Posts Tagged ‘culture’


Jakarta City

Jakarta City, courtesy of Kevin Aurell and Wikipedia.

The first thing I think one should learn in any language are personal pronouns. They are probably the the easiest and most common Subjects and Objects one can string up in a sentence. Throw in at least a verb and you can get a sentence going, without referring to yourself in the third person.

Decorate it an adverb, preposition among other parts of speech and one gets a more telling sentence.

The shortest and common short sentences a tourist could learn are:

  • Terima kasih: “Thank you”. Literally, it means “Received your affection” (or something to that effect).
  • “Kembali.”: “You’re welcome.” (Literaly it means “Returned back to you. (Or thank you back!”)
  • “Sama sama”: You’re welcome. (Literally “same same” or “the same to you”).
  • “Saya tidur.” – “I sleep” (Taken to mean “I am going to sleep now”.)
  • “Saya Hulk Hogan” – “I am Hulk Hogan.”
  • “Ini mahal!” – “This is expensive!”
  • “Ini murah!” – “This is cheap!”.
  • “Saya capet!” – “I am tired”.
  • “Saya nak beli ini.” – “I want to buy this”.
  • “Gue cinta sama lo!” –  Jakarta coarse slang for “I love you”, just in case you fall in love along the way.
  • Dimana Senayan City?” – Where is Senayan City? (A shopping mall in the Senayan area in South Jakarta, where you’d find international designer brands, food and groceries. Get a decent hairdresser, cream bath, back massage at Johnny Andrean at a reasonable price. Women can shop while tired hubbies can refresh themselves at the BrewHouse below.)

I think I am getting distracted. Back to the point, I would start off learning Bahasa with Personal Pronouns, which I present here, to the best of my knowledge. I am not using IPA as a pronunciation aid, but I think you’ll understand it fairly easily… unless you don’t… and in that situation refer to Kumandang.com for some help.

English Indonesian-Formal Indonesian – Informal Indonesian – Jakarta Coarse
I, Me Saya: saa/yaa aku Gua, GueGuah / Gweh
You, your Anda: aan/daa Kamu kaa/moo Lo, Lu
He, his dia dia Dia
She, her dia: deeya dia Dia
It, Its ia= eeya  ia Ia
We, our kami: kaami kami kami, kita, keetaa
They, their Mereka: mur/ek/aa  mereka mereka

Etymological Nugget: Indonesia comes from two root words. Indo for ‘India’, and ‘nesos’, for ‘island’. It used to be called the ‘East Indies Islands’ or the ‘Indian Archipelago’ in the 1850s. (Ref: Online Etymology Dictionary)

More Etymology:

The Indonesian language has had many influences throughout its history. The early origins of the Indonesian languages come from its shared Malay and Australasian heritage with the Malayan Peninsula, Borneo, the Philippines among others.  Legend has it, true or otherwise, that the Malay people emerged from Pulau Lingga, or Lingga Island in the Kepulauan Riau, or Riau Islands.

Ancient Indian presence is registered through the ancient ruins such as Borobudur and Prambanan temple structures left behind before the arrival of Islam to the region. That explains the Balinese Hindu culture as well. As Islam moved forward, Hinduism retreated to a safer haven in Bali.

Chinese and Indian traders drifted in circa 16th Century. Later, the Portuguese arrived around the 16th Century, then the English for what I recall was a brief period followed by the Dutch. Self-note: I need to read up on this later and brush up on Southeast Asian history AGAIN.

In due course, these influences seeped into the diverse Javanese tongues. Malay, Portuguese, Dutch and the Javanese laguages became the lingua franca.

Below are just a sample of the myriads of words Bahase Indonesia has adopted into common use today:

Portuguese source words

sabun: (from sabão = soap)

meja: (from mesa = table)

boneka: (from boneca = doll)

jendela: (from janela = window)

gereja: (from igreja = church)

bola: (from bola = ball)

bendera: (from bandeira = flag)

roda: (from roda = wheel)

gagu: (from gago = stutterer)

sepatu: (from sapato = shoes)

kereta: (from carreta = wagon)

bangku: (from banco = chair)

keju: (from queijo = cheese)

garpu: (from garfo = fork)

terigu: (from trigo = flour)

mentega: (from manteiga = butter)

Minggu: (from domingo = Sunday). (Hari Minggu: Sunday).

Chinese source words (Hokkien, Teochew, too perhaps, and Mandarin)

pisau: bǐshǒu=knife

loteng: lóu/céng =[upper] floor/ level

mie (Hokkien mī = noodles)

lumpia: (Hokkien) = lūn-piá(n) = springroll

cawan:  cháwǎn = teacup

teko: cháhú (Mandarin), teh-ko (Hokkien) = teapot

kuli: khu (bitter)

li (energy)

gua/ goa/ gwe: (Hokkien, direct trans.) = I, me.

lu: (Hokkien, direct trans.) = you, your.

Sanskrit source words

bahasa: language

kaca: glass, mirror

raja: king

manusia:  humankind

bumi: earth/ world

agama: religion

Arabic source words

dunia: the world

Sabtu: Saturday

kabar: news

selamat/ salam ( greeting)

Senin: Monday

Selasa: Tuesday

Jumat: Friday

ijazah: diploma

hadiah: gift/present

mungkin: perhaps

maklum: understood

kitab: book

tertib: orderly

kamus: dictionary

Javanese source words

aku (I/ me (informal)

mengaku (to admit or confess) related to the above word.

Reference: (Wikipedia)

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