The Language and Dialects
There are about 583 languages and dialects spoken in
the archipelago. There normally belong to the different ethnic groups
of the population.
Some of the distinctly different local languages are: Acehnese,
Batak, Sundanese, Javanese, Sasak, Tetum of Timor, Dayak, Minahasa,
Toraja, Buginese, Halmahera, Ambonese, Ceramese, and several Irianese
languages. To make the picture even more colorful, these languages
are also spoken in different dialects.
Bahasa Indonesia is the national language which is akin to Malay,
written in Roman script and based on European orthography. In all
tourist destination areas English is the number one foreign language
fairly spoken and writer, whereas some Dutch is till spoken and
understood in the bigger cities and French increasing in its popularity
at the better hotels and restaurants.