What Is The Official Language Spoken in Bali?

languages spoken in indonesia

What Is The Official Language Spoken in Bali?

What Is The Official Language Spoken in Bali?

(Last Updated On: December 8, 2023)

Official Language Spoken in Bali

You may have heard of the country of Indonesia and even been there, but have you ever heard of Bali? If not, that’s okay because you’re about to! Bali is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, with hundreds of thousands of tourists visiting each year, and it’s easy to see why.

There are beautiful white sandy beaches, lush forests full of wildlife, world-class surf spots, and tropical weather all year round. But what language is spoken in Bali?

Well, keep reading to find out!

Balinese Language – A Quick Overview

The official language spoken in Bali is Balinese. However, the Chinese languages, English, and other foreign languages are also commonly spoken on the island. The level of language spoken depends on the person’s location and background.

In general, the Rahajeng Semeng, Apa Kabar, and Northern Nusa Penida sub-dialects are spoken in the northern part of Bali; Eastern Java sub-dialect is spoken in the eastern part; and Basa Bali is the common language used throughout Indonesia that is also understood by most Balinese people.

There is a decent level of English spoken on the island as well, although there may be a language barrier between locals and foreigners. Because Bali is an independent nation, it has its own national language. Balinese is the native language and a major language. It can be heard everywhere in Bali because this small country has many cultures living together.

In Indonesia, English is a national language. Therefore, Balinese is not an official language. Because Indonesia has more than 17,000 islands and each of them has their own languages that are not mutually intelligible. As many as 700 languages are spoken throughout Indonesia.

bahasa bali

An Overview of the Balinese Vocabulary

Although the official language spoken in Bali is Indonesian, Balinese is the most popular language on the island. Balinese is a part of the Austronesian family of languages, which includes Indonesian, Javanese, and Malay. The Balinese alphabet consists of 22 letters, most of which are identical to the letters found in the English alphabet.

However, there are also six additional letters: Ə, Ŋ, Ꞑ, Ꞥ, Ꞧ, and Ẹ. Balinese has a complex system of honorifics and speech levels that show respect to someone based on their social status. For example, it is considered rude to address someone by their first name unless you are very close to them.

Rather, they should be addressed with an appropriate title such as Bapak (Mr.), Ibu (Mrs.), or Kepala Desa (village chief). People who work for others have a lower status than those who own their own businesses.

When speaking to anyone, whether one’s equal or not, one must always use formal titles and polite phrases like maaf (sorry) before every sentence. Otherwise, they risk angering someone whose opinion carries weight.

A person could offend another if he or she uses a formal word like bapak instead of informal words like aku or kamu when speaking about himself/herself; similarly when referring to the other person in conversation.

balinese language

Balinese Grammar

There are several levels of formality in the English language. The word order is also different than in English. In a sentence, the subject always comes first, followed by the object. For example, I love you would be expressed as I you love.

Prepositions are also used differently in Balinese. Instead of saying in front of the store, you would say before the store. Time is usually expressed using adverbs, not prepositions. So instead of saying I will meet you at 3 pm, you would say I will meet you later.

To ask a question in Balinese, you simply raise your voice at the end of a statement. For example, I like him becomes I like him? If you want to answer that question with yes or no, then you respond with ya (yes) or ngga (no).

When people do use an interrogative tone, it doesn’t change the meaning of what they’re asking. For example, What do you have? could be translated as Apakah kamu punya apa-apa? or Apakah kamu punya sesuatu?

Bali, an Indonesian island known for its beautiful landscapes and rich culture, is part of the Indonesian archipelago. The island is famous for its Balinese culture and the use of the Javanese script in some contexts. Tourists often visit iconic places like Nusa Dua and Nusa Lembongan, where they can explore Pura Puseh Temple and experience the unique customs guided by Hindu priests. Foreign tourists find the phrases like “Selamat Pagi” and “Terima Kasih” (thank you in Bahasa Indonesian) quite helpful during their travels. Additionally, Gusti Ngurah Rai, a prominent figure in Bali, played a significant role in the island’s history. The Aksara Bali, or Balinese script, is revered for its beauty and significance in preserving Balinese Phrases. In navigating Balinese language nuances, understanding basic phrases and the etiquette of communication earns helpful votes from locals. TheWayback Machine in Bali, similar to linguistic traditions, echoes the depth of Balinese heritage and language evolution.

Balinese Pronunciation

The Balinese language, a Malayo-Polynesian language spoken in Indonesia, specifically on the beautiful island of Bali as well as on the western part of the island of Lombok, carries the essence of the country’s linguistic diversity. There are about 4 million speakers of Balinese, making it one of the most widely spoken languages in Indonesia, enriching the cultural tapestry of this stunning archipelago.

The Balinese language is closely related to Indonesian and uses the same alphabet, but has some distinct differences in grammar and vocabulary. One such difference is that instead of two different words for you (Indonesian bapak or ibu), there are three: kamu, kakakku, mbakku.

Another difference is that Balinese pronunciation of words differs from modern Indonesian pronunciations due to changes since the 17th century. For example: men became mang, a way became aje, and he/she became ia.

As with other languages, various levels of politeness may be conveyed by certain words used. A few examples are:

  1. I love you – saya cinta kamu (saja)
  2. The door is open – pintu terbuka
  3. I’m going now – saya pergi sekarang
balinese phases
bali indonesian language

Are there External Influences on Balinese Language?

Over time, the Balinese language has been influenced by Javanese, Sanskrit, Dutch, and most recently, English. While the Balinese alphabet only has 18 letters, there are thousands of different characters that can be used to write it.

Today, the Balinese language is one of the few languages that does not use Arabic numerals. It instead uses a Hindu-Arabic system that was developed by Indian traders who came to the island centuries ago.

The writing system is more difficult than the Latin alphabet but, once mastered, allows for much faster reading and writing. Balinese script was first formalized in stone inscriptions called lontars between the 8th and 10th centuries AD.

FAQ’s

Which language is mostly spoken in Bali?

The official language spoken in Bali is Indonesian, however the Balinese language is the most commonly used.

Do they speak Hindi in Bali?

No, the official language spoken in Bali is Indonesian. However, due to the tourist industry, many people in Bali also speak English. Hindi is not commonly spoken in Bali.

Is English widely spoken in Bali?

The official language spoken in Bali is Indonesian, however English is also widely spoken due to the large number of tourists that visit the island.

Do they speak French in Bali?

No, the official language spoken in Bali is Indonesian. You may also hear Balinese, which is a local dialect of Indonesian.

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