Indonesia Tops the List as the World's Most Trilingual Country

Indonesia Tops the List as the World's Most Trilingual Country
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Indonesia is one of the most populous countries in the world, and it is also one of the most linguistically diverse, with more than 700 different languages spoken throughout the country. Recently, a report stated that Indonesia has the highest number of trilingual people in the world.

With 17.4% of the country's citizens being trilingual, the most common languages used in combination by Indonesians are English, Indonesian and Javanese. 

One of the reasons why Indonesia is the most trilingual country in the world is due to the country's unique mix of cultures and languages, where the majority of the population grew up speaking Indonesian as well as regional languages such as Sundanese, Balinese, or Javanese.

In addition, the high level of trilingualism in Indonesia is related to the provision of English education in the public school curriculum. In schools, Indonesian children are given the opportunity to learn English from an early age, giving them a strong initial grasp of the language. This has also resulted in many members of the academic community having expertise in both English and Bahasa Indonesia, as well as local languages.

The report on trilingualism in Indonesia was compiled by technology company SwiftKey, which specializes in smartphone keyboard applications. The company measured the percentage of its users from different countries who are able to type in three or more languages. While this method is not entirely scientific, it gives a good indication of the language skills of people in different countries.

Language as the Basis of a National Identity

Most Indonesians grow up with a variety of languages, especially local languages, which play an important role in building a strong foundation for the next generation in shaping their local identity, identity, courage and pride, not only in the national context, but also in the global and international context.

Through the internalization of local policies, languages and cultures have the opportunity to be widely introduced not only at the national level, but also at the international level. The widespread use of international languages in Indonesia also plays an important role in spreading the richness of local culture to the international level.

The majority of Indonesians who grow up bilingual, communicating in Bahasa Indonesia and local languages, provide strong support for local identity and the ability of Indonesians to appreciate and celebrate their cultural heritage. This in turn has direct and indirect positive impacts, such as increased national and international mobility and the growth of the tourism industry in various regions.

Sustainable policies and ongoing translation efforts are needed to ensure the continued use of local languages and the spread of international languages. In addition, the provision of textbooks and multilingual learning methods are key to providing students with comprehensive learning resources so that cultural and linguistic values can continue to be recognized and passed on to the next generation. In this way, Indonesia will continue to be a culturally rich region, connected to the world, with a strong foundation of identity for the future.


  • Hayyu Rahmia, N. (2023 B.C.E., August 20). 5 Negara Trilingual Terbesar di Dunia, Bangga Indonesia Nomor Satu! - Halaman 2 -
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  • Sunarto, E., & Mukarto, F. X. (2018). TRILINGUAL TEXTUALIZATION TO DELIVER INDONESIAN LOCAL CULTURES TO HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS . Language and Language Teaching Journal, 21(1), 82–93.

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