Indonesian, or “Bahasa Indonesia” is the sixth most widely spoken language in the world. The national language of Indonesia, where it is spoken by over 238 million inhabitants, it is over 80% cognate with Malay, spoken by 22 million Malaysians and southern Thais.
The Malay language has formed the lingua franca of island and coastal Southeast Asia for over a thousand years. It has incorporated many words from other languages, including Sanskrit, Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, and English, and it is spoken by substantial populations in Netherlands, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the U.S.
Bahasa Indonesia uses the Roman alphabet (except for some religious texts, which are written in an Arabic script). Indonesia is home both to largest Muslim population in the world and to a vast array of vibrant literary, artistic, and cultural traditions.