Dialogue - Indonesian



nama name
saya I, me
Anda you (formal)
orang person
bukan “not” (only for negating nouns)

Lesson Notes



The Focus of This Lesson is Talking about Nationality
Orang Indonesia?
"Are you Indonesian?"

The response to Siapa nama Anda ("What's your name?") is Nama saya ______ ("My name is ______"). The possessor always comes after the possessed thing, unlike in English.

The word orang, which means "person," is extremely useful for expressing one's nationality. We use this in conjunction with the names of countries in Indonesian. Some of the more common ones are Amerika ("America" or "the US,") Indonesia ("Indonesia"), Jepang ("Japan"), and Cina ("China").

Cultural Insights

Indonesian Greetings

Indonesians value someone who is aware of cultural protocols, especially upon introducing oneself. After someone is introduced, s/he traditionally shakes hands—with a rather soft touch—with the other people in the party. If a man meets a Muslim woman, it is considered gauche for him to grab her hand for a handshake. Instead, she should initiate. If she does not, the man can acknowledge her by bowing his head slightly. The woman should respond in kind. The other pervasive convention with handshaking happens immediately after the handshake: many people put their right hand over the heart to fully accept your good wishes.

Lesson Transcript

Jason: Hi everyone, Jason here! Absolute Beginner Season 1, Lesson 1 - Are you Indonesian?
Fira: Halo.! I'm Fira, and welcome to IndonesianPOD101.com.
Jason: With us, you'll learn to speak Indonesian with fun and effective lessons.
Fira: We also provide you with cultural insights...
Jason:...and tips you won't find in a textbook. In this lesson, you’ll learn about how to say your name in Indonesian, and how to tell your nationality to someone else.
Fira: This conversation takes place at a coffee shop. Edi and Tuti are friends, but not close friends. So they will be speaking informal Indonesian.
Jason: Okay. Let's listen to the conversation.
Jason: So, this seems like a good way to start off our series. And don’t forget – it’s also a good way to introduce yourself in an informal conversation in Indonesian.
Fira: And it’s a good way to say where you are from.
Jason: So Fira, what do Indonesian people do after introducing themselves?
Fira: Well, they usually shake hands – the right hand only. Also please make sure you hold people’s hands lightly.
Jason: Yes, don’t grip them tightly – this is seen as overly aggressive and hostile. Also, if you’re a man and are meeting a woman for the first time, it’s best to let her extend her hand first.
Fira: One other thing – the word “mas” that Tuti uses before Edi’s name literally means “older brother”. But it doesn't mean that Tuti and Edi are related, right?
Jason: Right. This is just a common way to show respect to the addressee, depending on his or her age and social status.
Fira: For example, mas is used with young men or young-looking men, especially when they are not married.
Jason: Okay, on to the vocab.
Jason: Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Fira: The first words are 'hai' and 'halo' which mean 'Hello' in Indonesian.
Jason: Yes. As you can see, both of these words are borrowed from English.
Fira: They’re from English, but Indonesian people use these greetings very often today, even if they aren't completely “pure” Indonesian. Okay, then let’s talk about the word ‘hai’.
Jason: This is something that you would say to someone who is approaching you, right?
Fira: That’s correct. It’s also used to call someone’s attention – if they’re looking in your direction.
Jason: And anyone can say this?
Fira: Yes, that’s right. And we also have ‘halo’. It’s much like ‘hai’, you can use this to call anyone’s attention.
Jason: In addition, you may use it over the phone, right?
Fira: Using ‘hai’ over the phone is not so common – in fact, it sounds rather odd.
Jason: That’s good to know. Okay, now on to the grammar.
Jason: In this lesson, we're going to learn how to ask someone’s name and nationality.
Fira: Now, let’s start with this phrase. “siapa nama Anda?” This is the most basic way of asking “what’s your name?”.
Jason: The literal translation of this sentence is interesting. "siapa" means ‘who’, "nama" means ‘name’, and "Anda" is one of the ways of saying “you”.
Fira: Oh, so literally, you’re saying “who is your name?.
Jason: That’s correct. It might sound rather strange in English, but in Indonesian, that’s how you ask “what is your name”.
Fira: Listeners, repeat after me: “siapa nama Anda?”
Jason:“What’s your name?”. Okay, then what about asking someone’s nationality? How do you say that?
Fira: You say the word “orang”, which means ‘human’, and then you follow that with the name of a nationality.
Jason: So how do we ask, “Are you American?”
Fira: Orang Amerika? First, say "Orang", then say ‘Amerika’ meaning ‘American’
Jason: OK. How about “Are you Indonesian?”
Fira: Orang Indonesia?
Jason: Alright. Now here’s a slightly more difficult one. How about “Are you French?”
Fira: Orang Perancis? Ah, I see what you’re trying to get at.
Jason: Yeah, the word for “French” – or “France”. So Fira, how do you answer this question? For example, how do you say ‘I’m American?’
Fira: Saya orang Amerika. You can say “Saya Orang” then the country name.
Jason: How about “I’m Indonesian?
Fira: Saya orang Indonesia. //
Jason:What about when someone asks your name? For example, if your name is Fira, how do you say ‘I’m Fira’?
Fira: Nama saya Fira. (Slow) Nama saya Fira. It’s pretty simple, right?
Jason: Good! One more thing I've noticed is that there’s this word "saya" in these responses. What does this mean?
Fira: It’s a polite way of saying “I” or “me”.
Jason: In Indonesian, there are several ways to say “I” or “me”, but many of them have limited uses. So, for right now, you’re safe with using "saya".
Fira: So listeners, don’t forget to check our lesson notes to learn more phrases.


Jason: Okay, that’s it for this lesson.
Fira: See you next time!