Counting in Indonesian
The Indonesian language (Bahasa Indonesia) belongs to the Austronesian family, and more specifically to the Malayan group. Official national language of Indonesia, it counts about 25 million native speakers.
The Malay language (Bahasa Melayu) also belongs to the Malayan group of the Austronesian family. Official national language of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, it counts about 77 million native speakers.
Indonesian is a standardized variety of Malay, which is a pluricentric language, a language with several interacting codified standard forms, often corresponding to different countries. In what interests us here, numbers are the same in both Malay and Indonesian.
Indonesian numbers list
- 1 – satu
- 2 – dua
- 3 – tiga
- 4 – empat
- 5 – lima
- 6 – enam
- 7 – tujuh
- 8 – delapan
- 9 – sembilan
- 10 – sepuluh
- 11 – sebelas
- 12 – dua belas
- 13 – tiga belas
- 14 – empat belas
- 15 – lima belas
- 16 – enam belas
- 17 – tujuh belas
- 18 – delapan belas
- 19 – sembilan belas
- 20 – dua puluh
- 30 – tiga puluh
- 40 – empat puluh
- 50 – lima puluh
- 60 – enam puluh
- 70 – tujuh puluh
- 80 – delapan puluh
- 90 – sembilan puluh
- 100 – seratus
- 1,000 – seribu
- one million – sejuta
- one billion – milyar
- one trillion – seribu milyar
Indonesian numbering rules
Now that you’ve had a gist of the most useful numbers, let’s move to the writing rules for the tens, the compound numbers, and why not the hundreds, the thousands and beyond (if possible).
- Digits from zero to nine are specific words, namely kosong , satu , dua , tiga , empat , lima , enam , tujuh , delapan , and sembilan .
- Numbers from eleven to nineteen are built by saying the unit then the belas word (quite equivalent to “-teen”), separated by a space, with the exception of eleven: sebelas  (se- meaning one), dua belas , tiga belas , empat belas , lima belas , enam belas , tujuh belas , delapan belas , and sembilan belas .
- The tens are built from the multiplier number, followed by the word puluh, separated by a space, with the exception of ten: sepuluh  (se- meaning one), dua puluh , tiga puluh , empat puluh , lima puluh , enam puluh , tujuh puluh , delapan puluh , and sembilan puluh .
- From twenty-one to ninety-nine, the numbers are built by saying the ten, then the digit separated by a space (e.g.: tiga puluh empat , enam puluh tujuh ).
- The hundreds are built the same way as the tens, using the hundred word (ratus): sepuluh  (se- for one), dua ratus , tiga ratus … The thousands follow the same structure, the word for thousand being ribu: seribu [1,000] (same prefix se-), dua ribu [2,000], tiga ribu [3,000]…
- One million is said sejuta, then we have milyar (109, billion), and seribu milyar (1012, trillion).
Write a number in full in Indonesian
Let’s move now to the practice of the numbering rules in Indonesian. Will you guess how to write a number in full? Enter a number and try to write it down in your head, or maybe on a piece of paper, before displaying the result.
Indonesian: A Comprehensive Grammar
by James Neil Sneddon, editors Routledge (1996)
Parlons indonésien : langue et culture d’Indonésie
by Anne-Marie Van Dyck, editors L’Harmattan (1997)
- Learn Indonesian online with Cici and Shaun
Western Malayo-Polynesian languages
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