Bahasa Indonesia is the official language of Indonesia. For centuries, Malay was commonly used throughout Indonesia for trade. When the country was a Dutch colony, many people spoke Dutch. In the early 20th century, nationalist leaders realized that Indonesians needed a common language for national unity. Bahasa Indonesia became the language of the country. It was created deliberately to foster unity.

 Bahasa Indonesia is one of the simplest languages in the world. There are no verb tenses, noun genders or articles. Plurals are formed by simply repeating a word. The written form uses the same alphabet as English. The vocabulary shows the influence of many cultures. Bahasa Indonesia contains more than 7,000 Dutch words, as well as words from Portuguese, Sanskrit, Arabic, Polynesian, Tagalog, Chinese, French, Javanese, Spanish and English. 

Besides Bahasa Indonesia, there are 580 languages and dialects in use throughout the archipelago. Each ethnic group has its own language. Javanese, which originated on the island of Java, is spoken by about 42% of the population. About 15% speak Sundanese. Some languages are spoken only in a single village. Linguists have not yet documented all the languages spoken on Irian Jaya.

 Indonesian society observes elaborate rules of etiquette. Displays of emotion are considered a sign of lack of self-control and refinement. Generally, Indonesians avoid confrontation. They do not complain or argue when they are displeased; instead, they quietly withdraw. Feelings like anger are kept hidden. 

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"Saving face" is very important to Indonesians. They will agree with the person they are talking to, even if they do not share that person's opinions, rather than offend by disagreeing. They also prefer to give a response to a question, even if they do not know the answer, because they would lose face by admitting that they do not know.
Putting one's hands on one's hips is impolite because it is considered a sign of anger. It is not proper to give or receive anything with the left hand, which is considered unclean. The head is considered sacred, and it is an offence to touch anyone on the head. Traditionally, Indonesians point only with their thumb. Public displays of affection between people of the opposite sex are not acceptable. However, it is common to see friends of the same sex walking hand-in-hand.
  English Bahasa
  Hello    Halo
  How are you?   Apa kabar?
  I'm fine   Baik
  Thank you   Terima kasih
  You're welcome   Sama sama or Terima kasih kembali
  Please   Tolong
  Yes   Ya
  No    Tidak