia. When independence was
declared in 1945, bahasa Indonesia ("Indo-nesian
language") was decreed as the country's official language.
Although it is the mother tongue of only about 20 million people out
of a population of 200 million, it is estimated that as much as
three-fourths of the population now understand it.
virtually the same language as Malay, the latter spoken in Malaysia.
The principal difference is in the spelling, the Indonesian system
having been developed by the Dutch, the Malay by the British. Thus
the Indonesian j is y in Malay (e.g., kaju—wood,
Malay: kayu); Indonesian dj is j in Malay (gadjah—elephant,
Malay: gajali); Indonesian tj is ch in Malay (kutjing—cat,
Malay: kuching); and Indonesian sj is sh in
Malay: sharat). The Indonesian plural, like the Malay, is formed by
merely repeating the word, as in angan-angan in the poem below, which