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Lesson Transcript

Fira: Hi everyone, I’m Fira.
Gina: And I’m Gina. Hello and welcome back to IndonesianPod101.com. This is All-About, Lesson 5, Top Five Must-Know Phrases for Learning Indonesian. In this lesson, we’ll introduce you to five phrases that will help you with everyday conversations!
Fira: Yes, words that you’ll be really glad you learned. We’ll teach you not only the phrases but more importantly, when and where to use them.

Lesson focus

Gina: Okay. Let’s listen to the first phrase.
Fira: Permisi. [slowly] Per-mi-si. Permisi.
Gina: This means “I’m sorry” or “Excuse me”. You can use the phrase when you make mistakes, or when you want to get past someone in a crowded place.
Fira: You can also use permisi to get someone’s attention, like a waiter in a restaurant, a shop clerk, or a stranger on the street.
Gina: Okay. Let’s listen to the next phrase.
Fira: Silahkan. [slowly] Si-lah-kan. Silahkan.
Gina: This means “please” in English. You can use it when you’re offering something to someone.
Fira: That’s right. When offering something to your friends like gifts from your home country, you can say silahkan.
Gina: You can also use this word when doing something for someone, like opening the door for them. Okay. Let’s listen to the next phrase.
Fira: Tolong. [slowly] To-long. Tolong.
Gina: This means “Help”, and it can be used in a couple of ways.
Fira: Let’s start with its original meaning, which is “Help!” This is normally shouted in urgent situations.
Gina: When you urgently need help, you can shout this word to get the attention of people nearby.
Fira: The other way you can use tolong is when you ask someone for a favor.
Gina: In this case, it would be the equivalent of “please” in English.
Fira: That’s right. When you get more into business Indonesian, you’ll find that it’s used more to ask for favors or to make requests of people.
Gina: Great! What’s the next phrase?
Fira: Sudah. [slowly] Su-dah. Sudah.
Gina: “Already”. As we’ve learned in the previous lesson, there is no past tense verb in Indonesian.
Fira: So, this word is especially useful and people often use it when talking about something that happened in the past.
Gina: Could you give us an example?
Fira: Sure. Saya sudah makan. Here, Saya means “I”, sudah means “already”, and makan means “to eat”. So the sentence literally means “I already eat”.
Gina: But of course, since the word for “already” indicates the past, this sentence can be translated as “I already ate.” Something that I find interesting though, Fira, is that I often hear Indonesian people responding to a question using only the word for “already”.
Fira: Ah, yes. When you ask someone if they did something, you can simply say sudah to mean “I did.”
Gina: That’s nice and simple! What’s another example?
Fira: Well, if someone asks you Kamu sudah makan?...
Gina: “Have you eaten?”
Fira: ...you can say Sudah.
Gina: “Yes, I did.” This is a very useful phrase in Indonesian. Sometimes people will offer you more food than you can eat, or go above and beyond to make you comfortable during your visit. So you can simply and politely decline their offer with this one word. Okay, what’s next?
Fira: Next, we have a very short word. Iya. [slowly] I-ya. Iya.
Gina: It means “yes” or “right”. That’s the shortest phrase of them all!
Fira: Iya!
Gina: Haha! So basically you can use this word to agree with something, as well as to say “yes”?
Fira: Right! And there’s more! Indonesian people might also say iya to mean “I’m listening”.
Gina: Do you mean in the same way English speakers might say, “I see” when listening to the other speak?
Fira: Yes, exactly!
Gina: I think in business situations, this could cause some misunderstandings!
Fira: It is confusing, isn’t it? Which brings us to another use of the word iya; you can use it to mean “Excuse me?” when spoken with rising intonation like this: Iya? This means "Excuse me?" or "Pardon me?" and you can use it to clear up your misunderstandings!
Gina: That’s great! Okay, so that’s our top five must-know phrases in Indonesian. Let’s recap before we go. What did we study?
Fira: Permisi
Gina: "Excuse me" or "Pardon me"
Fira: Silahkan
Gina: “Please” when giving a favour
Fira: Tolong
Gina: “Please” when asking a favour
Fira: Sudah
Gina: “Already”
Fira: Iya
Gina: “Yes”
Gina: Knowing these words will take you a long way, so don’t forget them!


Gina: That’s does it!
Fira: See you next time. Sampai jumpa lagi