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Archive for the 'Indonesian Phrases' Category

Family in Indonesia: How to Say Indonesian Mother and More!

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Any language student is going to recognize this assignment:

Write a paragraph about your family. Say how old each person is and give their names.

Perhaps it’s a ho-hum writing prompt, but it serves a really important purpose. As it turns out, people talk about their families all the time—and they definitely ask others about theirs.

In Asian cultures, the family usually plays a much more important role than it does in Western cultures. This makes it practical to know how to talk about the family tree in Indonesian, fluently. Are you aware of all the vocabulary and usage that you’ll need in order to truly understand how Indonesians talk about their Indonesian family tree? Below you’ll find all the information you need about Indonesian family terms and the family culture in Indonesia!

Table of Contents

  1. The Family in Indonesian Culture
  2. Describing Your Immediate Family
  3. Your Extended Family
  4. New Family Members: Indonesian Love and Marriage
  5. Using Family Words with Ordinary People
  6. How IndonesianPod101 Can Help You Learn Indonesian Well

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1. The Family in Indonesian Culture

Parent Phrases

When it comes to family values in Indonesian culture, Indonesian families tend to be closer to eahc other than those in Western countries. It’s very likely that people living in a larger house might have three generations under one roof.

Also, families tend to be bigger. The average household size for the USA was 2.6 people in 2018, while in Indonesia it was 3.9 in 2013. However, more and more parents are choosing to have just two children, particularly in urban areas.

The notion of a family representing a close bond is so strong in Indonesian, that a few hundred years ago, the polite way to address someone on the street was saudara ini—literally “this sibling!”

Children are expected to be respectful toward their elders, and that respect holds true even if some family members work overseas, which many do. The sense of connection that an overseas Indonesian has to his or her own family “back home” is quite strong, and many people will make the choice to forego extra savings in exchange for being able to physically travel back to Indonesia when they can.


2. Describing Your Immediate Family

Family Words

Even if we limit ourselves to just what most Westerners consider a family, don’t be surprised to find that there are quite a few more words here than you’d expect.

Let’s start with parents. A mother is called ibu and a father, bapak. I’m going to put most of the new words in this article into simple sentences so you get an idea of how these words actually work in context.

  • Nama ibu Fitri, dan nama bapak Hary.
    “The mother’s name is Fitri, and the father’s name is Hary.”
  • Bapak berusia 40 tahun, dan ibu berusia 39 tahun.
    “The father is 40 years old, and the mother is 39 years old.”

Now for “children,” or anak.

  • Saya punya dua anak kecil.
    “I have two small children.”
  • Anak saya suka susu.
    “My child likes milk.”

Indonesian Children

As is quite common in languages around the world, Indonesian doesn’t have separate words for male and female children. Thus a son is a “male child” (anak laki-laki), and a daughter is a “female child” (anak perempuan).

Indonesian words for family also describe older and younger siblings with different words. Note the words for “male” and “female” making an appearance again.

Older Younger
Brother Kakak laki-laki Adik laki-laki
Sister Kakak perempuan Adik perempuan

That’s about it for the nuclear family in Indonesian. But English doesn’t stop there, and neither does Indonesian.


3. Your Extended Family

The first thing most people think of as “extended” family is the grandparents. The word for “grandmother” is nenek and “grandfather” is kakek. Be sure not to confuse kakek with kakak!

Local languages all over Indonesia have their own words for grandparents, which we won’t get into. But in urban Jakarta, the words are actually opa and oma, instead of kakek and nenek. They’re holdovers from the Dutch colonial times, when certain words filtered down into the Indonesian language. Indonesian is a flexible language! Check out some of the slang words for family members when you’ve got a moment.

  • Nenek di mana?
    Di belakang rumah.

    “Where’s Grandmother?”
    “In the back of the house.”

Then we naturally have “grandchildren,” or cucu. Naturally, you can add laki-laki and ­perempuan here to be more specific as well.

  • Saya punya tiga cucu—dua laki-laki dan satu perempuan.
    “I have three grandchildren—two boys and one girl.”

The word for “cousin” is sepupu, and it doesn’t change based on age or gender. Any child of your parents’ siblings is a sepupu.

Lastly, in Indonesian you would call your “aunt” your bibi and your “uncle” your paman. Here there are again shades of Dutch influence, because some people continue to call their “aunts” tante and their “uncles” oom instead.

  • Tante Rere bekerja di mana?
    “Where does Aunt Rere work?”

Now let’s take a quick look outside the family…


4. New Family Members: Indonesian Love and Marriage

Man Putting Ring on Woman's Finger at Wedding

What do you call your sweetheart in Indonesian?

Many things, probably, though one of the most common pet names is Sayang. Strangely enough, it also means “unfortunately”! Trust me, the two meanings never overlap.

When you’re in a relationship, you call your significant other your pacar, and occasionally you’ll also see the word pasangan meaning “romantic partner.” Neither of these terms is gendered, keeping with the rest of the Indonesian language.

After the wedding (the pernikahan), the two parties are suddenly called suami meaning “husband” and istri meaning “wife.” This is often considered the moment when a person becomes an adult in Indonesian culture.

In fact, there’s a common question that people ask in Indonesia that would be rather rude in Western cultures.

  • Sudah menikah?
    “Are you married yet?”

Culturally, the only two acceptable answers to this are belum meaning “not yet” or sudah meaning “yes, already.” It’s either happening sometime or it already has—it would really throw people off to answer directly in the negative. Indonesians who are used to attending family reunions understand that this question comes left, right, and center.

In English, there are, of course, new names for parents after marriage—namely, the “in-laws.” Indonesian actually has words that map pretty directly onto the English equivalents, so you don’t have to do any memory games or mental gymnastics to figure these out.

One’s “parents-in-law” are known as mertua, regardless of whether they’re on the bride’s or groom’s side. And then “siblings-in-law” are known as ipar, with the same sort of freedom.

To be specific about their gender, you do the same thing we did above to describe siblings and children: add laki-laki for men, and perempuan for women. For parents-in-law, use bapak and ibu respectively instead, but you have to put them before the word mertua. Let’s clear this up with a couple of examples.

  • Ibu mertua saya tidak suka kue.
    “My mother-in-law doesn’t like cake.”
  • Saya punya dua ipar laki-laki.
    “I have two brothers-in-law.”

You’ll note that the structure of these words is different for each category: ibu mertua is literally talking about “a type of mother” while ipar laki-laki, since the word order is switched, means “a male sibling-in-law.”

Better get used to these family words for talking about your family in Indonesian, because they’re not going away…


5. Using Family Words with Ordinary People

Two Women Talking

Okay, here’s an extremely important part of speaking Indonesian that we’ve kind of glossed over up until now.

It’s a very normal part of polite Indonesian to use the words bapak and ibu when addressing or speaking to others.

  • Permisi, Bapak?
    “Excuse me, sir?”

But building off of that, you actually use these words instead of the pronoun Anda or “you.” Generally, you’ll use a very truncated form, where bapak becomes pak and ibu becomes bu.

  • Apakah Ibu mau lihat?
    “Do you (polite, female) want to see?”

And although this article is about Indonesian, we can’t bring up this point without introducing a tiny bit of Javanese. The largest of Indonesia’s cities are all on the island of Java, so people living there usually grow up bilingual in Indonesian and the local variety of Javanese (a related but different language).

Two words from Javanese appear quite constantly in Indonesian: mbak and mas. These mean “sister” and “brother” respectively, and they’re used with young people the same way ibu and bapak are used with older people.

  • Halo Mas, dari mana?
    “Hey man, where are you from?”

These words are also the accepted way to call servers over at a restaurant.

  • Permisi Mbak, minta bill.
    “Excuse me, ma’am, I’d like the bill.”


6. How IndonesianPod101 Can Help You Learn Indonesian Well

Family Quotes

Now you might be thinking: If you don’t personally have a handful of bibi and a couple of cucu laki-laki running around, what good is it to know all this vocabulary?

Well, for one thing, you certainly don’t need it to simply get by. Besides somebody asking if you’re an only child (anak tunggal) or not, you could live a fruitful life in Indonesia without ever talking about a sister-in-law.

But here’s the thing—Indonesians use these words like second nature. Any TV dramas, folktales, or epic poems that you’re interested in? They’ll be using these words all the time. “So and so’s brother betrayed so and so’s father, and I had to band together with my cousin to stop them!”

As I mentioned before, Indonesian family winds through Indonesian society. Being in good graces with somebody’s family is a fantastic social lubricant—they like you, you like them, everything just seems to go right when you’re together.

That can happen without knowing the language, of course. But when you go the extra mile to really understand the culture, it opens doors you could only dream of.

To learn more about the culture in Indonesia, and of course the language, visit us at IndonesianPod101.com. Read our insightful blogs posts, listen to our podcasts, and even upgrade to Premium Plus and take advantage of our MyTeacher program to learn Indonesian with your own personal teacher.

Your hard work will pay off, and you’ll be speaking Indonesian like a native before you know it! Let us know how this article helped you, or contact us with any questions.

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Top Indonesian Phrases for Travelers

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Everybody knows about the beautiful beaches and temples of Bali. Millions of people flock there every year, and the island is developing at an incredible speed.

Did you know, though, that there’s a whole lot more to Indonesia—frequently referred to as the country of 1,000 islands—than just Bali?

And the beautiful thing for the tourist who wants to see it all is that the effort to promote the national Indonesian language has been enormously successful. The vast majority of Indonesians are perfectly bilingual in at least one local language as well as standard Indonesian.

So the visitor with Indonesian phrases for travelers under their belt gets to avoid the hassle of learning multiple local languages, and instead gets to experience the benefit of using the national language wherever they go.

And the benefits of knowing basic Indonesian travel phrases are many.

Table of Contents

  1. What it’s Like Speaking Indonesian in Indonesia
  2. Top Useful Travel Phrases to Get You All Around Indonesia
  3. Conclusion: How IndonesianPod101 Can Help You Learn More Indonesian


1. What it’s Like Speaking Indonesian in Indonesia

Basic Questions

Before you learn travel phrases in Indonesian, there are a few things you should know.

Many language learners tend to complain that the locals switch to English instead of speaking their native language. Nobody wants that—it’s embarrassing and makes you feel like you don’t know anything at all.

It’s true, though, that if you’re in Jakarta or Denpasar and you approach someone in a Starbucks and speak broken Indonesian to them, they’re probably going to use English with you just to save time and effort on your part. Can’t blame them.

English ability is considered very trendy in Indonesia. Not only are a lot of people actively studying English at school, but popular culture in English is commonplace.

You may be wondering, then, why you should learn travel phrases in Indonesian at all! But hope isn’t lost for the learner of Indonesian. Venture outside of a built-up area and you’re likely to meet plenty of people who are far more comfortable speaking Indonesian than English.

Even in Bali, a quick motorbike ride outside the cities will bring you to small towns where you’ll have to speak Indonesian to ask for directions or get a bite to eat.

And if you speak Indonesian confidently and competently, even fluent speakers of English are likely to continue in Indonesian with you from small topics to big ones.

In particular, if you can speak some Indonesian in touristy cities, you’ll set yourself apart from the crowds of English-only visitors and bring a smile to some faces.

Now that you know a little background and context on the topic, let’s get to our list of essential travel phrases in Indonesian!


2. Top Useful Travel Phrases to Get You All Around Indonesia

1- Greetings

Survival Phrases

Naturally, when you’re going around Indonesia, you won’t want to just barge into a conversation without starting it off politely.

The most common greetings in Indonesia are based on the time of day, or more accurately, the times between different calls to prayer (known as azan, which change very slightly month to month). However, they line up pretty nicely with English equivalents, and are some of the most useful Indonesian travel phrases (everyone’s happier after a nice greeting!).

  • “Good morning!”
    Selamat pagi!
  • “Good afternoon!”
    Selamat siang!
  • “Good evening!”
    Selamat sore!
  • “Good night!”
    Selamat malam!

Once you’ve met someone multiple times, the selamat gets dropped, and just saying the time of day is adequate. You’ll notice that the vowel sound usually gets stretched out for this.

  • “Good eveniiiiing!”
    Soreeeee!

Woman Grabbing Someone's Attention

When you’re just trying to get someone’s attention, the greeting isn’t necessary—just say “excuse me” and add the correct pronoun.

  • “Excuse me, sir…”
    Permisi, Pak…
  • “Excuse me, ma’am…”
    Permisi, Bu…

Pak and Bu are short forms of bapak and ibu, meaning “father” and “mother” respectively. The short forms are used as polite pronouns for people older than you.

If you and the other person are both young (or you’re much older), then you should use mas for men and mbak for women.

  • “May I ask…”
    Bolehkah saya tanya…
  • “Goodbye!”
    Sampai jumpa!

2- Shopping

Indonesia is developing fast, and in any city you go to, you’ll have a choice between shopping at smaller markets and shopping at enormous malls. Generally speaking, people working in malls have better English, but definitely don’t count on it.

In any case, it’s incredible how far you can get with just a few simple words.

  • “This one, please.”
    Yang ini.
  • “Thank you! Thanks!”
    Terima kasih! Makasih!
  • “Thank you very much!”
    Terima kasih banyak!

Two Women Examining Clothes

Seriously, the phrases and Indonesian words for travellers above are the bare bones of any commercial interaction. What if you want to expand a little bit on what you’re trying to say?

  • “I really like this!”
    Saya sangat suka yang ini.
  • “This is so beautiful!”
    Ini cantik sekali!
  • “Do you have a bigger size? / Do you have a smaller size?”
    Apakah Anda punya yang lebih besar? / Yang lebih kecil?
  • “I’m looking for jeans size 32/34.”
    Saya mau jeans dengan ukuran tiga puluh dua/tiga puluh empat.
  • “Can you make it any cheaper?”
    Boleh sedikit lebih murah?
  • “Okay, I’ll take it!”
    Oke, saya ambil yang ini.

3- Dining Out

The same general advice about English ability applies to restaurants as well as other shops. The smaller and more out-of-the-way the place—and the older the person behind the counter—the less likely it is that they’ll be able to speak English to you.

You may be glad to hear that lots of menus actually have English on them, even outside of tourist areas; this fits with English being a trendy language.

The simplest way to order is to simply point at the menu. Indonesians like to put pictures on their menus, so even locals are used to pointing. When you do so, say something like this:

  • “One of these, and two of these.”
    Ini satu, dan ini dua.
  • “Do you want it spicy? / Do you want peppers? / How many (peppers)?”
    Mau pedas? / Pakai cabe? / Berapa?

I enjoy spicy food, but I strongly recommend that you try one or even “half” (setengah) before confidently saying that you want several peppers. The Indonesian peppers are something else!

The word pakai here is occasionally pronounced as paké, especially in Javanese-speaking areas. It literally means “to wear” and it’s used when you’re asking or answering a question about what you’d like included with your food. You’ll often hear it with the yes-no tag question, like so:

  • “Add rice, right?”
    Pakai nasi, nggak?

One of the biggest tests of your listening skills is the following question, usually delivered at breakneck speed on account of its frequency:

  • “For here or to go?”
    Makan di sini atau dibungkus?

After you order, the most common thing is for the cashier to simply say the price, instead of saying, for example, “the price is…” beforehand.

  • “Twenty-three thousand.”
    Dua puluh tiga ribu.

Here’s an all-purpose compliment you can use after your meal, practically guaranteed to win a smile:

  • The food was excellent!”
    Makanannya enak sekali!

Man Full After Good Meal

Suppose it wasn’t so good, though? Lots of Indonesian food isn’t far from what’s normal in Western countries, but sometimes you may be offered a particular concoction of hot peppers and marinated eggs that you’d prefer to pass on. The polite way to decline is as follows:

  • “Maybe next time.”
    Mungkin lain kali.

Some people might also say Mungkin besok, where besok literally means “tomorrow.” But it’s important to know that Indonesians more often than not use it to mean “any time in the future.” This is also true of its counterpart kemarin meaning “yesterday.”

  • “The restaurant that we went to yesterday (or before) was better!”
    Resto yang kita pergi kemarin lebih bagus!

4- Transportation

Preparing to Travel

Taxis are becoming less and less common in Indonesia as more and more people use ride-sharing apps.

Instead of Uber, the two main ride apps are called Grab (a Singaporean company) and Go-Jek (a homegrown Indonesian venture). Both offer car rides as well as much cheaper and faster motorbike rides.

Foreigners can easily download these apps and simply pay with cash instead of using an e-wallet.

However, you may not be comfortable ordering a ride by yourself with a new app and having to communicate with the driver. In that case, simply ask someone nearby to order one for you on their phone. Better do this politely!

  • “Can you help me order a Grab/Go-Jek?”
    Bolehkah Anda membantu saya memesan Grab/Go-Jek?
    • The word Grab is written the same as its English counterpart, but pronounced gréb.
  • “I want to go to the Hotel Omah.”
    Saya mau ke Hotel Omah.

If you’re going back to a place you know well, but your driver does not, then you’ll have to direct them a little bit.

  • “Turn left here, then make a U-Turn.”
    Di sini belok kiri, terus putar balik.

Taking a Taxi

There’s a great line dance song, actually, which is perfect for memorizing kiri (left) and kanan (right). It’ll stay in your head for a loooong time!

Public transit is, unfortunately, not as developed as the rideshare economy. Many bus stops are poorly marked, and it can be quite uncomfortable to wait in a bus while an endless stream of motorbikes cuts your driver off.

But they sure are cheap! Long-distance bus rides can take advantage of the new highways that are frequently being opened across Java, cutting transit time to big cities to a fraction of what it used to be.

  • “Does this bus go to…?”
    Apakah bis ini pergi ke …?
  • “Where can I buy a ticket?”
    Di mana bisa beli tiket?
  • “I want two tickets to … please.”
    Saya mau dua tiket ke …

Remember to include a “thanks” (makasih) after even little transactions like this one!

5- Emergencies

Indonesian cities usually have a “police station” (kantor polisi) in every district, as well as police boxes on major intersections. Officers don’t tend to patrol, though speed traps are pretty common. “Private security” (satpam) is pretty common, and they may be able to help you contact authorities in times of need.

  • “Where is the police station?”
    Di mana kantor polisi?
  • “I have to call the police.”
    Saya harus menelepon polisi.

Each medium-sized city will have a number of “hospitals” (rumah sakit) and “clinics” (klinik), and usually at least one “International” hospital, which generally has some English-speaking staff or translators. Don’t count on this in smaller cities, though.

  • “I’ve got to get to the hospital!”
    Saya harus ke rumah sakit!

At “pharmacies” (apotek) you can describe your symptoms and get “over-the-counter medicine” (obat), no problem. The most important word is sakit which means “pain,” or “painful.”

  • “My head hurts.”
    Saya sakit kepala.
  • “Do you have medicine for a sore throat?”
    Ada obat untuk sakit tenggorokan?

In the case of asking for things in a shop, you wouldn’t use the construction apakah Anda punya or “do you have,” but instead the construction ada…? which means “is there…?”

6- Compliments

Why are you in Indonesia, why are you learning Indonesian, and how come you speak it so well?

You’re definitely going to get questions like these. Fortunately, you can use the same stock answers every time and nobody will ever know—plus, you’ll get so good at delivering them that people will be more and more impressed!

  • “I really like Indonesian food.”
    Saya sangat suka makanan Indonesia.
  • “I’m interested in the culture of Indonesia/Southeast Asia.”
    Saya tertarik dengan budaya Indonesia/Asia Tenggara.

Remember that, in Indonesian, you’re interested “with” something instead of interested “in,” as in English. What would interest you so much that you’d want to learn the language?

  • “I like learning languages.”
    Saya suka belajar bahasa-bahasa.
  • “Indonesian is very beautiful!”
    Bahasa Indonesia indah sekali!

To be honest, compared to other Asian languages, Indonesian isn’t particularly difficult to pick up the basics in.

Two Women Having a Chat

For that reason, locals don’t tend to lavish praise on foreigners who can speak it. Instead, the foreigner with some linguistic ability will often hear this phrase:

  • “Have you been in Indonesia long?”
    Sudah lama di Indonesia?

To which you can answer:

  • “No, only a few weeks.”
    Tidak, hanya beberapa minggu.


3. Conclusion: How IndonesianPod101 Can Help You Learn More Indonesian

World Map

And for those few weeks, it’s amazing what you can end up learning to say in Indonesian!

Do you feel more prepared to travel in Indonesia with these Indonesian travel phrases? Or are there still some you’re struggling with? Let us know in the comments!

Why stop here with these simple phrases? You’ll absolutely be welcomed if you stop at a little warung or “small restaurant” and ask about the food—particularly if you tell them it’s delicious.

There are plenty of foreigners who have lived in Indonesia for a long time, and just slowly picked up the language without the need for much study.

Of course, if you’re into puzzles, learning the nuances of the prefixes and suffixes hinted at in this article is a challenge for anyone.

All that goes to show that travel phrases are really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to language knowledge.

There’s no time like the present to dive deeper, especially if you commit to a reliable and engaging language-learning program such as IndonesianPod101.

Log

Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a HubSpot certified content strategist, copywriter, and polyglot who works with language learning companies. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing & more.

Count One, Count Many with Indonesian Numbers

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I remember that one of the hardest things for me when I was actually living in Indonesia was using numbers automatically.

Anybody can count through the numbers to ten in Indonesian—you can pick that up on the plane ride over.

When you actually have to use these Indonesian numbers, though, things are probably a bit more tight. It’s probably hot, and there’s probably somebody behind you in line who doesn’t care at all that it’s your first time in an Indonesian restaurant.

Can’t you just feel their gaze on the back of your head?

Well, probably not, because Indonesians are famously polite and patient. Nevertheless, it’s not a situation you want to be in. You want to have those numbers down pat.

And the best way to learn numbers in Indonesian is to have a good solid review. So, what are the numbers in Indonseian and how can you use them?

Let’s go over numbers in Indonesian, starting from square satu.

Table of Contents

  1. The Number System – Zero to Ten
  2. Numbers 21 – 99
  3. Bigger and Bigger Numbers
  4. Ordinal Numbers in Indonesian
  5. Phone Numbers
  6. Prices
  7. Using Prices and Numbers as Conversation Starters
  8. Conclusion

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1. The Number System – Zero to Ten

Indonesian Numbers

If you’re new to Indonesian numbers, you’ve got a lovely surprise coming. The counting system in Indonesian is extremely simple and regular, perhaps more so than the vast majority of systems around the world.

Indonesians use the Arabic numerals widely seen all over the world, even in a traditional script like Javanese or Balinese. Only in the most formal or ritualistic occasions will you ever have a chance to see the traditional numbers in Indonesian written out, and so we won’t cover them here.

Here’s how to count in Indonesian:

English Indonesian
“Zero” Nol
“One” Satu
“Two” Dua
“Three” Tiga
“Four” Empat
“Five” Lima
“Six” Enam
“Seven” Tujuh
“Eight” Delapan
“Nine” Sembilan
“Ten” Sepuluh

Now let’s have a look at counting in Indonesian beyond that. First we’ll look at the names for the numbers themselves, and then we’ll examine something that can trip up a lot of first-time learners.

English Indonesian
“Eleven” Sebelas
“Twelve” Dua belas
“Thirteen” Tiga belas
“Fourteen” Empat belas
“Fifteen” Lima belas
“Sixteen” Enam belas
“Seventeen” Tujuh belas
“Eighteen” Delapan belas
“Nineteen” Sembilan belas
“Twenty” Dua puluh

So go back and look at “ten” there, sepuluh. Look familiar?

In Indonesian, when we count “one of” something, we almost always use the prefix se- instead of saying satu in front of that thing.

And instead of having unique words for most numbers like in English, or saying the equivalent of “six ten four” (64) like in Chinese, Indonesian is actually counting how many of each “digit place” you have. Let’s look at an example.

So the root behind “ten” is puluh, and therefore when we have “one ten” we’ll say sepuluh. Belas is a little harder to find an analogue in English. If you want, you can think of it like “one ‘tens place’” but to be honest, simply memorizing these words may be just as effective.

The important thing is that you keep sepuluh or “ten” and sebelas or “eleven” separate in your mind. That should be easy once you take the next step:


2. Numbers 21 – 99

You’re now ready to make all the numbers in Indonesian up to 99. They follow a simple pattern, best explained through example:

  • tiga puluh — “thirty”
  • tiga puluh satu — “thirty-one”
  • empat puluh dua — “forty-two”
  • enam puluh enam — “sixty-six”
  • delapan puluh lima — “eighty-five”
  • sembilan puluh sembilan — “ninety-nine”

As you can see, we’re now counting puluh, so “four ten two” is the way to say “forty-two.”

That’s all we have to do all the way up to 99, and even beyond!


3. Bigger and Bigger Numbers

Calculator, Pen, and Big Numbers

Remember that satu puluh and satu belas always combine into sepuluh and sebelas. This pattern continues all the way to a billion! The second pattern of simply stating the numbers in order also continues uninterrupted.

  • seratus — “one-hundred”
  • seratus dua puluh sembilan — “one-hundred twenty-nine”
  • seribu — “one-thousand”
  • seribu tiga ratus empat puluh lima — “one-thousand three-hundred forty-five”
  • sejuta — “one-million”
  • semiliar — “one-billion”

Remember that miliar is much, much bigger than “million” in English. After miliar, Indonesian borrows internationally-used words for the absurdly large numbers.

Since they’re not as widely used, you don’t need to turn satu into a prefix anymore. Simply say satu quintilliun and people will understand perfectly. For writing numbers in Indonesian for all of the rare and huge numbers out there, go ahead and check this handy guide for the spelling rules.

English uses “millions” or “hundreds” as shorthand for saying the exact number when something is “a lot.” How can you do that in Indonesian if words don’t have plural forms?

All you need is the suffix -an. Observe:

  • Ratusan orang di Bandung tinggal di Jalan Srikandi.
  • “Hundreds of people in Bandung live on Srikandi Street.”

The equivalent of “dozens,” then, is puluhan, literally “tens.”

  • Puluhan mahasiswa mengisikan jalan-jalan Jakarta.
  • “Dozens of students are filling the streets of Jakarta.”

That’s not the only thing we can fix to Indonesian numbers.


4. Ordinal Numbers in Indonesian

Ordinal numbers (first, second, third, etc.) are an absolute breeze in Indonesian. Let’s get “first” out of the way first:

pertama — “first”

This word can comfortably fit after any noun, like so:

  • Ini mobil pertama yang saya punya.
  • “This is the first car I’ve had.”

After that, we simply add ke- as a prefix to any other number and get the ordinal form. Here’s a full list.

English Indonesian
“First” Pertama
“Second” Kedua
“Third” Ketiga
“Fourth” Keempat
“Fifth” Kelima
“Sixth” Keenam
“Seventh Ketujuh
“Eighth” Kedelapan
“Ninth” Kesembilan
“Tenth Kesepuluh

When writing out numbers in text, especially big ones, that ke- is attached to the digit with a hyphen.

  • Ini abad ke-21. (kedua puluh satu)
  • “This is the twenty-first century.”


5. Phone Numbers

Phone Number on a Slip of Paper

The phone number system in Indonesia is quite different from that of Western countries. Many people have two phones, or a phone capable of dual SIM cards. You keep one number for actually placing calls, and have another phone for data. Then you swap out your data card every few months with a new one after it expires. Don’t worry, this is simple and easy at any phone store.

Phone numbers begin with the country code +62, then a city/region code, then a personal phone number that can vary in length. Some are ten digits, and some are eleven, depending on when you got your number and if it’s a mobile or landline.

Enough cultural notes for now, though. Let’s look at the language.

The first big difference in how to say numbers in Indonesian is that the number “zero” is read as kosong (literally “empty” when translated) when reading out phone numbers.

The second is that “eight” (delapan) is often truncated to lapan. If you’re not expecting it, it can really throw you off!

Here are a couple of phrases you can use to ask people for their numbers.

  • Apa nomor teleponmu?
  • “What’s your phone number?”
  • Nomorku kosong empat lima…
  • “My number is zero four five…”
  • Maaf mbak, satu kali lagi — kosong empat lima apa?
  • “Sorry miss, one more time — zero four five what?”

Unlike in English, each number is read out individually, not combined into two-digit numbers.

English and Indonesian have a couple of false friends when it comes to talking about phones. A “SIM card” in English is not a “SIM” in Indonesian; that’s what they call a driver’s license. To buy a SIM card, you’ll need to ask for a kartu ponsel.

Similarly, a mobil in Indonesian might sound a lot like “mobile phone” in English, but it’s the word for “car.” A cell phone is called HP, read as if you’re simply reading out the letters. It’s also known a little more formally as a ponsel, short for telepon selular or “cellular telephone.”


6. Prices

A Rupiah
Indonesia uses the rupiah, which is currently at around 14.000 to the US dollar. There are coins and bills, divided into several sizes as follows.

  • seratus rupiah — “100 rupiah”
  • dua ratus rupiah — “200 rupiah”
  • lima ratus rupiah — “500 rupiah”
  • seribu rupiah — “1.000 rupiah”
  • dua ribu rupiah — “2.000 rupiah”
  • lima ribu rupiah — “5.000 rupiah”
  • sepuluh ribu rupiah — “10.000 rupiah”
  • dua puluh ribu rupiah — “20.000 rupiah”
  • lima puluh ribu rupiah — “50.000 rupiah”
  • seratus ribu rupiah — “100.000 rupiah”

What a list! It might seem overwhelming now, but it’s the same numbers we’ve been working with all through the article.

When you go shopping or ask for the bill in Indonesia, people say these numbers fast. Interestingly, it’s just as common for people to say the equivalent of “thirty-five” as it is for people to say “thirty-five thousand rupiah.” Some people will be explicit and some not, but you’ll pick it up fast enough to avoid being confused for too long.

By the way, it would be a good idea for you to practice speaking that list aloud at natural speed, just so that when the opportunity to talk about money comes up, you won’t feel lost for words. Here are some phrases to help you along:

  • Berapa harganya?
  • “How much is it?”
  • Harganya seratus tiga puluh enam ribu.
  • “The price is one-hundred and thirty-six thousand.”
  • Berapa?
  • “How much?” (a little more informal)
  • Kok mahal!
  • “Whoa, that’s expensive!”
  • Bisa lebih murah tidak?
  • “Can it be made cheaper?”
  • Bagaimana kalau seratus ribu dua puluh?
  • “How about one-hundred and twenty thousand?”
  • Delapan puluh, boleh tidak?
  • “Eighty-thousand, how about it?” (informal)

One more word you should be aware of is pas. It means “just right” or “exactly.” You’ll hear it more often than you use it, which is when you give exact change. Have a look at this exchange:

Clerk: Enam puluh ribu lima ratus rupiah, mbak.
“Sixty-thousand and five-hundred rupiah, ma’am.”

You: Enam puluh ribu… ah, punya lima ratus.
“Sixty-thousand…ah, I’ve got a 500.”

Clerk: Pas, ya?
“Exact change.”

You’ll notice that I threw in a little mbak there, which is essential to understand when you deal with people in the service industry. It’s a little filler word used for politeness, and even though I’ve translated it as “ma’am,” it isn’t nearly as formal as the English equivalent.

The intricacies of these pronouns deserve a lesson all of their own, but I’ve included them here because they may confuse you if you’re listening intently for numbers and nothing else.

In short, men will hear bro, mas, or pak, and women will hear sis, mbak, or kak depending on their ages and locations in Indonesia. You should do your best to match that polite pronoun when speaking in return.


7. Using Prices and Numbers as Conversation Starters

Huge Mall

There’s a lot to be said for language practice in unlikely places. When I lived in Indonesia, I used convenience stores as one of my main sources of conversation practice—without wasting anybody’s time.

In Indonesia, you’ll probably find yourself in convenience stores a lot because they’re air-conditioned and they have cold drinks. Usually, there’s a sale on with a big MURAH! or “cheap” sign next to it.

Your mission is to ask about the terms of the sale, especially if it might be something you’re interested in. Can you buy water bottles by the case? Is one brand of toothpaste deeply discounted? Ask about these things in Indonesian!

Then, to really get numbers in your mind, think out loud as you weigh the pros and cons of participating in the sale. Not only does this give you more time in the air conditioning, it also gives the clerk an opportunity to check your math.

You: Empat puluh ribu, lima kotak, jadi sepuluh ribu sekotak.
“Forty-thousand, five boxes, that’s ten-thousand a box.”

Clerk: Maaf pak, sebenarnya delapan ribu sekotak.
“Sorry sir, that’s actually eight-thousand a box.”


8. Conclusion

The single best way I’ve found for actually learning the meanings of numbers in other languages is to force myself to use them. I know it’s really, really easy to just skip over them when you read, and automatically convert the digits to your native language in your head.

When you do that, you’re robbing yourself of the practice you need.

All it really takes is a couple of minutes of practice every so often—probably the only part of language-learning that can be so described!

As you go through your IndonesianPod101 lessons, ask yourself what the lesson numbers were in Indonesian. As you browse through Indonesian news or Twitter, check the dates of the articles, if not the numbers in the articles themselves.

Every little bit helps, and the more you do it, the better you become.

Are there any Indonesian numbers or number-forming rules you’re still confused about? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll do our best to help you out!

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How To Post In Perfect Indonesian on Social Media

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You’re learning to speak Indonesian, and it’s going well. Your confidence is growing! So much so that you feel ready to share your experiences on social media—in Indonesian.

At Learn Indonesian, we make this easy for you to get it right the first time. So, post like a boss with these phrases and guidelines, and get to practice your Indonesian in the process.

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1. Talking about Your Restaurant Visit in Indonesian

Eating out is often fun, and an experience you want to share. Post a suitable pic of yourself in the restaurant, and start a conversation on social media in Indonesian. Your friend will be amazed by your language skills…also perhaps your taste in restaurants!

Indra eats out with his friends, posts an image of the restaurant, and leaves a comment:

POST

Let’s break down Indra’s post.

Restoran ini suasananya enak sekali.
“This restaurant’s atmosphere is very good.”

1- Restoran ini

First is an expression meaning “This restaurant.”
This expression indicates the topic of the rest of the sentence.

2- Suasananya enak sekali

Then comes the phrase - “The atmosphere is very good.”
This expression explains the topic. The particle ‘-nya’ expresses possession. Therefore, ’suasananya’ means ‘the atmosphere of…’

COMMENTS

In response, Indra’s friends leave some comments.

1- Makanannya enak tidak?

His college friend, Doni, uses an expression meaning - “Is the food good or not?”
Use this expression to show your interest in the topic.

2- Restoran ini ada di mana?

His high school friend, Tiwi, uses an expression meaning - “Where is this restaurant?”
Use this expression to show you are feeling curious.

3- Kayaknya mahal, Om.

His girlfriend’s nephew, Johan, uses an expression meaning - “It seems expensive, Uncle.”
Use this expression to indicate awe.

4- Halo Indra. Kapan-kapan mari kita makan bersama di sana.

His neighbor, Sri, uses an expression meaning - “Hello, Indra. Let’s eat together there sometime.”
Use this expression to show feelings of warmhearted friendship.

VOCABULARY

Below, the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • suasana: “atmosphere, mood, ambiance”
  • enak: “good (as in “taste good”, “feels good” )”
  • di mana: “where”
  • kayaknya: “to seem, to look like”
  • kapan-kapan: “sometime”
  • mari: “let’s”
  • bersama: “together”
  • restoran: “restaurant”
  • So, let’s practice a bit. If a friend posted something about having dinner with friends, which phrase would you use?

    Now go visit a Indonesian restaurant, and wow the staff with your language skills!

    2. Post about Your Mall Visit in Indonesian

    Another super topic for social media is shopping—everybody does it, most everybody loves it. Also, your friends on social media are probably curious about your shopping sprees! Share these Indonesian phrases in posts when you visit a mall.

    Susi shops with her sister at the mall, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Susi’s post.

    Baru beli baju buat liburan, pas diskon!
    “Just bought clothes for a holiday, right on time for a discount!”

    1- baru beli baju buat liburan

    First is an expression meaning “just bought clothes for holiday.”
    When the word ‘baru’ is put in front of a verb, it gives the meaning of “just did…”

    2- pas diskon

    Then comes the phrase - “right in time of discount.”
    When the word ‘pas’ is put in front of an expression of condition (adjective, noun), it gives the meaning of ‘right at the time of (the condition)’.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Susi’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Wah, bajunya bagus ya Bu Susi.

    Her neighbor, Sri, uses an expression meaning - “Wow, the clothes are good, Mrs. Susi.”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling warmhearted and appreciative.

    2- Beli di mana, Sus?

    Her high school friend, Lita, uses an expression meaning - “Where did you buy, Sis?”
    Use this expression to be engaging.

    3- Hai Susi apa kabar? Salam buat Indra ya!

    Her boyfriend’s high school friend, Tiwi, uses an expression meaning - “Hi Susi, how are you? Say hi to Indra, ok!”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling friendly.

    4- Bu Susi sering sekali belanja ya hehe..

    Her supervisor, Adam, uses an expression meaning - “Mrs. Susi, you really go shopping often, haha”
    Use this expression to be humorous.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • baru: “just did”
  • wah: “wow”
  • salam: “regards”
  • buat: “for”
  • hehe: “hehe (expression for teasing)”
  • belanja: “to do shopping”
  • sering: “often”
  • diskon: “discount”
  • So, if a friend posted something about going shopping, which phrase would you use?

    3. Talking about a Sport Day in Indonesian

    Sport events, whether you’re a spectator or a participant, offer fantastic opportunities for great social media posts. Learn some handy phrases and vocabulary to start a sport-on-the-beach conversation in Indonesian.

    Indra plays with his friends at the beach, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Indra’s post.

    Hore tim saya menang lagi!
    “Yeah, my team won again!”

    1- Hore

    First is an expression meaning “Yeah, hurray.”
    This is an exclamation that expresses joy.

    2- Tim saya menang lagi

    Then, the phrase - “My team won again.”
    The word ‘lagi’ means ‘again.’

    COMMENTS

    In response, Indra’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Selamat ya! Tim saya kurang beruntung hari ini.

    His college friend, Doni, uses an expression meaning - “Congratulations! My team was out of luck today.”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling frivolous.

    2- Kok saya tidak diajak, Om

    His girlfriend’s nephew, Johan, uses an expression meaning - “How come I wasn’t invited, Uncle.”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling disappointed.

    3- Selamat! Berikutnya tim saya pasti bisa menang.

    His high school friend, Tiwi, uses an expression meaning - “Congratulations! Next time my team will definitely (be able to) win!”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling optimistic.

    4- Warna bolanya lucu ya!

    His girlfriend’s high school friend, Lita, uses an expression meaning - “The color of the ball is cute, right!”
    Use this expression to be funny.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • tim: “team”
  • selamat: “congratulations”
  • kok: “why, how come”
  • pasti: “certainly, definitely”
  • lucu: “cute”
  • ya: “right? (asking a confirmation)”
  • diajak: “to be invited”
  • beruntung: “lucky”
  • Which phrase would you use if a friend posted something about sports?

    But sport is not the only thing you can play! Play some music, and share your thoughts about it on social media.

    4. Share a Song on Social Media in Indonesian

    Music is the language of the soul, they say. So, don’t hold back—share what touches your soul with your friends!

    Susi shares a song she just heard at a party, posts a link with the song, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Susi’s post.

    Sudah lama sekali nggak dengar lagu ini, jadi ingat masa SMA.
    “I haven’t heard this song in a long time. It reminds me of high school.”

    1- Sudah lama sekali nggak dengar lagu ini

    First is an expression meaning “It has been a long time not listening to this song..”
    “sudah lama sekali gak….” is often used to express a situation that hasn’t been encountered for quite a long time.

    2- Jadi ingat masa SMA.

    Then comes the phrase - “It reminds me of my high school time..”
    “jadi” (become) is often used to express a result or the effect of a situation.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Susi’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Iya, makanya tadi abis pesta langsung beli albumnya.

    Her boyfriend, Indra, uses an expression meaning - “Yes, that’s why after the party I immediately bought the album.”
    Use this expression in response to an appropriate comment.

    2- Aku suka dengan penyanyinya, liriknya bagus

    Her boyfriend’s high school friend, Tiwi, uses an expression meaning - “I like the singer. The lyrics are good.”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling appreciative.

    3- Haha, jadi kangen jaman dulu

    Her high school friend, Lita, uses an expression meaning - “Haha, it made me miss my past.”
    Use this expression to be funny.

    4- Saya juga suka lagu itu, Bu.

    Her supervisor, Adam, uses an expression meaning - “I also like that song, Ma’am. ”
    This is also an expression of appreciation.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • jadi: “to become”
  • makanya: “that’s why”
  • suka: “to like”
  • kangen: “to miss”
  • juga: “too, also”
  • nggak: “not”
  • langsung: “directly, immediately”
  • sudah lama sekali nggak: “It’s been a while since…”
  • Which song would you share? And what would you say to a friend who posted something about music or music videos?

    Now you know how to start a conversation about a song or a video on social media!

    5. Indonesian Social Media Comments about a Concert

    Still on the theme of music—visiting live concerts and shows just have to be shared with your friends!
    Here are some handy phrases and vocab to wow your followers with in Indonesian!

    Indra goes to a concert, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Indra’s post.

    Live dari Java Jazz Festival 2017! Ada yang lagi di sini juga?
    “Live from Java Jazz Festival 2017! Is anybody (else) here too?”

    1- Live dari Java Jazz Festival 2017!

    First is an expression meaning “Live from Java Jazz Festival 2017!.”
    Java Jazz Festival is an annual jazz concert in Jakarta.

    2- Ada yang lagi di sini juga?

    Then comes the phrase - “Is anybody here too?” It’s use should be clear.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Indra’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Yang penting besok jangan terlambat masuk kantor, ya.

    His supervisor, Adam, uses an expression meaning - “The important thing is don’t be late for work tomorrow, ok.”
    This phrase can be teasing and humorous, depending on how well you know your supervisor!

    2- Tidak bosan setiap tahun nonton, Om?

    His girlfriend’s nephew, Johan, uses an expression meaning - “You don’t get bored watching this every year, Uncle?”
    Use this expression to make conversation and tease someone.

    3- Saya juga senang musik jazz tetapi tidak suka pergi ke konser.

    His neighbor, Sri, uses an expression meaning - “I also like jazz music, but I don’t like to go to concerts.”
    Use this expression to share your preferences and thoughts on the topic.

    4- Mantap!

    His girlfriend, Susi, uses an expression meaning - “Great!”
    Use this expression when you are feeling encouraging and enthusiastic.

    VOCABULARY

    Below, the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • yang penting: “the important thing is”
  • terlambat: “late”
  • bosan: “bored”
  • Om: “uncle, Sir”
  • mantap: “great, good job”
  • nonton: “to watch”
  • konser: “concert”
  • jangan: “do not”
  • If a friend posted something about a concert , which phrase would you use?

    6. Talking about an Unfortunate Accident in Indonesian

    Oh dear. You broke something by accident. Use these Indonesian phrases to start a thread on social media. Or maybe just to let your friends know why you are not contacting them!

    Susi accidentally breaks her mobile phone, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Susi’s post.

    Aduh, handphoneku jatuh. Kacanya pecah. Huhu…
    “Ouch, my cellphone fell. The glass is broken; (I’m) sad.”

    1- Aduh, handphoneku jatuh (Aduh, handphoneku jatuh)

    First is an expression meaning “Ouch, my cellphone fell..”
    The word ‘aduh’ is often used when something unfortunate happened.

    2- Kacanya pecah, huhu. (Kacanya pecah, huhu.)

    Then comes the phrase - “The glass is broken; sad..”
    The suffix -nya refers to the phone mentioned in the previous sentence. It becomes ‘the glass of the phone.’

    COMMENTS

    In response, Susi’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Astaga, kok bisa Sus?

    Her boyfriend, Indra, uses an expression meaning - “Gosh, how come, Sus?”
    Use this phrase to express sympathetic interest in the topic.

    2- Tinggal beli lagi, Tante.

    Her nephew, Johan, uses an expression meaning - “Just buy again, Aunty.”
    Here, the phrase is used to advise someone.

    3- Yah…

    Her college friend, Doni, uses an expression meaning - “Oh…”
    This is a useful filler depicting understanding when you don’t have much to say.

    4- Masih asuransi tidak?

    Her boyfriend’s high school friend, Tiwi, uses an expression meaning - “Is it still insured?”
    You’re making conversation by asking quesitions.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • aduh: “ouch”
  • astaga: “gosh”
  • kok bisa: “how come”
  • tinggal: “just need to”
  • masih: “still”
  • asuransi: “insurance”
  • yah: “oh (for disappointment)”
  • huhu: “(onomatopoeia for crying)”
  • If a friend posted something about having broken something by accident, which phrase would you use?

    So, now you know how to talk about an accident in Indonesian. Well done!

    7. Chat about Your Boredom on Social Media in Indonesian

    Sometimes, we’re just bored with our lives. And to alleviate the boredom, we discuss it on social media. Add some excitement to your posts by addressing your friends and followers in Indonesian!

    Indra gets bored at home, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Indra’s post.

    Aduh bosan sekali di rumah.
    “Ouch, it’s so boring at home.”

    1- Aduh!

    First is an expression meaning “Ouch!”
    Expresses an unfortunate or unsatisfactory situation.

    2- Bosan sekali di rumah.

    Then comes the phrase - “It is very boring at home…”
    For such expression, the subject (such as ‘it is’ ) is not necessary.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Indra’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Sudah cuci pakaian belum?

    His girlfriend, Susi, uses an expression meaning - “Have you washed the clothes?”
    Ask this when you’re feeling bossy! Or to ask this question, obviously.

    2- Main ke tempatku aja

    His college friend, Doni, uses an expression meaning - “Just come to my place.”
    This is obviously a friendly invitation and suggestion.

    3- Emangnya tante Susi ke mana, Om?

    His girlfriend’s nephew, Johan, uses an expression meaning - “Actually, where is aunt Susi, Uncle?”
    This can be a question when you’re feeling humorous.

    4- Apa kabar, Indra? Lama gak ketemu.

    His high school friend, Tiwi, uses an expression meaning - “How are you, Indra? Long time no see.”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling nostalgic and friendly.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • rumah: “home”
  • sudah: “already”
  • cuci: “to wash”
  • main: “to come, to play, to hang out”
  • emangnya: “actually, indeed”
  • lama: “long”
  • ketemu: “to meet (casual)”
  • belum: “not yet”
  • If a friend posted something about being bored, which phrase would you use?

    Still bored? Share another feeling and see if you can start a conversation!

    8. Exhausted? Share It on Social Media in Indonesian

    When sitting in public transport after work, do you feel like chatting online? Well, share your thoughts in Indonesian, and let your friends join in!

    Susi feels exhausted after a long day at work, posts an image of herself looking tired, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Susi’s post.

    Pekerjaan gak habis-habis. Cape….
    “Work is endless. I’m tired….”

    1- Pekerjaan gak habis-habis.

    First is an expression meaning “Jobs are endless..”
    The phrase “gak” or “tidak,” followed by a repeated word that indicates a state, indicates that the state has not been not reached even though time has passed, and much effort has been exerted. Other examples are “tidak selesai-selesai”, “tidak maju-maju”, and “gak menang-menang”.

    2- Cape….

    Then comes the phrase - “(I am) tired….”
    It is common to omit the subject when the context is clear.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Susi’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Jangan mengeluh, Susi.

    Her supervisor, Adam, uses an expression meaning - “Don’t complain, Susi.”
    If you have a good, friendly relationship with someone, this can be a playful admonition.

    2- Sebentar lagi aku jemput.

    Her boyfriend, Indra, uses an expression meaning - “I’ll pick you up soon.”
    In this context, this comment expresses encouragement, trying to lift Susi’s spirit.

    3- Tetap semangat, Susi!

    Her boyfriend’s high school friend, Tiwi, uses an expression meaning - “Keep up your spirits, Susi!”
    Another friendly, encouraging comment.

    4- Pulang Sus, pulang…

    Her college friend, Doni, uses an expression meaning - “Go home Sus, go home…”
    In this context, the friend is being humorous.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • cape: “tired (casual)”
  • mengeluh: “to complain”
  • sebentar lagi: “soon”
  • jemput: “to pick up”
  • semangat: “spirit, motivation”
  • tetap: “stay, permanent”
  • pulang: “to go home”
  • pekerjaan: “job”
  • If a friend posted something about being exhausted, which phrase would you use?

    Now you know how to use even more phrases in Indonesian! Well done.

    9. Talking about an Injury in Indonesian

    So life happens, and you managed to hurt yourself during a soccer game. Very Tweet-worthy! Here’s how to do it in Indonesian.

    Indra suffers a painful injury, posts an image of himself, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Indra’s post.

    Aduh kaki keseleo!
    “Ouch, my foot is sprained!”

    1- Aduh!

    First is an expression meaning “Ouch!.”
    This expression indicates an unfortunate feeling, situation or event.

    2- Kaki keseleo.

    Then comes the phrase - “My foot is sprained..”
    This expression uses very simple grammar: a subject and a verb.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Indra’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Aduh kok bisa Pak Indra? Semoga segera sembuh.

    His neighbor, Sri, uses an expression meaning - “Ouch, how come, Mr. Indra? Please get well soon.”
    This is an expression of commiseration and a friendly wish.

    2- Di dekat rumah saya ada klinik ortopedi, Pak.

    His supervisor, Adam, uses an expression meaning - “Near my home, there’s an orthopedic clinic, Sir.”
    The supervisor gives advice.

    3- Cepat sembuh ya, Ndra!

    His girlfriend’s high school friend, Lita, uses an expression meaning - “Get well soon, Indra!”
    A friendly, sympathetic expression, wishing someone well.

    4- Kok bisa, Indra?

    His high school friend, Tiwi, uses an expression meaning - “How come, Indra?”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling curious.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • keseleo: “to be sprained”
  • semoga: “hopefully, I hope”
  • sembuh: “to recover, to get well”
  • kok bisa: “how come”
  • klinik: “clinic”
  • dekat: “near, close”
  • segera: “soon”
  • Pak: “sir, Mr.”
  • If a friend posted something about being injured, which phrase would you use?

    We love to share our fortunes and misfortunes; somehow that makes us feel connected to others.

    10. Starting a Conversation Feeling Disappointed in Indonesian

    Sometimes things don’t go the way we planned. Share your disappointment about this with your friends!

    Susi feels disappointed about today’s weather, posts an appropriate image, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Susi’s post.

    Kenapa hujannya tidak berhenti…
    “Why doesn’t the rain stop…”
    This is a rhetorical question, expressing a sense of disappointment.

    1- kenapa hujannya

    First is an expression meaning “why does the rain.”
    The suffix -nya indicates the definite particle ‘the.’

    2- tidak berhenti…

    Then comes the phrase - “not stop.”
    When we use rhetorical questions, we’re wondering out loud! Susi is not asking somebody else about the rain; she is wondering to herself. That’s why she used an ellipsis at the end of the sentence instead of a question mark.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Susi’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Halo Bu Susi, cuacanya sedang kurang bagus, jaga kesehatan, ya.

    Her neighbor, Sri, says - “Hello, Mrs. Susi. The weather isn’t good. Please take care of your health.”
    These words show friendly concern and sympathy with Susi’s sentiments.

    2- Cuacanya enak buat tidur hehehe.

    Her college friend, Doni, uses an expression meaning - “The weather is good for sleeping, hehe.”
    This is a humorous comment.

    3- Tidak apa-apa, supaya segar.

    Her boyfriend’s high school friend, Tiwi, says - “It’s ok. It’ll make things fresh.”
    This is an optimistic comment and opinion.

    4- Jadi malas ngapa-ngapain.

    Her high school friend, Lita, uses an expression meaning - “It makes me lazy to do anything.”
    Here, a bit of personal information is shared.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • kenapa: “why”
  • sedang: “doing something in an ongoing state”
  • kesehatan: “health”
  • tidak apa-apa: “it is ok, it is fine”
  • malas: “lazy”
  • ngapa-ngapain: “to do anything”
  • jadi: “so, become”
  • kurang: “not so, less”
  • How would you comment in Indonesian when a friend is disappointed?

    Not all posts need to be about the negatives, though!

    11. Talking about Your Relationship Status in Indonesian

    Don’t just change your relationship status in Settings - talk about it!

    Indra changes his status to “In a relationship”, posts an image of him and Susi, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Indra’s post.

    Setelah 2 tahun, akhirnya…
    “After two years, finally…”

    1- Setelah 2 tahun,

    First is an expression meaning “After 2 years,.”
    This expression indicates the length of time Indra has been waiting for Susi.

    2- akhirnya…

    Then comes the phrase - “finally….”
    Even though the sentence itself does not explain what the ‘finally’ about, the context is clear from the picture.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Indra’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Terima kasih ya…

    Susi expresses gratitude for his post with: “Thank you.”

    2- Selamat ya, Om!

    His girlfriend’s nephew, Johan, uses an expression meaning - “Congratulations, Uncle!”
    The phrase is self-explanatory.

    3- Ciyeeee… ;)

    His girlfriend’s high school friend, Lita, uses an expression meaning - “Look at you guys! (teasing)”
    The emoji gives away her frivolous mood; it is also an appreciative, positive statement.

    4- Sudah tidak galau lagi donk, Ndra!

    His college friend, Doni, says - “So you’re no longer worried, are you, Indra!”
    This is obviously a humorous, friendly comment.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • setelah: “after”
  • akhirnya: “finally”
  • terima kasih: “thank you”
  • ciyeee: “(teasing word for something romantic)”
  • galau: “confused, worried”
  • donk: “expression of certainty”
  • sudah: “already”
  • tidak lagi: “no more”
  • What would you say in Indonesian when a friend changes their relationship status?

    Being in a good relationship with someone special is good news - don’t be shy to spread the news!

    12. Post about Getting Married in Indonesian

    Wow, so things got serious, and you’re getting married. Congratulations! Or, your friend is getting married, so talk about this in Indonesian.

    Susi is getting married today, so she leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Susi’s post.

    Terima kasih sudah datang di hari bahagiaku!
    “Thank you for coming to my happy day.”

    1- terima kasih sudah datang

    First is an expression meaning “thank you for coming.”
    This comment expresses gratitude for the guests for joining her and Indra at the wedding.

    2- di hari bahagiaku

    Then comes the phrase - “to my happy day.”
    The expression “hari bahagia” in Indonesian is mostly associated with a wedding day.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Susi’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Selamat ya, Bu Susi.

    Her supervisor, Adam, uses an expression meaning - “Congratulations, Mrs. Susi.”

    2- Semoga berbahagia, Susi dan Indra.

    Her neighbor, Sri, uses an expression meaning - “I hope you two will be happy.”
    This is a warm-hearted, friendly wish, appropriate to the event.

    3- Akhirnya, Susi. Selamat menempuh hidup baru!

    Her high school friend, Lita, uses an expression meaning - “Finally, Susi. Wishing you all the best in your new life!”
    This is both a humorous comment and friendly wish.

    4- Selamat!

    Her nephew, Johan, uses an expression meaning - “Congratulations!”
    Use this expression to congratulate someone on any occasion.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • hari: “day”
  • semoga: “I hope, hopefully”
  • menempuh: “to go through (a journey)”
  • hidup: “life”
  • baru: “new”
  • bahagia: “happy”
  • datang: “to come”
  • selamat: “congratulations, happy”
  • How would you respond in Indonesian to a friend’s post about getting married?

    For the next topic, fast forward about a year into the future after the wedding…

    13. Announcing Big News in Indonesian

    Wow, huge stuff is happening in your life! Announce it in Indonesian.

    Indra finds out he and his wife are going to have a baby, posts an appropriate image, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Indra’s post.

    Kabar gembira! Saya akan jadi seorang ayah!
    “Good news! I will be a father!”

    1- Kabar gembira!

    First is an expression meaning “Good news!.”
    This expression is used in the same way the expression “Good news” is used in English.

    2- Saya akan jadi seorang ayah!

    Then comes the phrase - “I will be a father!.”
    The phrase “akan jadi” is the casual form of “akan menjadi”, which means “will be”.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Indra’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Selamat ya, Indra! Semoga Susi selalu sehat.

    His neighbor, Sri, uses an expression meaning - “Congratulations, Indra! I hope Susi is always healthy.”

    2- Wah, saya akan punya sepupu.

    His nephew, Johan, says: “Wow, I will have a cousin.”
    An appreciative comment.

    3- Waaaaaaaa…. Congrats Susi!!

    His wife’s high school friend, Lita, comments: “Waaaaaa…. Congrats Susi!”
    It’s clear that Lita is excited and happy for her friend.

    4- Selamat, Indra. Salam untuk Susi, semoga selalu sehat.

    His supervisor, Adam, uses an expression meaning - “Congratulations, Indra. Please say hi to Susi; I hope she is always healthy.”

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • kabar: “news”
  • ayah: “father”
  • seorang: “a (person)”
  • selalu: “always”
  • sepupu: “cousin”
  • sehat: “healthy”
  • gembira: “happy”
  • akan: “will”
  • Which phrase would you choose when a friend announces their pregnancy on social media?

    So, talking about a pregnancy will give your posts a lot of traction on social media. But that’s nothing—wait till you see the responses to babies!

    14. Posting Indonesian Comments about Your Baby

    Your bundle of joy is here, and you cannot keep quiet about it. Share your thoughts in Indonesian.

    Susi plays with her baby, posts an image of the smiling cutie, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Susi’s post.

    Senyum lebar setelah mandi dan sarapan pagi hehehe
    “A big smile after a bath and breakfast, haha.”

    1- senyum lebar

    First is an expression meaning “a big smile.”
    No subject is necessary here because it is clear from the context.

    2- setelah mandi dan sarapan pagi hehehe

    Then comes the explanation - “after a bath and breakfast, haha.”
    This phrase provides additional info as to why the baby is smiling. The ‘haha'’ is an onomatopoeia for a giggle or small laugh.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Susi’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Tampaknya ceria sekali. Semoga selalu sehat ya, Bu.

    Her neighbor, Sri, uses an expression meaning - “He looks so cheerful. I hope he will always be healthy.”
    This is a warmhearted expression of admiration, as well as a well-wish.

    2- Kyaaaa anakmu lucu banget!

    Her high school friend, Lita, uses an expression meaning - “Awww, your son is so cute!”
    Another common expression of admiration.

    3- Susi, wajahnya mirip sekali sama kamu.

    Her husband’s high school friend, Tiwi, says: “Susi, his face resembles you, for real.”
    Use this expression to express appreciation and start a conversation about babies.

    4- Putranya lucu sekali, Bu Susi.

    Her supervisor, Adam, uses an expression meaning - “Your son is so cute, Mrs. Susi.”
    This is an expression of admiration, again. These should be very common when you post about a baby!

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • senyum: “smile, to smile”
  • sarapan: “breakfast”
  • banget: “very”
  • lucu: “funny”
  • mirip: “similar”
  • putra: “son”
  • semoga: “may, wish”
  • mandi: “bath, shower”
  • If any of your friends is a new parent, which phrase would you use on social media?

    Congratulations, you know the basics of chatting about a baby in Indonesian! But we’re not done with families yet…

    15. Indonesian Comments about a Family Reunion

    Family reunions - some you love, some you hate. Share about it on your feed.

    Indra goes to a family gathering, posts an image of the event, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Indra’s post.

    Bertemu keluarga besar setahun sekali, syukurlah semua sehat.
    “Our large family meets once a year; thank God that everybody is healthy.”

    1- bertemu keluarga besar setahun sekali

    First is an expression meaning “Our large family meets once a year..”
    “Keluarga besar” can refer to not just size but also scope, i.e. not just father, mother, and children, but also grandfather, grandmother, and all of their kids and grandkids.

    2- syukurlah semua sehat

    Then comes the phrase - “Thank God that everybody is healthy..”
    The word ’syukurlah’ can be used not just as an interjection (like in ‘thank God!’ ), but also describes the state of being grateful.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Indra’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Makasih fotonya, Om!

    His nephew, Johan, says: “Thanks for the photos, Uncle!”
    This expression shows he’s feeling grateful.

    2- Kamu punya berapa saudara kandung?

    His wife’s high school friend, Lita, uses an expression meaning - “How many siblings do you have?”
    Use this expression when you’re inquisitive and want to start a conversation.

    3- Aku sudah lama tidak reuni keluarga

    His college friend, Doni, uses an expression meaning - “I haven’t had a family reunion in a long time.”
    This phrase shows Doni is chatty and shares information.

    4- Jangan lupa kirim fotonya ke Ayah, ya.

    Susi, Indra’s wife, reminds him: “Don’t forget to send the photo to my father.”

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • bertemu: “to meet”
  • syukurlah: “thank god, thank goodness, I am grateful”
  • saudara kandung: “siblings”
  • reuni: “reunion”
  • lupa: “to forget”
  • ayah: “father”
  • setahun sekali: “once a year”
  • makasih: “thanks”
  • Which phrase would be suitable for use on a friend’s photo about a family reunion on your feed?

    16. Post about Your Travel Plans in Indonesian

    So, the family is going on holiday. Do you know how to say something about being at the airport, waiting for a flight etc in Inddonesian? No worries if you don’t!

    Susi waits at the airport for her flight, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Susi’s post.

    Terminal Soekarno Hatta yang baru keren!
    “The new Soekarno Hatta Terminal is cool!”

    1- Terminal Soekarno Hatta yang baru

    First is an expression saying: “The new Soekarno Hatta Terminal.”
    The role of the word ‘yang’ here is as a definite article (’the'’ ). It says ‘yang baru’, which implies that there are also other terminals, in this case, ‘the old terminal’ (’yang lama’ ).

    2- keren!

    Then comes the phrase - “is cool!.”
    This is a very common expression for showing amazement.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Susi’s friends and family leave some comments.

    1- Kabari kalau sudah sampai ya.

    Her husband, Indra, says: “Let me know when you arrive.”
    He shows care to his wife.

    2- Jangan lupa oleh-olehnya ya Tante, hehe

    Her nephew, Johan, uses an expression meaning - “Don’t forget the souvenir, Aunt.”
    Johan is making conversation, showing interest in the topic.

    3- Mau pergi ke mana?

    Her college friend, Doni, uses an expression meaning - “Where are you going (to go)?”
    Doni is also showing interest in the topic and wants to know more.

    4- Hati-hati di jalan!

    Her husband’s high school friend, Tiwi, uses an expression meaning - “Be careful!”
    This is a common expression to show care for a person’s wellbeing and safety.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • terminal: “terminal”
  • kabari: “let someone know”
  • oleh-oleh: “souvenirs”
  • mau: “to want, going to”
  • hati-hati: “take care, be careful”
  • jalan: “way, street”
  • kalau: “if”
  • sampai: “to arrive”
  • Choose and memorize your best airport phrase in Indonesian.

    Hopefully Susi’s whole trip is fantastic…!

    17. Posting about an Interesting Find in Indonesian

    So maybe you’re strolling around at your local market, and find something interesting. Here are some handy Indonesian phrases to report on your outing!

    Indra finds an unusual item at a local market, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Indra’s post.

    Jalan-jalan ke pasar barang bekas, banyak barang unik-unik.
    “Strolling around the second-hand market; so many unique things.”

    1- Jalan-jalan ke pasar barang bekas

    First is an expression meaning: “Stroll around the second-hand market..”
    This sentence describes where and when the picture was taken.

    2- banyak barang unik-unik.

    Then comes the phrase - “so many unique things..”
    In casual speech, to indicate plural, you can repeat the adjective instead of the noun itself. In formal speech, “unique things” is “barang-barang unik”, but in casual speech, “barang unik-unik” can be used too.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Indra’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Jangan beli barang aneh-aneh.

    His wife, Susi, says: - “Don’t buy weird things.”
    Susi is either teasing her husband with this comment, or she’s serious about this instruction. The former would be better!

    2- Itu di mana, Indra?

    His neighbor, Sri, uses an expression meaning - “Where is that, Indra?”
    Use this expression to show your interest in the topic.

    3- Oh, aku punya juga barang ini, haha.

    His wife’s high school friend, Lita, uses an expression meaning - “Oh, I have that stuff too, haha.”
    Lita is making conversation and sharing experiences - what social media was designed for!

    4- Pak Indra, itu benda apa?

    His supervisor, Adam, uses an expression meaning - “Mr. Indra, what stuff is that?”
    Adam is curious and showing an interest in Indra’s life.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • barang bekas: “secondhand goods”
  • pasar: “market”
  • unik: “unique”
  • aneh: “strange, weird”
  • punya: “to have, to possess”
  • benda: “thing, object”
  • barang: “goods, stuff”
  • juga: “too, also”
  • Which phrase would you use to comment on a friend’s interesting find?

    Perhaps you will even learn the identity of your find! Or perhaps you’re on holiday, and visiting interesting places…

    18. Post about a Sightseeing Trip in Indonesian

    Let your friends know what you’re up to in Indonesian, especially when visiting a remarkable place! Don’t forget the photo.

    Susi visits a famous landmark, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Susi’s post.

    Mumpung bisa ambil cuti, mari kita jalan-jalan dulu :)
    “During a day off, let’s have a trip :)”

    1- Mumpung bisa ambil cuti

    First is an expression meaning “during a day off.”
    ‘Mumpung’ is a casual term for ‘while’. Sometimes this can have a negative nuance (opportunistic). The more formal version is ’selagi’ or ’selama.’

    2- mari kita jalan-jalan dulu

    Then comes the phrase - “let’s have a trip.”
    ‘Jalan-jalan’ usually means “strolling”, but it can also be used to describe a leisurely outing somewhere.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Susi’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Tante jalan-jalan terus…

    Her nephew, Johan, uses an expression meaning - “Aunty, you take trips often…”
    Johan is making an observation and indicates his willingness to partake in the conversation.

    2- Baterai cadangan kamu ketinggalan di rumah.

    Her husband, Indra, comments: “You forgot your spare battery at home.”
    Oops! Hopefully Susi won’t need the spare battery. Indra is making conversation here in a way that implies his concern.

    3- Selagi masih muda, harus banyak melihat dunia.

    Her neighbor, Sri, uses an expression meaning - “You have to see a lot of the world while you’re still young.”
    Sri is sharing an opinion.

    4- Ada yang menarik di sana?

    Her college friend, Doni, uses an expression that literally translates as: “Anything interesting in there?”
    Rephrased, it would mean: “Anything interesting there?” Doni is asking a question to show interest in the topic and keep the conversation going.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • mumpung: “while”
  • cuti: “day off”
  • jalan-jalan: “to stroll, to trip”
  • selagi: “while”
  • muda: “young”
  • menarik: “interesting”
  • dunia: “world”
  • ketinggalan: “forgotten, left behind”
  • Which phrase would you use when a friend posts about a famous landmark?

    Share your special places with the world. Or simply post about your relaxing experiences.

    19. Post about Relaxing Somewhere in Indonesian

    So you’re doing much, yet you enjoy that too? Tell your social media friends about it in Indonesian!

    Indra relaxes at a beautiful place, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Indra’s post.

    Lupakan pekerjaan, mari kita santai di pantai.
    “Forget about work; let’s relax on the beach.”

    1- lupakan pekerjaan

    First is an expression meaning “forget about work.”
    This expresses a direction or instruction, but in this context, he is talking about or to himself.

    2- mari kita santai di pantai

    Then the phrase - “let’s relax on the beach.”
    This is a commonly-used expression to indicate relaxation in general: “santai kayak di pantai” (relax as if on the beach). It is popular because of because of the rhyming words. In this instance, however, Indra is actually on the real beach!

    COMMENTS

    In response, Indra’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Beneran santai di pantai ya Ndra, hehe.

    His wife’s high school friend, Lita, uses an expression meaning - “Relax on the beach for real, Indra. Haha.”
    Lita is making conversation and stating what everyone understands from his post - Indra is not only relaxing as if he’s by the seaside - he is really hanging on the beach!

    2- Aku juga ingin sekali ke sana!

    His high school friend, Tiwi, uses an expression meaning - “I really want to go there too!”
    Tiwi is sharing a sentiment, and keeps the conversation alive this way.

    3- Aku kapan diajak?

    His nephew, Johan, comments: “When will I be invited?”
    Johan is being playful and indicating that he wishes to join Indra - perhaps not for real but maybe another day.

    4- Selamat liburan ya, Pak Indra!

    His supervisor, Adam, uses an expression meaning - “Enjoy your holiday, Mr. Indra!”
    A friendly well-wish.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • lupa: “to forget”
  • pekerjaan: “work, job”
  • beneran: “really”
  • santai: “relaxed”
  • pantai: “beach, coast”
  • diajak: “to be invited”
  • kapan: “when”
  • liburan: “to take a holiday”
  • Which phrase would you use to comment on a friend’s feed?

    The break was great, but now it’s time to return home.

    20. What to Say in Indonesian When You’re Home Again

    And you’re back! What will you share with friends and followers?

    Susi returns home after a vacation, posts an image of htr return, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Susi’s post.

    Kembali ke kenyataan, hahaha
    “Back to reality, hahaha.”

    1- Kembali ke kenyataan

    First, the expression: “back to reality.”
    This expression is often used after a vacation or day off to indicate return to normal life.

    2- hahaha

    Then comes the phrase - “hahaha.”
    This expresses laughter.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Susi’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Kita harus segera membereskan rumah.

    Her husband, Indra, says: “We have to clean up the house immediately.”
    Hopefully Indra is joking and didn’t leave a dirty house for Susi to return to!

    2- Bagaimana liburannya?

    Her neighbor, Sri, uses an expression meaning - “How was your holiday?”
    This comment indicates interest in Susi’s experience and keeps the conversation going.

    3- Sampai ketemu di kantor besok.

    Her supervisor, Adam, uses an expression that translates as: “See you at work tomorrow.”
    Back to the grinding block! An apt comment from someone from work.

    4- Oleh-olehnya mana, Tante?

    Her nephew, Johan, comments: “Where is the souvenir, Aunty?”
    Johan is clearly excited to see the souvenirs Susi brought back.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • kembali: “back”
  • kenyataan: “reality”
  • segera: “soon”
  • kantor: “office”
  • besok: “tomorrow”
  • mana: “where”
  • membereskan: “to tidy up, to clean”
  • rumah: “house, home”
  • How would you welcome a friend back from a trip?

    Now, let’s look at what you would say on social media during a public commemoration day such as Eid ul-Fitr. Do you know what Eid ul-Fitr commemorates?

    21. It’s Time to Celebrate in Indonesian

    It is Eid ul-Fitr, a religious holiday where Muslims around the world, including in Indonesia, celebrate the end of 30 day fast called Ramadan. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world, making Eid ul-Fitr a big and important celebration.

    Indra is celebrating this holiday, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Indra’s post.

    Selamat Hari Lebaran, mohon maaf lahir dan batin.
    “Happy Lebaran! Please forgive me for anything I may have done wrong in the past.”

    1- Selamat Hari Lebaran

    First is an expression meaning “Happy Lebaran.”
    The terms ‘Lebaran’ and ‘Idul Fitri’ are used interchangeably to refer to Eid ul-Fitr. While Idul Fitri is the Indonesian romanization for the Arabic عيد الفطر‎ ʻĪd al-Fiṭr, Lebaran presumably originates from the local languages in Indonesia that means “finish” or “complete”.

    2- mohon maaf lahir dan batin

    Then comes the phrase - “please forgive me for anything I may have done wrong in the past.”
    This expression is the most standard greeting during Eid al-Fitr. “Lahir dan batin” means “body and soul”, and implies the apology for any wrongdoing in act, thought, feeling, etc. Recently, other Arabic expressions were added.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Indra’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Selamat Idul Fitri, maaf lahir batin.

    His wife, Susi, says: “Happy Lebaran, please forgive things that I did wrong.”
    She’s using the standard Lebaran salutation.

    2- Semoga mudiknya lancar ya, Bu Susi dan Pak Indra. Maaf lahir batin.

    His supervisor, Adam, uses an expression meaning - “I hope your homecoming will go smoothly, Mrs. Susi and Mr. Indra. Forgive my wrongdoing.”
    He also uses the standard phrase to ask for forgiveness at the end.

    3- Mohon maaf lahir batin. Salam untuk seluruh keluarga.

    His neighbor, Sri, uses an expression meaning - “Forgive my wrongdoing. Send my regards to the whole family.”
    Using the Eid phrase common to this day, Sri also takes this opportunity to send a greeting to Indra’s family.

    4- Aku mau ketupat dan opor ayamnya!

    His nephew, Johan, uses an expression meaning - “I want Ketupat and chicken curry!”
    Johan is sharing his desires here, keeping the conversation alive. Ketupat is a type of rice dumpling that are commonly enjoyed during this holiday in Indonesia.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • Lebaran: “Eid-ul Fitr”
  • mudik: “homecoming”
  • lancar: “smooth”
  • ketupat: “ketupat, diamond-shaped packed rice covered in palm leaves”
  • opor: “opor, Indonesian curry”
  • mohon maaf: “I am sorry, I apologize”
  • lahir batin: “body and soul”
  • seluruh: “all, the whole”
  • If a friend posted something about a commemoration day, which phrase would you use?

    Lebaran and other public commemoration days are not the only special ones to remember!

    22. Posting about a Birthday on Social Media in Indonesian

    You or someone else are celebrating your birthday in an unexpected way. Be sure to share this on social media!

    Susi goes to her birthday party, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Susi’s post.

    Haha terima kasih kejutannya! Sudah makin tua nih hehe..
    “Haha, thanks for the surprise! I am getting older, haha..”

    1- Haha terima kasih kejutannya!

    First is an expression meaning “Haha, thanks for the surprise!”
    The suffix ‘-nya’ here acts as the conjunction ‘for.’

    2- Sudah makin tua nih.

    Then comes the phrase - “I am getting older.”
    The topic or subject of conversation is omitted here because it is clear from the context.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Susi’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Selamat ulang tahun, sayang!

    Her husband, Indra, uses an expression meaning - “Happy birthday, dear!”
    This is a commonly-used expression and means the same in all languages - wishing someone a happy day on the commemoration of their birth.

    2- Kapan traktir? hehe

    Her college friend, Doni, uses an expression meaning: “When will you treat me? Haha.”
    Doni is having fun and teasing Susi.

    3- met ultah!

    Her nephew, Johan, uses an expression meaning - “Happy B-Day!”
    Johan uses an abbreviation to congratulate Susi.

    4- Selamat ulang tahun Bu Susi, semoga panjang umur dan sehat selalu.

    Her neighbor, Sri, uses an expression meaning - “Happy birthday, Mrs. Susi. Wish you have a long life and will always be healthy.”
    A longer, warmhearted wish for Susi on her birthday.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • kejutan: “surprise”
  • sayang: “dear, baby, honey”
  • traktir: “to treat”
  • met: “congrats, short for ‘Selamat’”
  • ultah: “birthday, short for ‘ulang tahun’”
  • panjang umur: “long life”
  • makin: “increasingly”
  • tua: “old”
  • Which phrase would you use on your friend’s feed on their birthday?

    23. Talking about New Year on Social Media in Indonesian

    Impress your friends with your Indonesian New Year’s wishes this year. Learn the phrases easily!

    Indra celebrates New Year, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Indra’s post.

    Selamat tahun baru semuanya! Semoga tahun ini lebih baik dari tahun sebelumnya.
    “Happy New Year, everyone! May this year be better than the previous year.”

    1- Selamat tahun baru semuanya

    First is an expression meaning “Happy New Year, everyone!.”
    “Selamat ahun baru” is the standard greeting for the new year.

    2- Semoga tahun ini lebih baik dari tahun sebelumnya.

    Then comes the phrase - “May this year be better than the previous year..”
    The word “semoga” is used in many greetings. It expresses a hope or a wish.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Indra’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Selamat tahun baru Pak, semoga semakin banyak rejeki.

    His supervisor, Adam, comments: “Happy New Year; wish you have more and more fortune.”
    This is a more old-fashioned well-wish from a senior at work, but it is still a great well-wish.

    2- Saya di rumah saja, tidur.

    His nephew, Johan, uses an expression meaning - “I am just staying at home; sleeping.”
    Johan is sharing an opinion; maybe he’s feeling a bit low?

    3- met taun baru, Ndra!

    Indra’s wife’s high school friend, Lita, uses an expression meaning - “Happy New Year, Indra!”
    Use this expression to be friendly.

    4- Semoga semua lancar di tahun yang baru.

    His high school friend, Tiwi, uses an expression meaning - “I wish everything goes well in the new year.”
    This is an optimistic wish for the new year ahead.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • tahun baru: “New Year”
  • baik: “good”
  • rejeki: “fortune”
  • tidur: “to sleep”
  • saja: “just, only”
  • semua: “all, the whole”
  • lebih: “more”
  • sebelum: “previous, before”
  • Which is your favorite phrase to post on social media during New Year?

    So, the festive season is over! Yet, there will always be other days, besides a birthday, to wish someone well.

    24. Post about Your Anniversary in Indonesian

    Some things deserve to be celebrated, like wedding anniversaries. Learn which Indonesian phrases are meaningful and best suited for congratulations on these days!

    Indra celebrates his wedding anniversary with his wife, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Indra’s post.

    Selamat ulang tahun pernikahan yang pertama untuk istriku tercinta. :)
    “Happy first wedding anniversary to my beloved wife. :)”

    1- selamat ulang tahun pernikahan yang pertama

    First is an expression meaning “happy first wedding anniversary.”
    Unlike English, the word “pernikahan” (wedding) is not optional in this expression.

    2- untuk istriku tercinta

    Then comes the phrase - “to my beloved wife.”
    The word ‘tercinta’ is composed of ‘cinta’ (love) and the prefix ‘ter-’. However, just like the word ‘beloved’ in English, it is easier to remember the word as a single adjective: “tercinta.”

    COMMENTS

    In response, Indra’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Selamat ulang tahun pernikahan, Bu Susi dan Pak Indra.

    His neighbor, Sri, comments: “Happy wedding anniversary, Mrs. Susi and Mr. Indra.”
    The meaning is clear - a warm-hearted wish to the couple.

    2- Selamat hari jadi yang pertama, semoga selalu bahagia.

    His supervisor, Adam, uses an expression meaning - “Happy first anniversary. Wish you will always be happy.”
    A more old-fashioned, serious way of wishing the couple well in their marriage.

    3- Ciyeeee… selamat ya. :)

    His wife’s high school friend, Lita, uses an expression meaning - “I envy you a lot…congratulations. :)”
    Lita is being playful here.

    4- Wah, selamat ya Susi dan Indra semoga selalu bahagia.

    His high school friend, Tiwi, uses an expression meaning - “Wow, congratulations, Susi and Indra. Wish you will always be happy.”
    The wish is optimistic and positive!

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • ulang tahun pernikahan: “wedding anniversary”
  • hari jadi: “anniversary”
  • bahagia: “happy”
  • selamat: “congratulations”
  • wah: “wow”
  • semoga: “hopefully”
  • selalu: “always”
  • pertama: “first”
  • If a friend posted something about a wedding anniversary, which phrase would you use?

    Conclusion

    Learning to speak a new language will always be easier once you know key phrases that everybody uses. These would include commonly used expressions for congratulations and best wishes, etc.

    Master these in fun ways with Learn Indonesian! We offer a variety of tools to individualize your learning experience, including using cell phone apps, audiobooks, iBooks and many more. Never wonder again what to say on social media!

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    Indonesian Remembrance Day: Hero’s Day in Indonesia

    On National Heroes’ Day, Indonesians commemorate and honor all those who lost their lives in their 1945 battle against the British. Many people on both sides lost their lives, but in the end, Indonesia was able to remain free from Dutch colonial rule. This day is sometimes referred to as Warriors Day or National Hero Day.

    In this article, you’ll learn about the history of Heroes’ Day in Indonesia, how Indonesians observe it today, and some practical holiday vocabulary!

    At IndonesianPod101.com, we hope to make every aspect of your language-learning journey both fun and informative!

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    1. What is Heroes’ Day in Indonesia?

    On Indonesian Heroes’ Day, Indonesians commemorate the deaths of 16,000 Indonesian and 2,000 British soldiers in a three-week-long bloody battle. This battle resulted from Indonesia’s resistance to British efforts of returning Indonesia to the Dutch.

    The battle of November 10, 1945 was triggered by the death of Brigadier Mallaby, an accident that could have been avoided. However, the British government reacted by sending 24,000 soldiers to occupy Indonesia. The Battle of Surabaya was acknowledged by the British as the hardest war after World War II, and it was marked by two generals, three British war aircraft, and thousands of British soldiers.

    2. When is Indonesian Heroes’ Day?

    Heroes’ Day Statue

    Each year, Indonesians celebrate Heroes’ Day on November 10.

    3. Celebrations & Traditions for Heroes’ Day in Indonesia

    Kalibata Heroes Cemetery

    Every November 10, each house in Indonesia displays the red and white flag half-mast. All members of society pray for the spirits of the national heroes and meditate for sixty seconds all at once at 8:15 local time. The President of Indonesia leads a national visit to the complex of Taman Makam Pahlawan Kalibata, Jakarta, which is followed by a flower sowing procession. On that day, the President also announces the granting of the National Hero title at the Istana Negara.

    In Makassar, South Sulawesi, the commemoration is held on the deck of KRI Kerapu, a warship of the Indonesian National Army Navy. Seven miles off the LANTAMAL VI floating dock, after the ceremony, participants drift a flower bouquet consisting of the three forces of the Indonesian National Army and the Indonesian National Police.

    In Solo, Central Java, Heroes’ Day is commemorated in a lively way. The historic steam train Sepur Kluthuk Jala Dara, filled with old and young residents alike wearing freedom fighters’ costumes, travels around Solo city. It’s not just that; Jalan Slamet Riyadi becomes the center of the celebration by the expansion of a giant red and white flag that measures 4 x 6 meters. The commemoration, which falls on the same day as car-free day, enables the meditation and the flag ceremony to be held in the middle of the main street of Solo city.

    4. The British Soldiers

    Why were the British soldiers in Indonesia at that time?

    After losing the war, the Japanese had to get out of the occupied countries, including Indonesia. The British soldiers then came to Indonesia to disarm the Japanese soldiers, to free the Japanese prisoners of war, to discharge the Japanese soldiers, and finally to return power over Indonesia to the Dutch.

    5. Essential Heroes’ Day Indonesian Vocabulary

    Shirt of Indonesian Flag

    Here’s the essential vocabulary you need to know for Heroes’ Day in Indonesia!

    • Hari Pahlawan
      “Heroes’ Day”
    • Pertempuran
      “Battle”
    • Jasa
      “Merit”
    • Upacara peringatan
      “Memorial ceremony”
    • Penjajah
      “Colonizer”
    • Insiden
      “Incident”
    • Konflik
      “Conflict”
    • Perjuangan
      “Struggle”
    • Bambu runcing
      “Sharpened bamboo”
    • Taman Makam Pahlawan Kalibata
      “Kalibata Heroes Cemetery”
    • Lomba orasi
      “Speech contest”

    To hear each of these words pronounced, and to see them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Indonesian Heroes’ Day vocabulary list!

    Conclusion

    We hope you enjoyed learning about National Heroes’ Day in Indonesia with us, and that you were able to take away something valuable.

    Learning about a country’s culture and history may be the most exciting and enriching aspects of trying to master a language. If you enjoyed this article and want to keep delving into Indonesian culture, you may find the following pages interesting:

    Does your country have a similar day for remembering and honoring those fallen in battle? Let us know in the comments!

    Learning a new language is a difficult task, but at IndonesianPod101, we believe that you really can master Indonesian. And we’ll be here with help and encouragement on each step of your language-learning journey!

    Happy Heroes’ Day, Indonesia!

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    Sorry in Indonesian: Language-specific Phrases

    When I was little, I always hated getting in trouble at a friend’s house.

    Something about being in a slightly unfamiliar environment made the feeling of shame and embarrassment ten times worse.

    It’s kind of the same when you have to apologize for something in a foreign language, right?

    You’re completely out of your comfort zone, to begin with, and now you’ve gone and messed something up to the point where you’ve got to rely on your language skills to get you out of trouble, and say sorry in the Indonesian language.

    Lucky for you, if you land into trouble in Indonesia, you’ve already got an advantage.

    Indonesians are extremely accommodating and are more often than not perfectly willing to let an altercation go without so much as a raised voice.

    But you don’t want to just rely on the goodness of others, do you? You want to do the right thing and own up to your mistakes. As you learn to say sorry in Indonesian, lessons like this one will greatly benefit you!

    To that end, here are the words, phrases, and grammar you’ll need to pull off a flawless apology in Indonesian. Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your Indonesian Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

    1. Saying Sorry for Small Things: The Magic Word Maaf
    2. Saying Sorry for Big Things
    3. Everything’s Okay: How to Accept an Apology
    4. When to Apologize in Indonesian Culture? Hint: All The Time.
    5. Conclusion

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    1. Saying Sorry for Small Things: The Magic Word Maaf

    3 Ways to Say Sorry

    As you learn how to say sorry in Indonesian, vocabulary is the first step. The simplest word for apologizing is maaf. As you may recall, the doubled letter means that you pronounce it with a little hitch in your voice, like in the English word “uh-oh.”

    The word originally comes from the Arabic word mu’aaf, which means “exempt.” Over time, the word entered Malay, and eventually Indonesian.

    It’s pretty versatile for four little letters! Let’s take a look at some of the ways it can be used.

    1- As an Exclamation

    When you learn how to say sorry in Indonesian language, simple apologies are a good place to start. If you bump into someone, you can say something like this:

    • Oh! Maaf!
      “Oh! Excuse me!”

    And just like the English phrase “excuse me,” which has a few meanings, you can also use maaf to get someone’s attention. Not always, though. The cultural norms here run pretty deep, so let’s break down what it means.

    You use maaf to ask for attention when the person is your superior. In a class, for instance, students will usually prefix their questions with maaf, and they’ll certainly do so if they’re about to go use the bathroom or take a phone call.

    There’s another word, permisi, which also means “sorry,” “excuse me,” and “please let me by.” You use permisi to get attention from a serviceperson, or in other words, in a situation when you’re expected to need the attention or service of others.

    Here, you can see how to use it in a restaurant:

    • Permisi! Minta bill ya.
      “Excuse me! I’d like the bill please.”

    And now compare how you’d use maaf:

    Man Complaining About Wrong Dish

    2- With Particles

    We already mentioned oh, maaf, but you can also use the particle ya, placed after the word, to indicate that the thing you’re apologizing for was a little bit serious (but there’s really no harm done).

    • Kok, lupa membawa surat. Maaf ya.
      “Whoops, I forgot to bring the letter. Sorry!”

    This same ya is occasionally replaced by loh, particularly in informal written dialogue.

    It sounds perfectly natural once or twice, but make sure you don’t add in the particle when something serious has gone wrong. The implication is that you’ll either fix the mistake, or that it wasn’t a big deal to begin with.

    The particle ya can also be directly attached to the English word “sorry,” usually spelled sori in Indonesian to reflect its pronunciation. It’s even less serious than maaf ya!

    3- As a Verb or Noun

    By itself, maaf simply means “excuse” or something like “freedom from punishment.”

    Just like most words in Indonesian, maaf can be made into a verb or noun with the careful use of prefixes. There’s a number of obscure words that can be made with the wide variety of Indonesian prefixes out there, but you only really need to know one.

    When learning how to say sorry in Indonesian, grammar is essential. So here’s a tip: By adding the me- prefix and the -kan suffix, we get memaafkan, “to excuse.”

    • Saya tidak akan memaafkan kamu.
      “I’m not going to forgive you.”

    Note that this doesn’t mean “to apologize.” For that, we use the phrase minta maaf, or literally “ask for forgiveness.” It’s most often paired with the two prepositions kepada and atas, which both have many meanings, but mean “to someone” and “for something” in this context. Let’s see how to say sorry in Indonesian phrases with some examples:

    • Saya harus minta maaf kepada istriku.
      “I have to apologize to my wife.”
    • Dia minta maaf atas apa yang dia melakukan.
      “He apologized for what he did.”

    Man Apologizing to Woman

    The polite and humble way to say “I apologize” (as opposed to “I’m sorry,” which is less serious) is simply Saya minta maaf. Adding mau, meaning “want,” helps it even further, in the way that you can say “I would like to apologize,” in English.

    • Saya mau minta maaf kepada kamu.
      “I want to apologize to you.”

    Let’s get a little more serious for a moment.


    2. Saying Sorry for Big Things

    Say Sorry

    It turns out that maaf works well all the way up the politeness scale, beyond “I’m sorry” in Indonesian.

    To make it more serious, we’ll add a few more words to the sentence.

    • Saya benar-benar minta maaf.
      “I’m truly sorry.”

    Benar means “truly” or “seriously.” Doubling it, or “reduplicating” in linguistic terms, intensifies the word. The effect is far more genuine than saying “I’m really, really sorry” in English. By the way, some people spell the word bener, but that’s looked down on as incorrect.

    We can also swap out the word minta for the word mohon, meaning “to beg.” They mean almost exactly the same thing, but mohon is a more formal word associated with speechmaking and writing.

    • Saya mohon maaf atas kesalahan saya.
      “I beg forgiveness for my mistakes.”

    Indonesian is relatively special among world languages in that it doesn’t have a wide set of vocabulary to express different levels of the word “apologize.” Instead, there are additional phrases around a single root word.

    For instance, there’s a particular formal phrase used in religious ceremonies related to apologies, and it still includes that same word maaf.

    • Mohon maaf lahir dan batin.
      “I apologize for my life and soul.”

    You wouldn’t use this outside of religious contexts, which means it’s not actually an apology that you can use in daily life. It does appear on greeting cards for Ramadan, though!

    So when things get more serious in terms of what you did wrong, it’s important to own up to your own faults and specifically say what your mistakes were.

    Spell them out explicitly and use the same words we’ve been looking at, and you’ll see that you come across as a lot more serious and humble.

    • Saya mohon maaf atas kesalahpahaman hari ini.
      “I apologize for the misunderstanding today.”

    Stressed Woman on Phone

    Kesalahpahaman, meaning “misunderstanding,” is one of my favorite words in Indonesian because it looks so different from its English counterpart yet ends up meaning exactly the same thing.

    Salah means “wrong” and paham means “to understand.” The circumfix (a prefix plus a suffix) ke-an creates a noun from a root word, very much like “to understand” can become “an understanding” with the addition of a suffix in English.

    Put all that together and you have a “misunderstanding!” This word is commonly used in speeches and newspaper reports, as it’s nice and long and impressive.

    • Saya bertanggung jawab atas semuanya.
      “I am responsible for everything.”

    The ber- prefix here is a little bit hard to translate, and you’d be better off consulting a more complete grammar guide if it’s completely new to you.

    Essentially, you’re saying that you have or possess whatever’s attached to that prefix. And in this case, that’s tanggung jawab, a set phrase meaning “responsibility.”

    One word or two, that phrase is often paired with untuk or atas, meaning “for,” to explain, well, what you’re responsible for.

    With this example, you’re responsible for semuanya or “everything!” That’s a lot of responsibility! It doesn’t take any changes to the phrase, though, to lessen that burden.

    • Saya bertanggung jawab untuk keterlambatan paket.
      “I am responsible for the package’s delay.”

    Let’s have a look at what you can do to convince others that you’ve turned over a new leaf. You can’t just say you’re sorry and then keep on doing the same old things.

    • Saya tidak akan melakukan hal ini lagi.
      “I won’t do this thing again.”

    We can, of course, bring in benar-benar at any time to really make our feelings clear.

    Lagi means “again” and can be used for things happening again in the past or the future.

    • Saya lupa mematikan lampu dan AC lagi!
      “I forgot to turn off the light and the air-con again!”

    This should keep you in the clear through whatever mistakes you might have made.


    3. Everything’s Okay: How to Accept an Apology

    Mother and Daughter Reconciling

    Now, though, let’s look at a few cases where you’re on the opposite end of the apology. What can you say?

    The catch-all phrase, interestingly enough, is very close to its English equivalent.

    • Tidak apa-apa.
      “It’s nothing.”

    Tidak is one of a handful of commonly used words meaning “not.” This word, and this particular phrase, are so common that they often get shortened in rapid speech.

    • Gapapa.
      “No prob’.”

    Very formally, you can respond to a request for forgiveness in the affirmative. Remember that we can turn maaf into a verb meaning “to forgive” like so:

    • Saya maafkan Anda.
      “I forgive you.”

    No big deal!


    4. When to Apologize in Indonesian Culture? Hint: All The Time.

    It’s kind of a joke among foreigners living in Indonesia: in order to do anything politely, you have to first apologize for existing. Saying sorry in Indonesian culture is just a part of life.

    Virtually every email or letter that makes a formal request will include the word maaf to show deference on the part of the person making the request.

    And at the end of speeches or presentations, it’s customary to apologize for any misinformation or mistakes you may have inadvertently included.

    • …terima kasih. Saya minta maaf atas kesalahan apapun.
      “…thank you. I’d like to apologize for any mistakes.”

    If you happen to be employed as a teacher, you may even feel frustrated as your students apologize for asking questions! Then again, teachers leading classes of foreigners have to get used to students simply asking without any formality.

    • Maaf Pak, tapi saya mau tanya…
      “Excuse me, sir, but I’d like to ask…”

    Lastly, when you take your leave from a group, you’ll have to apologize as well. In some cultures, it’s normal to say something when you’re heading off, and in others no special phrase is necessary. But in Indonesia, it’s expected that you’ll say:

    • Maaf, saya akan pergi.
      “Sorry, I’m gonna go.”

    Group Talking at Cafe

    What if you don’t follow this? What are the consequences?

    The thing is, Indonesians are almost never going to correct you for missing this cultural cue. However, you run the risk of slowly being perceived as ruder and ruder over time. People probably won’t be able to articulate why they think you’re not fitting in, but there’s always going to be something that separates you from others.

    That’s why it’s so important to be aware of the kinds of cultural differences that can exist, because how are you supposed to follow cultural cues that you’re not even expecting?


    5. Conclusion

    People often give the advice that if you want to pick up certain cultural nuances in a foreign culture, you should watch a lot of TV.

    That advice is particularly useful here when talking about norms of politeness. TV shows let you watch people from different levels of society interact constantly, and you can really learn a lot about the right times to say each of the phrases in this article.

    Even more modern web series will shed a lot of light on this. Some of them don’t show the more traditional levels of politeness, but they’re still valuable because you’ll get to see how young and trendy Indonesians navigate apologies.

    The more exposure you have to actual Indonesians living out their lives through TV, movies, or online videos, the more you’ll internalize how this all works together.

    And then, if worst comes to worst and you find yourself in hot water in Indonesia, you’ll know exactly how to keep cool and make apologies in Indonesian.

    Do you feel more prepared now to say sorry in Indonesian? Or are you still a little fuzzy on how to apologize in Indonesian? Let us know in the comments!

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    Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a HubSpot certified content strategist, copywriter and polyglot who works with language learning companies. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing & more.

    How to Celebrate Batik Day in Indonesia

    Indonesia celebrates national Batik Day each year in appreciation and admiration of the art of coloring clothing and other textiles via the Indonesian batik method, which has been recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage culture. In this article, you’ll learn more about what the unique Indonesian batik is, how Indonesians celebrate it, and why. In learning about this holiday, you’re gaining much insight into the rich culture and history of Indonesia—and we’re sure you’ll find the more familiar you are with Indonesian culture, the more fascinating the language will become!

    At IndonesianPod101.com, we hope to make every aspect of your learning journey both fun and informative! We think you’ll soon agree that National Batik Day fits the bill.

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    1. What is Batik Day?

    The commemoration of Batik Day in Indonesia is still new; it was stipulated by the President in 2009. This stipulation was enacted once UNESCO officially admitted Indonesian Batik as a world heritage culture. UNESCO includes batik in the List of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The stipulation of National Batik Day is a government effort to increase the Indonesian nation’s dignity and its positive image in international forums, and to grow the pride and love of the society for Indonesian culture.

    Batik is a textile coloring technique using wax material. Most of the wax is obtained from the excretion of plants, in the form of damar (coniferous timber) or resin. Animal sources of wax include wasp and bee hives. The only batik coming from Sumatra Island is Minangkabau Batik, in which the coloring technique uses clay. The fabric is first soaked in clay for a week, then it is washed and other natural colors from plants are applied.

    Batik Pekalongan has now been recorded by the Guiness Book as the biggest batik. It is made on a fabric 1,000 meters long and worked by 1,000 batik artisans on the main highway of Pekalongan City.

    2. When is Batik Day in Indonesia?

    Indonesian Child

    Each year, Indonesians celebrate Batik Day on October 2.

    3. Batik Day Celebrations & Traditions

    Batik Fashion Show

    On National Batik Day, Indonesia holds various annual batik festivals in several provinces. One of the most famous programs is Festival Batik Solo (Solo Batik Festival) that is in the form of a batik parade on the main street of the city.

    This Batik Day Indonesia activity, which began in 2008, had approximately 250 instant models participating, parading a distance of 4.2 kilometers (about two and a half miles) wearing various batik creations. Batik patterns are not only painted on fabrics, but also on everything from tarps, nets, papers, CDs, plastic glasses, balloons, and chicken feathers. Batik Day celebrated in Indonesia is certainly a colorful and intriguing spectacle!

    4. What Does Batik Mean?

    Do you know the meaning of the word batik?

    The word batik comes from the Javanese word amba, which means “writing,” and titik, which means “dot.” In other words, membatik is writing a series of dots to form a beautiful pattern.

    5. Essential Vocabulary for Batik Day in Indonesia

    Making Something By Hand

    Here’s the vocabulary you’re going to need for Batik Day in Indonesia!

    • Hari Batik — “Batik Day”
    • Kebudayaan — “Culture”
    • Malam — “Wax”
    • Karnaval Batik Solo — “Solo Batik Carnival”
    • Pameran batik — “Batik exhibition”
    • Peragaan busana batik — “Batik fashion show”
    • Lomba membatik — “Batik-making contest”
    • Desain — “Design”
    • Kerajinan — “Handicraft”
    • Canting — “Canting”
    • Batik cap — “Batik cap

    To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, visit our Batik Day vocabulary list. Here, you can find each vocabulary word accompanied by an audio file of its pronunciation, and with a relevant image.

    How IndonesianPod101 Can Teach You About Indonesian Culture

    Isn’t Batik Day a differently fun holiday? Does your country have a holiday celebrating a unique aspect of its culture and heritage? Let us know about it in the comments below; we always look forward to hearing from you!

    To continue learning about Indonesian culture and the language, explore IndonesianPod101.com! We provide an array of fun and effective learning tools for every learner, at every level:

    • Insightful blog posts on an array of cultural and language-related topics
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    • Much, much more!

    If you’re interested in a more one-on-one approach, be sure to upgrade to Premium Plus. Doing so will give you access to your own Indonesian teacher who will help you develop a learning plan tailored to your needs and goals. Yes, really!

    We know that learning Indonesian isn’t always easy, but we believe that your hard work and determination really will pay off in the long run. And IndonesianPod101 will be here with you on your language-learning journey with fantastic lessons and constant support.

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    Indonesian Body Language from Head to Toe

    Thumbnail

    Have you ever seen those articles or vlogs that say things like “10 Things NEVER to do in Indonesia!”

    The ones with a big red X over a surprised-looking foreigner in the thumbnail?

    They kind of scare you, don’t they?

    You might worry that if there are so many things you can’t do in a foreign country, you might have to walk on eggshells to avoid offending people. What if you screw up with your Indonesian body language and make them dislike you?

    Well, that’s well out of the equation.

    Indonesians are extremely forgiving to people who accidentally commit some kind of cultural faux pas.

    And instead of a list of warnings, here’s a guide to the kind of Indonesian body language and body gestures you can expect to see and should take note of to use yourself.

    One quick read-through and you’ll have a great idea of the underlying cultural etiquette that dictates what’s acceptable and what’s a little bit rude.

    Without further ado, IndonesianPod101.com’s guide to body gestures, customs, and etiquette in Indonesia! Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your Indonesian Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

    Table of Contents

    1. Indonesian Body Gestures from Head to Toe
    2. Conclusion

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    1. Indonesian Body Gestures from Head to Toe

    1- Your Head and Face

    Smiling Woman

    1. Hair

    Let’s start with the hair. You’ll quickly notice that a lot of young men take pride in their haircuts—in fact, there seems to be old-fashioned barber shops on every main street.

    This is part of the underlying cultural tendency toward cleanliness that you’ll pick up on. Don’t let your hair get greasy or unkempt, and don’t fiddle with your hair or constantly run your fingers through it.

    It’s also seen as slightly rude to scratch your head in public.

    2. Smiling & Laughing

    Furthermore, Indonesians love to smile. I think the nickname “land of smiles” for Bali exists in several languages.

    These days, however, many Indonesian women will cover their mouths when smiling or laughing. There are two reasons for that. First, it’s still a part of Indonesian culture for women to appear more “refined” or “demure.” This cultural habit is also reinforced and popularized by Japan and Korea, where pop and TV stars will generally do the same thing for the same reason.

    3. Eye Contact in Indonesian Culture

    Eye contact is an important body gesture in Indonesian communication and culture. Avoiding eye contact is a sign of embarrassment, just like it is in the West. However, in period films or TV shows, you’ll notice that everybody seems to be avoiding eye contact. Why is that?

    Traditional Javanese society was heavily stratified socially. It was imperative that one avoided eye contact with one’s superiors, whether that be the patriarch of the family or a village leader.

    It’s not really expected these days, but if you happen to go to a more rural area, it’s polite to avert your gaze if your host is saying something important.

    4. Eating

    Unlike in some neighboring countries, it’s considered rude in Indonesia to eat loudly or talk with your mouth full. You shouldn’t spit on the street either.

    2- Your Hands

    Indonesian Gestures

    1. Right vs. Left Hand

    Knowing when to use your left or right hand is an essential aspect of body gesture in Indonesian culture to understand. The basic rule to remember is that the right hand comes first. This is because, as in many other Islam-influenced countries, the left hand is associated with cleaning the body, and it’s therefore considered rude to offer your unclean left hand to others when giving or receiving things.

    2. Shaking Hands

    One of the most common hand gestures in Indonesian culture is the hand shake. When you greet somebody and shake hands, briefly press your right palm to your heart afterward.

    Although Indonesian culture is strongly influenced by Islam, it’s much more acceptable for men and women to shake hands than it is in some more-conservative Islamic cultures.

    Handshakes, however, tend to be considerably more gentle across the board than they are in the West.

    3. Walking in Front of Someone

    This one of the more interesting body gestures among Indonesian people, though it shouldn’t be totally unfamiliar to you.

    When you walk in front of somebody, you should bend over slightly and extend your right hand down with the palm facing them.

    Think of the gesture associated with “after you” in the West, like when inviting somebody to take a seat or go ahead in line. The only difference is that you do it in motion, holding this gesture constant while you walk.

    4. The Peace Sign

    Korean culture is pretty trendy these days in Indonesia, as I mentioned. What does that have to do with body language? Well, if you find yourself in a group picture, the two-finger peace sign is practically guaranteed to come out.

    3- Your Arms

    Woman with Crossed Arms

    1. Displays of Anger or Frustration

    Indonesians tend to avoid public displays of anger or frustration. Doing things like swinging your arms when you’re impatient or hitting a desk when you’re upset are strongly frowned upon, and it’s very rare to see native Indonesians doing so. You’ll likely be kept waiting quite frequently, to be honest, but simply do as the locals do and sit quietly.

    2. Man-to-Man Physical Affection

    Physical affection between men in the form of handholding or hugging is far more common than it is in the West, though people who have visited other majority-Islam countries won’t be surprised by this.

    It’s not unusual to see a man sitting with his arm around the shoulders of a male friend. However, a hearty slap on the back is frowned upon as too aggressive.

    3. Indicating Where Something is (Nearby)

    There’s a particular way of showing somebody the way toward something that may be unique to Indonesia. You bend over a little, keep your arm bent, and give a thumbs-up, pointing your thumb in the direction that you want the person to go. Interestingly enough, this only tends to apply to short distances.

    If you’re saying that the airport is ten kilometers in such-and-such a direction, go ahead and use the whole hand.

    4. Forehead to Hand of Superior

    Oh, and here’s another one of the unfamiliar body gestures in Indonesian society you may see: When Javanese people greet one another in a formal setting, the person of lower social status is expected to briefly touch their forehead to the back of their superior’s hand.

    In the past, this was a kiss, but these days just touching the forehead is faster and a little more sanitary.

    4- Your Legs and Feet

    Many Pairs of Legs

    1. No Shorts

    Although Indonesian weather can be brutally hot at times, you’ll practically never see locals wearing shorts. From experience, you really can get used to it even if it seems like a nightmare to wear heavy jeans in 35-degree C (95-degree F) weather.

    2. Taking Off Your Shoes

    Many Indonesian houses and guesthouses (known as kos) have beautiful and clean tiled floors. For that reason, there’s usually a small sign at the entrance reading Lepas sepatu! which means “Take off your shoes!” And underneath the sign, there will be a jumbled heap of shoes. Take a look inside, though, at what people are doing.

    It’s part of Muslim culture to wash the feet regularly throughout the day, and thus people often go completely barefoot inside these houses (and even on the street!). It’s quite something to see how fast native Indonesians take off and put on their shoes and sandals—it’s a totally unconscious action.

    In general, you should take off your shoes when they’re going to touch anything that’s not a public floor. That even includes if you need to stand on a chair to reach something in your school or office!

    3. Crossed Legs in Indonesian Language

    There’s no stigma against leg-crossing in Indonesia. Men and women alike cross or uncross their legs as comfort dictates, unlike in some countries where a man crossing his legs is seen as feminine. Women do tend to ride motorcycles sidesaddle, especially if they’re wearing a long dress or robe.

    5- Gestures While Talking

    Business Meeting

    On the whole, there really isn’t any big and notable body language in Indonesians’ talking. There’s nothing like the stereotypical Indian head nod, or the Japanese bow.

    However, if you spend enough time hanging out with Indonesians, you’ll probably notice that you subconsciously pick up a certain way of holding yourself as you speak.

    For example, when you say the phrase Oh, begitu! meaning “Oh, I see!” you’ll tend to raise your head up a little and lean back.

    And when you say Iya, meaning “yes,” you might duck your head forward a bit as if you were nodding and bowing at the same time. Especially if you’re talking to someone who’s a little bit higher up on the respect ladder than you, such as an immigration official or a professor.

    Lastly, it’s fairly rude in most countries to point at someone or shake your finger while talking, but in Indonesia, the raised index finger while speaking means “I have a point to make.” If you use it too much, you’ll come across as a little bit bossy, though it’s fine to use in an animated discussion.

    6- Gestures While Driving

    Woman Leaning Out of Car

    It’s very easy and affordable for foreigners to rent motorbikes in Indonesia. If and when you do so, you should be aware of a couple of common hand signals, because nobody will tell you these when you start driving.

    1. Traffic Directors

    At smaller intersections in smaller cities, volunteers don orange vests, wave their hands, and furiously blow whistles to direct the flow of traffic. Their actual techniques vary from person to person, though you’ll get the idea from watching which drivers are stopped and which are going.

    If you’re first in line, watch for the wheeling arm motion; this means you get to go ahead. A hand held out, palm down, means “stop.” It’s customary to give these folks a small tip if they give you any particular attention, like clearing the way for you to do a U-turn.

    2. On a Motorbike

    Now, when you find yourself riding on the back of a motorbike, you have the unique duty of reinforcing the turn indicator. When your driver wants to make a turn, look around and make eye contact with drivers nearby, and lazily wave your arm in the direction of your intended turn.

    Don’t stick your hand out straight as you would riding a bicycle, but instead keep your arm moving so that the movement catches the eye of other drivers.

    3. Middle Finger

    By the way, there’s another “gesture while driving” that you may have already thought of.

    Most Indonesian drivers aren’t very aggressive, though they do tend to play fast and loose with traffic rules. It’s considered very rude and even strange to actually get angry in public, so flipping someone the bird because of their driving is considered significantly more rude than in many Western countries.

    7- Personal Space in Indonesia

    Woman Sitting Alone

    Depending on where you come from, you may feel either anxious and relaxed reading this: Indonesians deeply respect personal space.

    At offices and banks, people wait in line with a respectable amount of distance between each person. It’s extremely rare for anyone to cut in line, and if you do so, you’ll likely get a polite but firm verbal request to head to the back.

    To get someone’s attention in public, it’s actually pretty rare to reach out and tap them on the shoulder. Sometimes, if it’s really urgent, you may feel a small tug on your shirt, but for the most part, people will just call out to you and wait for you to turn around. Remember, Indonesian culture is patient!


    Conclusion

    An overarching theme of this article is that you’ve really got nothing to worry about. As long as you’re respectful and observant—and after all, what language-lover isn’t?—you’ll handle these cultural footnotes beautifully.

    Simply keep the basics in mind:

    • Respect personal space
    • Use the right hand
    • Be deferential to others in respected societal roles

    The body language will come naturally.

    And when it does, you’ll earn people’s respect. It’ll be a subtle kind of respect, one that doesn’t show up in compliments—how many times have you complimented a foreigner on their body language ability? Rather, this respect means that others will simply enjoy being around you more.

    That kind of cultural competence can’t be taught or really even consciously learned. But when you realize one day that you’re doing things just like locals are, you’ll know you’ve made it. And IndonesianPod101.com will be here with you every step of the way.

    So, readers, are body language cues and etiquette similar in your own country, or very different? Let us know in the comments! Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your Indonesian Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

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    Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a HubSpot certified content strategist, copywriter and polyglot who works with language learning companies. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing & more.

    Celebrating Indonesian Independence Day

    Indonesian Independence Day is the most important holiday in the country, celebrated countrywide and even by Indonesians currently overseas. On Independence Day, Indonesians commemorate the signing and reading of its Declaration of Independence in 1945, freeing it from a long and terrible Dutch colonial period.

    Learn about the history of Indonesian Independence day with IndonesianPod101.com, and make your language-learning that much more meaningful.

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    1. History of Indonesian Independence Day

    Indonesia Independence Day is the celebration of when the country’s Declaration of Independence was signed and read in 1945. This text contains a declaration that the islands in the Archipelago unite into one sovereign country, thus rejecting the Dutch colonization.

    This Dutch colonization was known at the time as The Dutch East Indies, and it was founded in the early 1800s (though the Dutch actually had influence on what is now Indonesia since about the year 1600).

    While this colonization did have a few positive effects on the Indonesian people, such as allowing them to gain market insight, giving them the opportunity to learn a foreign language, and introducing them to new technologies, the overall experience was negative. Indonesians were forced into labor, given poor wages, and many even starved to death. This led to the development of the Indonesian Declaration of Independence, which finally separated Indonesia from its Dutch colonialism.

    2. When is Independence Day in Indonesia?

    Indonesian Flag

    The Independence Day of the Republic of Indonesia falls on August 17, the day when Soekarno and Hatta signed and read the Declaration of Independence in 1945.

    3. Indonesian Independence Day Celebrations

    Having a Sack Race

    Independence Day is usually filled with traditional game competitions in villages and cities across the whole archipelago. These activities are meant to establish unity and foster kinship.

    The most popular game is panjat pinang (climbing the slippery pole). People jostle to climb the pole, which has been smeared with lubricant, to reach the presents at the top. This game invites laughter, because the participants usually slip and fall onto the participants below.

    Similar to panjat pinang, people in Pekalongan, Central Java, have a tradition of not climbing the pole, but walking on it. This tradition is called meniti pucang (walking on pucang or pinang). The pole is positioned horizontally on the river, and the participant who walks on it the longest wins. In this case, the losing participants fall into the river.

    Banjar has yet another different tradition. For generations, the residents have upheld the ngubyag balong tradition of catching fish in a pond. Equipped with nets, baskets, and sacks, hundreds of residents get ready to go into the pool. Before the fishing begins, residents and local public figures hold a prayer for the goodness of the Indonesian nation. After that, they go into the pool and scramble to catch the quintal (100 kilograms or about 220 pounds) of free fish in it.

    As expects, Indonesians show their pride and love for their country by hoisting the Indonesian flag. And celebrations aren’t limited to those living in Indonesia—Indonesians who are currently overseas can celebrate their country by visiting their embassies around the world.

    4. What Else is Indonesia Independence Day Called?

    Indonesians have two other popular names for their Independence Day: 17 Agustusan (referring to the holiday’s August 17 date) and Tujuhbelasan, which refers to all activities held in the spirit of celebrating Independence Day.

    5. Useful Vocabulary for Indonesian Independence Day

    Tumpeng Dish

    Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Indonesian Independence Day!

    • Televisi — “Television”
    • Hari Proklamasi Kemerdekaan R.I. — “Independence Day”
    • Kembang api — “Firework”
    • Nasi Tumpeng — “Tumpeng”
    • Tarik tambang — “Tug of war”
    • Bendera merah putih — “The red-and-white flag”
    • Lomba panjat pinang — “The pole climbing contest”
    • Lomba balap karung — “Sack race”
    • Lomba makan kerupuk — “Krupuk race-eating contest”
    • Upacara bendera — “Flag-raising ceremony”
    • Hormat! — “Salute!”

    To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, check out our Indonesian Independence Day vocabulary list!

    Conclusion: How IndonesianPod101 Can Help You Master Indonesian

    We hope you enjoyed learning about Indonesian Independence Day with us, and that you took away something valuable from this lesson. When did Indonesia gain independence, and who did Indonesia gain independence from? Let us know in the comments, and while you’re at it, tell us a little about your own country’s Independence or National day!

    To continue learning about Indonesian culture and the language, explore IndonesianPod101.com and take advantage of our multiple learning tools. There’s something for every type of learner:

    If you prefer a one-on-one learning approach, or want to give it a try, be sure to upgrade to Premium Plus. In so doing, you’ll gain access to your own personal Indonesian teacher as well as a personalized learning plan based on your needs and goals.

    Whatever your reason for learning Indonesian, know that your hard work will pay off! And IndonesianPod101 will be here with you on each step of your journey to Indonesian mastery.

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    Indonesian Texting Slang: Indonesian Love SMS & More

    It’s the goal of many language learners when they finally get to travel to a foreign country:

    “I’m going to immerse myself in the culture and have tons of local friends. I’ll only speak the local language, and I won’t use English at all!”

    Turns out it’s not the easiest goal to achieve.

    Once you start interacting directly with native Indonesian speakers, at some point you’re going to incur different expressions that your average dictionary won’t know the meaning of: Indonesian slang.

    Enter 21st century SMS slang, from Indonesian love SMS and beyond!

    The cool thing is, the more fluent you become with Indonesia internet slang and other texting slang, the more like a native you’ll feel and the more integrated you’ll be.

    Later, as you make local friends, you’ll be continuously exposed to Indonesia texting slang. Within a short period of time, you’ll be capable of easily reading and writing it as well as you could formal Indonesian.

    In order to save you months of learning this slowly by trial and error, here’s a handy guide to everything you could ever ask about the special language of Indonesian internet slang! From the question, “What does slang mean in Indonesian?” to internet slang words to learn Bahasa Indonesian. Let’s get started!

    Table of Contents

    1. The Way Texting Works in Indonesia
    2. Haha and Other Casual Written Words
    3. Pronouns
    4. 23 Abbreviations You’ve Got to Know
    5. Conclusion

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    1. The Way Texting Works in Indonesia

    Someone Using Cell Phone

    As in a few other Asian countries, it’s not uncommon for people in Indonesia to carry two phones around.

    In general, one of them is used for phone calls and one is used for texting and web browsing—which is often one and the same thanks to the prevalence of WhatsApp.

    Prepaid SIM cards—called kartu ponsel in Indonesian, as the acronym SIM means “drivers’ license”—are often sold cheaply all over the place with a set quota of texts and data, as well as a time limit.

    After a couple of months, your kuota (”data allowance” ) is habis (”empty” ) or the time limit is up and you’ve got to isi pulsa (”top it up” ) or buy a new card if you want to use data or send texts.

    All this is to say that even though WhatsApp is incredibly popular, SMS messages are still often used. For instance, customer support hotlines often work via SMS, and when you order delivery or a taxi by app, the driver will often communicate with you by text.

    And whether it’s your driver saying “I’m outside” or a pizza parlor sending you a promo for the third time this week, these SMS messages are real Indonesian, with all the slang and shortcuts that implies.


    2. Haha and Other Casual Written Words

    The first thing you’ve got to know about informal Indonesian texting is that you’re probably not going to catch a lot of it at first.

    Someone who’s just texting with you, a foreigner, is likely to use abbreviations sparingly, or at least only use the ones that (in their opinion) are obvious.

    You may not agree with their judgment, so let’s have a look at some examples of Indonesian slang in internet chatting or SMS. These are some of the most common Indonesian text slang in internet chatting.

    1- Wkwkwk

    As Russians have хахахаха and Thais have 55555, wkwkwk is the way Indonesians express the sound of laughter, or LOL.

    It actually came from online game communities in the early 2000s, where haha became huehue, and then moved past wewe to land on wkwk (as you can type more efficiently with two hands). Since then, it’s remained one of most popular Indonesian slang words.

    Pro tip: This is actually pronounced weka-weka as if you were reading out the letters, so don’t try to pronounce it while skipping the vowels!

    2- -in

    Normally, you can add the suffix -kan to the end of a word to make it a request or an order.

    • Matikan lampu!
      “Turn off the light!”

    In informal Indonesian, this same particle is replaced with -in.

    Messy Bedroom

    3- gedé

    This is just one of many Javanese words that enters casual Indonesian speech (in Java, naturally), but it may be the most common. The Javanese word is traditionally spelled gedhe in the Latin alphabet, and it simply means “big.” Therefore, you can read gede as an informal synonym for besar (also meaning “big”).

    Remember that the accented é is never written outside of texts for learners.

    • Motor terlalu gede!
      “The motorbike is too big!”


    3. Pronouns

    Indonesian has got a lot of pronouns. Some are used in a respectful way, and so they don’t often get abbreviated. As a foreigner, you may often be addressed as Anda (the formal word for “you̶ ;) in text communication; this seems almost rude to abbreviate at all.

    However, other levels of familiarity often get short texting forms for Indonesian slang in internet or text message settings (including Bahasa Indonesian internet slang).

    • sy/kmsaya/kamu

    This is probably the default pronoun scheme for people that don’t want to sound overly familiar or overly formal. It’s also very common to pair aku and kamu for “I” and “you” respectively, with saku shortened to aq.

    • gw/lugua/lu

    These words most often show up in the texts of Jakarta natives, or people that are adopting Jakarta slang to sound more cosmopolitan. You’ll see them written pretty commonly on Internet blogs and comments, as well as in text messages.

    Knowing when to use which pronouns is beyond the scope of this article, but you can actually get pretty far without using any pronouns at all. The context of what you’re saying is usually enough to give you time for the other person to start using pronouns, and then you can just follow their lead.


    4. 23 Abbreviations You’ve Got to Know

    I searched through hundreds of text messages and internet comments to find the most important and most frequently used abbreviations in real-life Indonesian.

    Abbreviations and shortenings are so common because Indonesian can usually be understood without the full set of grammatical prefixes and suffixes. When the meanings get more complex, the affixes come out and the words get longer.

    The actual shortening takes place by removing most or all of the vowels. When this happens with longer words like trimaksh, it’s often not too hard to guess what it might mean—in this case, terima kasih or “thank you.”

    Here are some more Indonesian words in internet chatting that might take a little guesswork:

    1- gpp – gak apa-apa

    Gak is here another abbreviation of nggak, meaning the same thing as tidak (”no”). apa-apa means “anything” and so the sentence as a whole means “It’s nothing.”

    • Oh begitu, gpp.
      “Oh, I see, it’s nothing.”

    2- dgn – dengan

    Dengan is one of the most common words in Indonesian, and therefore is abbreviated often. (If these words weren’t common enough to be guessable from context, they wouldn’t be abbreviated.)

    Interestingly, you can add -mu, -ku, and -nya to dengan to express “with you,” “with me,” “with them/it” respectively, but it’s extremely rare to see the short form take the suffixes.

    Couple at Movie Theater

    3- blm/sdh– belum/sudah

    Belum simply means “Not yet.” Use it anytime something expected simply hasn’t yet occurred. Sudah is the opposite, meaning “already.” In a conversation, you don’t need to repeat the verb when you say sudah—the meaning is clear from context.

    • A: Kok blm sampai?
      B: Sdh.

      A: “Hey, you haven’t arrived yet?”
      B: “Yes I have.”

    4- dr – dari

    Dari is a very handy preposition meaning “from.”

    • Saya berangkat dr pintu depan.
      “I’m leaving from the front door.”

    5- d – di

    You may think this is self-explanatory, and perhaps it is in these examples. But the location particle di, meaning “at,” is easy to miss in a stream of shortened words, when half of your text is single letters.

    6- yg – yang

    The word yang is very tricky to explain for speakers of many languages, but fortunately not English! It’s a relative pronoun, translating very well to “that,” “which,” and “who” all at once.

    • Orang yg belum datang di mana?
      “Where is the person who hasn’t arrived yet?”

    7- dpn – depan

    Depan can mean “front,” like the front of a store, and it can also mean “ahead,” as in “the year ahead.” In fact, that’s how you say “next year” in Indonesian: tahun depan. Remember that when it’s being used as a location, you have to include di (”at”).

    • Kotaknya di dpn bukan?
      “Is the box out front or not?”

    8- dlm – dalam

    Another preposition, dalam means “inside.” You can use it pretty much any time you’d say inside in English, and even a bit more often. For instance, it’s normal to say dalam maknanya, literally “inside the meaning,” to describe the content of a speech or argument.

    • A: Di mana sepatu?
      B: Dlm tas.

      A: “Where are the shoes?”
      B: “In the bag.”

    9- krn – karena

    Karena is one of those wonderful Indonesian words that translates perfectly into English almost every time. It means “because.”

    • Aku terlambat krn macet.
      “I was late because of traffic.”

    Traffic Jam

    10- tdk – tidak

    Indonesian has two ways to say “not.” Bukan is used for saying that something “is not [a noun]” while tidak is used to say that something “is not [an adjective].”

    • Sekarang tdk terlalu lambat.
      “Now isn’t too late.”

    11- utk – untuk

    Untuk means “for,” but it’s a little bit harder to translate than that. It can also mean “in order to,” and in fact, that may be the more common usage.

    • Saya akan pergi ke Indomaret utk beli tisu.
      “I’m going to go to Indomaret to buy tissues.”

    12- lsg – langsung

    This word is practically indispensable when you want to cut straight to the point. It literally means “immediately,” but thanks to the flexibility of the Indonesian language, it can also mean “right away” or “very soon.”

    • Saya akan lsg ke sana.
      “I’ll be right there.”

    13- lg – lagi

    Lagi means “more” or “again” as in, “We’ll meet again,” or “once more.”

    14- pny – punya

    Punya means “to have,” and occasionally it can also be used in the sense of “belonging to someone.” If you look at the word order alone, you might think it’s backwards, but you just have to think of it as a preposition instead of a verb in that case.

    • Ini pny Dilan.
      “This is Dilan’s.”

    15- hub – hubungan

    Here’s an interesting outlier. Most likely, you won’t find much opportunity to use this word in a chat, but hubungan, which means “connection” or “contact” gets used all the time in advertisements—especially the ones that get automatically sent to your phone from your service provider!

    • BELI SATU DAPAT DUA: HUB 123-456789
      “BUY ONE GET TWO: CONTACT 123-456789″

    16- bgt – banget

    To round out this list, banget is a wonderfully expressive word and just plain fun to say. It’s an intensifier, like “very,” but is placed after the word it modifies.

    It actually comes from Javanese, so if you’re chatting with people from way across the country, they’ll understand but probably won’t use it themselves.

    • Makanan Korea itu pedas bgt!
      “That Korean food is super spicy!”


    Conclusion

    Learning the formal version of a language can be challenging enough in its own right. When you add slang into the mix, it can seem impossible to ever reach a high level.

    Truly, though, the only thing it takes is time.

    The more you read real written Indonesian at all levels of formality—from newspaper articles to online columns to personal blogs to YouTube comments—the easier it will get.

    And Indonesians are always very welcoming to foreigners who make an effort to use their language, perhaps even more so if the foreigner in question is jumping into the deep end by parsing sentences with short words and few vowels.

    It’s advice for all kinds of language learning, really. Get a lot of experience understanding the language and pay attention to how it’s used, and you’re pretty much guaranteed success. And it won’t be long until you can boast that you’ve learned Bahasa Indonesian internet slang words (and more than prove yourself!).

    By the way, let us know in the comments which of these Indonesian text slangs you plan on practicing first! Which ones are most valuable to you?

    Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a HubSpot certified content strategist, copywriter and polyglot who works with language learning companies. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing & more.

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