Indonesian language

Indonesian language

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Indonesian is the official language of Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

. Indonesian is a normative form
Standard language
A standard language is a language variety used by a group of people in their public discourse. Alternatively, varieties become standard by undergoing a process of standardization, during which it is organized for description in grammars and dictionaries and encoded in such reference works...

 of the Riau Islands dialect of Malay
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

, an Austronesian
Austronesian languages
The Austronesian languages are a language family widely dispersed throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with a few members spoken on continental Asia that are spoken by about 386 million people. It is on par with Indo-European, Niger-Congo, Afroasiatic and Uralic as one of the...

 language which has been used as a lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

 in the Indonesian archipelago for centuries.

Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation in the world. Of its large population the number of people who fluently speak Indonesian is fast approaching 100%, thus making Indonesian one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.

Most Indonesians, aside from speaking the national language, are often fluent in another regional language
Languages of Indonesia
More than 700 living languages are spoken in Indonesia. Most belong to the Austronesian language family, with a few Papuan languages also spoken. The official language is Indonesian , a modified version of Malay, which is used in commerce, administration, education and the media, but most...

 (examples include Javanese
Javanese language
Javanese language is the language of the Javanese people from the central and eastern parts of the island of Java, in Indonesia. In addition, there are also some pockets of Javanese speakers in the northern coast of western Java...

, Minangkabau
Minangkabau language
The Minangkabau language is an Austronesian language, spoken by the Minangkabau of West Sumatra, the western part of Riau, South Aceh Regency, the northern part of Bengkulu and Jambi, also in several cities throughout Indonesia by migrated Minangkabau, who often trade or have a restaurant...

 and Sundanese
Sundanese language
Sundanese is the language of about 27 million people from the western third of Java or about 15% of the Indonesian population....

) which are commonly used at home and within the local community. Most formal education, as well as nearly all national media and other forms of communication, are conducted in Indonesian. In East Timor
East Timor
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, commonly known as East Timor , is a state in Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island, within Indonesian West Timor...

, which was an Indonesian province from 1975 to 1999, Indonesian is recognised by the constitution as one of the two working languages (the other is English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, alongside the official languages of Tetum
Tetum language
Tetum is an Austronesian language, a national language and one of the two official languages of East Timor. It is also used in parts of West Timor that adjoin East Timor, particularly in Belu Regency...

 and Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

).

The Indonesian name for the language is Bahasa Indonesia (literally "the language of Indonesia"). This term can sometimes still be found in written or spoken English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

. In addition, the language is sometimes referred to as "Bahasa" by English speakers, though this simply means "language" and thus does not technically specify the Indonesian language.

History


Indonesian is a normative form of the Riau dialect of the Malay language
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

, an Austronesian
Austronesian languages
The Austronesian languages are a language family widely dispersed throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with a few members spoken on continental Asia that are spoken by about 386 million people. It is on par with Indo-European, Niger-Congo, Afroasiatic and Uralic as one of the...

 (and Malayo-Polynesian) language originally spoken in Northeast Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

 which has been used as a lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

 in the Indonesian archipelago for half a millennium. It was elevated to the status of official language with the Indonesian declaration of independence in 1945, drawing inspiration from the Sumpah Pemuda
Sumpah Pemuda
The Youth Pledge , was a declaration made on 28 October 1928 by young Indonesian nationalists at a conference in the then-Dutch East Indies. They proclaimed three ideals, one motherland, one nation and one language.-Background:...

 (Youth's Oath) event in 1928. Indonesian (in its most standard form) is largely mutually intelligible with the official Malaysian form of Malay. However, it does differ
Differences between Malay and Indonesian
The differences between Malaysian or Malay and Indonesian are significantly greater than those between British English and American English...

 from Malaysian in several aspects, with differences in pronunciation and vocabulary. These differences are mainly due to the Dutch and Javanese influences on Indonesian. Indonesian was also influenced by the "bazaar Malay" that was the lingua franca of the archipelago in colonial times, and thus indirectly by the other spoken languages of the islands: Malaysian Malay claims to be closer to the literary Malay of earlier centuries even though modern Malay has been heavily influenced, in lexicon as well as in syntax, by English.

Whilst Indonesian is spoken as a mother tongue by only a small proportion of Indonesia's large population (i.e. mainly those who reside within the vicinity of Jakarta
Jakarta
Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. Officially known as the Special Capital Territory of Jakarta, it is located on the northwest coast of Java, has an area of , and a population of 9,580,000. Jakarta is the country's economic, cultural and political centre...

 and other large predominantly Indonesian-speaking cities such as Medan
Medan
- Demography :The city is Indonesia's fourth most populous after Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bandung, and Indonesia's largest city outside of Java island. Much of the population lies outside its city limits, especially in Deli Serdang....

), over 200 million people regularly make use of the national language – some with varying degrees of proficiency. In a nation which boasts more than 300 native languages and a vast array of ethnic groups, it plays an important unifying and cross-archipelagic role for the country. Use of the national language is abundant in the media, government bodies, schools, universities, workplaces, amongst members of the Indonesian upper-class or nobility and also in many other formal situations.

Standard and formal Indonesian is used in books and newspapers and on television/radio news broadcasts; however, few native Indonesian speakers use the formal language in their daily conversations. While this is a phenomenon common to most languages in the world (for example, spoken English does not always correspond to written standards), the degree of "correctness" of spoken Indonesian (in terms of grammar and vocabulary) by comparison to its written form is noticeably low. This is mostly due to Indonesians combining aspects of their own local languages (e.g., Javanese
Javanese language
Javanese language is the language of the Javanese people from the central and eastern parts of the island of Java, in Indonesia. In addition, there are also some pockets of Javanese speakers in the northern coast of western Java...

, Sundanese
Sundanese language
Sundanese is the language of about 27 million people from the western third of Java or about 15% of the Indonesian population....

, Balinese
Balinese language
Balinese or simply Bali is a Malayo-Polynesian language spoken by 3.3 million people on the Indonesian island of Bali, as well as northern Nusa Penida, western Lombok and eastern Java...

, and Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

 dialects) with Indonesian. This results in various 'regional' Indonesian dialects, the very types that a foreigner is most likely to hear upon arriving in any Indonesian city or town. This phenomenon is amplified by the use of Indonesian slang, particularly in the cities.

Geographic distribution


The language is spoken throughout Indonesia (and East Timor
East Timor
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, commonly known as East Timor , is a state in Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island, within Indonesian West Timor...

), although it is used most extensively as a first language in urban areas and usually as a second or third language in more rural parts of Indonesia. It is also spoken by an additional 1.5+ million people worldwide, particularly in the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, Suriname
Suriname
Suriname , officially the Republic of Suriname , is a country in northern South America. It borders French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west, Brazil to the south, and on the north by the Atlantic Ocean. Suriname was a former colony of the British and of the Dutch, and was previously known as...

, East Timor
East Timor
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, commonly known as East Timor , is a state in Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island, within Indonesian West Timor...

, the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, New Caledonia
New Caledonia
New Caledonia is a special collectivity of France located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, east of Australia and about from Metropolitan France. The archipelago, part of the Melanesia subregion, includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Isle of...

, and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

Writing system


Indonesian is written with the Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

. Consonants are represented in a way similar to Italian, although ⟨c⟩ is always /tʃ/ (like English ⟨ch⟩), ⟨g⟩ is always /ɡ/ ("hard") and ⟨j⟩ represents /dʒ/ as it does in English. In addition, ⟨ny⟩ represents the palatal nasal
Palatal nasal
The palatal nasal is a type of consonant, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , a lowercase letter n with a leftward-pointing tail protruding from the bottom of the left stem of the letter. The equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is J...

 /ɲ/, ⟨ng⟩ is used for the velar nasal
Velar nasal
The velar nasal is the sound of ng in English sing. It is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is N....

 /ŋ/ (which can occur word-initially), ⟨sy⟩ for /ʃ/ (English ⟨sh⟩) and ⟨kh⟩ for the voiceless velar fricative
Voiceless velar fricative
The voiceless velar fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The sound was part of the consonant inventory of Old English and can still be found in some dialects of English, most notably in Scottish English....

 /x/. Both /e/ and /ə/ are represented with ⟨e⟩.

It is important to note the spelling changes in the language that have occurred since Indonesian independence. The changes include:
Old
spelling
New
spelling
oe u
tj c
dj j
j y
nj ny
sj sy
ch kh

The first of these changes (⟨oe⟩ to ⟨u⟩) occurred around the time of independence in 1947; all of the others were a part of the Perfected Spelling System
Perfected Spelling System
The Perfected Spelling System is the latest Indonesian spelling system which was released in 1972 to replace the Soewandi Spelling System.-Soewandi to EYD letter changes:-Foreign Loan Letters:...

, an officially-mandated spelling reform
Spelling reform
Many languages have undergone spelling reform, where a deliberate, often officially sanctioned or mandated, change to spelling takes place. Proposals for such reform are also common....

 in 1972. Some of the old spellings (which were derived from Dutch orthography
Dutch orthography
Dutch orthography uses the Latin alphabet according to a system which has evolved to suit the needs of the Dutch language. The regular relationship of graphemes to phonemes is listed in the article on Dutch language...

) do survive in proper names; for example, the name of a former president of the Indonesia is still sometimes written Soeharto, and the central Java city of Yogyakarta
Yogyakarta (city)
Yogyakarta is a city in the Yogyakarta Special Region, Indonesia. It is renowned as a centre of classical Javanese fine art and culture such as batik, ballet, drama, music, poetry, and puppet shows. Yogyakarta was the Indonesian capital during the Indonesian National Revolution from 1945 to...

 is sometimes written Jogjakarta.

Vocabulary


The Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 colonisation left an imprint on the Indonesian language that can be seen in words such as polisi (from politie = police), kualitas (from kwaliteit = quality), wortel (from wortel = carrot), kamar (from kamer = room, chamber), rokok (from roken = smoking cigarettes), korupsi (from corruptie = corruption), persneling (from versnelling = gear), kantor (from kantoor = office), resleting (from ritssluiting = zipper), kelas (from klas = class), and gratis (from gratis = free).

Alongside Malay
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

, Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 was the lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

 for trade throughout the archipelago from the sixteenth century through to the early nineteenth century. Indonesian words derived from Portuguese include sabun (from sabão = soap), meja (from mesa = table), boneka (from boneca = doll), jendela (from janela = window), gereja (from igreja = church), bola (from bola = ball), bendera (from bandeira = flag), roda (from roda = wheel), gagu (from gago = stutterer), sepatu (from sapato = shoes), kereta (from carreta = wagon), bangku (from banco = chair), keju (from queijo = cheese), garpu (from garfo = fork), terigu (from trigo = flour), mentega (from manteiga = butter), and Minggu (from domingo = Sunday).

Some of the many words of Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

 origin (presented here with accompanying Hokkien/ Mandarin pronunciation derivatives as well as traditional and simplified characters) include pisau (匕首 bǐshǒu – knife), loteng, (楼/层 = lóu/céng – [upper] floor/ level), mie (麵 > 面 Hokkien mī – noodles), lumpia
Lumpia
Lumpia are pastries of Chinese origin similar to fresh popiah or fried spring rolls popular in Southeast Asia. The term lumpia derives from Hokkien lunpia , which is an alternate term for popiah...

 (潤餅 (Hokkien = lūn-piáⁿ) – springroll), cawan, (茶碗 cháwǎn – teacup), teko (茶壺 > 茶壶 = cháhú [Mandarin], teh-ko [Hokkien] = teapot), 苦力 kuli = 苦 khu (bitter) and 力 li (energy) and even the widely used slang terms gua and lu (from the Hokkien 'goa' 我 and 'lu/li' 你 – meaning 'I/ me' and 'you'). From Sanskrit came words such as भाषा bahasa (language), कच kaca (glass, mirror), राज raja (king), मणुष्य manusia (mankind), भुमी bumi (earth/ world) and अगम agama (religion). Words of Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 origin include dunia (from Arabic دنيا dun-ya = the present world, as opposed to the after-life world), Sabtu (from Arabic السبت as-Sabt = Saturday), kabar (خبر = news), selamat/ salam (سلام salam = a greeting), senin (الإثنين al-Itnain = Monday), selasa (الثلاثاء at-Tulata = Tuesday), jumat (الجمعة al-Jum'at = Friday), ijazah (عجازة 'ijazah = diploma), hadiah (هدية hadiyyah = gift/present), mungkin (from ممكين mumkin = perhaps), maklum (معلوم ma'lum = understood), kitab (كتاب kitab = book), tertib (ترتيب tartib = orderly) and kamus (قاموس qamus = dictionary). There are also words derived from Javanese
Javanese language
Javanese language is the language of the Javanese people from the central and eastern parts of the island of Java, in Indonesia. In addition, there are also some pockets of Javanese speakers in the northern coast of western Java...

, e.g. aku (meaning I/ me (informal) and its derivative form, mengaku (to admit or confess).
Indonesian as a modern dialect of Malay has borrowed heavily from many languages, including: Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

, Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

, Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

, Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

, Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

, Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

 and many other languages, including other Austronesian languages
Austronesian languages
The Austronesian languages are a language family widely dispersed throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with a few members spoken on continental Asia that are spoken by about 386 million people. It is on par with Indo-European, Niger-Congo, Afroasiatic and Uralic as one of the...

. It is estimated that there are some 750 Sanskrit loanwords in modern Indonesian, 1,000 Arabic loans, some of Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 and Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 origin, some 125 words of Portuguese (also Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 and Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

) origin and a staggering number of some 10,000 loanwords from Dutch. The latter also comprises many words from other European languages, which came via Dutch, the so-called "International Vocabulary". The vast majority of Indonesian words, however, come from the root lexical stock of its Austronesian (incl. Old Malay) heritage.

Although Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 and Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 are no longer the major religions of Indonesia, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 which was the language vehicle for these religions, is still held in high esteem and is comparable with the status of Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 and other Western European languages. Residents of Bali
Bali
Bali is an Indonesian island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east...

 and Java tend to be particularly proud of the Hindu-Buddhist heritage. Sanskrit is also the main source for neologisms. These are usually formed from Sanskrit roots. The loanwords from Sanskrit cover many aspects of religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, art
Art
Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect....

 and everyday life. The Sanskrit influence came from contacts with India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 long ago before the time of Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

. The words are either directly borrowed from India or with the intermediary of the Old Javanese language
Old Javanese language
Old Javanese is the oldest phase of the Javanese language that was spoken in areas in what is now the eastern part of Central Java and the whole of East Java....

. In the classical language of Java, Old Javanese, the number of Sanskrit loanwords is far greater. The Old Javanese — English dictionary by prof. P.J. Zoetmulder, S.J.
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

 (1982) contains no fewer than 25,500 entries. Almost half are Sanskrit loanwords. Sanskrit loanwords, unlike those from other languages, have entered the basic vocabulary of Indonesian to such an extent that, for many, they are no longer perceived to be foreign.

The loanwords from Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 are mainly concerned with religion, in particular with Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, as can be expected. Allah
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

 is the word for God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 even in Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 translations. Many early Bible translators, when they came across some unusual Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 words or proper names, used the Arabic cognates. In the newer translations this practice is discontinued. They now turn to Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 names or use the original Hebrew Word. For example, the name Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 was initially translated as Isa, but is now spelt as Yesus. Psalms used to be translated as Zabur, the Arabic name, but now it is called Mazmur which corresponds more with Hebrew.

Loanwords from Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 are common words, which were mainly connected with articles the early European traders and explorers brought to Southeast Asia. The Portuguese were among the first westerners to sail east to the "Spice Islands
Maluku Islands
The Maluku Islands are an archipelago that is part of Indonesia, and part of the larger Maritime Southeast Asia region. Tectonically they are located on the Halmahera Plate within the Molucca Sea Collision Zone...

".

The Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

 loanwords are usually concerned with cuisine, trade or often just exclusively things Chinese. There is a considerable Chinese presence in the whole of Southeast Asia. According to the 2000 census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

, the relative number of people of Chinese descent in Indonesia is almost 1%, although this may likely be an underestimate.

The former colonial power, the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, left an impressive vocabulary. These Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 loanwords, and also from other non Italo-Iberian, European languages loanwords which came via Dutch, cover all aspects of life. Some Dutch loanwords, having clusters of several consonants, pose difficulties to speakers of Indonesian. This problem is usually solved by insertion of the schwa
Schwa
In linguistics, specifically phonetics and phonology, schwa can mean the following:*An unstressed and toneless neutral vowel sound in some languages, often but not necessarily a mid-central vowel...

. For example Dutch schroef [ˈsxruf] → sekrup [səˈkrup].

As modern Indonesian draws many of its words from foreign sources, there are many synonym
Synonym
Synonyms are different words with almost identical or similar meanings. Words that are synonyms are said to be synonymous, and the state of being a synonym is called synonymy. The word comes from Ancient Greek syn and onoma . The words car and automobile are synonyms...

s. For example, Indonesian has three words for "book", i.e. pustaka (from Sanskrit), kitab (from Arabic) and buku (from Dutch). These words have, unsurprisingly, slightly different meanings. A pustaka is often connected with ancient wisdom or sometimes with esoteric knowledge. A derived form, perpustakaan means a library. A kitab is usually a religious scripture or a book containing moral guidance. The Indonesian words for the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 and Gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

 are Alkitab and Injil, both directly derived from Arabic. The book containing the penal code is also called the kitab. Buku is the most common word for books.

In addition to those above (and the borrowed words listed under the sub-heading History towards the top of this article), there are also direct borrowings from various other languages of the world, such as "karaoke" from Japanese
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

, and "modem
Modem
A modem is a device that modulates an analog carrier signal to encode digital information, and also demodulates such a carrier signal to decode the transmitted information. The goal is to produce a signal that can be transmitted easily and decoded to reproduce the original digital data...

" from English.

Gender


Generally Indonesian does not make use of grammatical gender
Grammatical gender
Grammatical gender is defined linguistically as a system of classes of nouns which trigger specific types of inflections in associated words, such as adjectives, verbs and others. For a system of noun classes to be a gender system, every noun must belong to one of the classes and there should be...

, and there are only selected words that use natural gender. For instance, the same word is used for he and she (dia/ia) or for his and her (dia/ia/-nya). No real distinction is made between "girlfriend" and "boyfriend", both pacar (although more colloquial terms as cewek girl/girlfriend and cowok guy/boyfriend can also be found). A majority of Indonesian words that refer to people generally have a form that does not distinguish between the sexes. However, unlike English, distinction is made between older or younger (a characteristic quite common to many Asian languages). For example, adik refers to a younger sibling of either gender and kakak refers to an older sibling, again, either male or female. In order to specify the natural gender of a noun, an adjective must be added. Thus, adik laki-laki corresponds to "younger brother" but really means "male younger sibling".

There are some words that are gendered, for instance putri means "daughter", and putra means "son" and also pramugara means "air steward" (male flight attendant) and pramugari meaning "air stewardess" (female flight attendant). Another example would be olahragawan, which equates to "sportsman", and olahragawati, meaning sportswoman. Often, words like these (or certain suffixes such as "-a" and "-i" or "-wan" and "wati") are absorbed from other languages (in these cases, from Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 through the Old Javanese language
Javanese language
Javanese language is the language of the Javanese people from the central and eastern parts of the island of Java, in Indonesia. In addition, there are also some pockets of Javanese speakers in the northern coast of western Java...

).
In some regions of Indonesia such as Sumatera and Jakarta, abang (a gender-specific term meaning "older brother") is commonly used as a form of address for older siblings/ males, whilst kakak (a non-gender specific term (meaning "older sibling") is often used to mean "older sister". Similarly, more direct influences from dialects such as Javanese and Chinese languages have also seen further use of other gendered words in Indonesian. For example: Mas (Jav. = older brother), M'bak (Jav. = older sister), Koko (older brother) and Cici (older sister).

Spoken & informal Indonesian


In very informal spoken Indonesian, various words are replaced with those of a less formal nature (e.g. tidak (no) is often replaced with the Javanese nggak whilst seperti (like, similar to) is often replaced with kayak ).
As for pronunciation, the diphthongs ai and au on the end of base words are typically pronounced as /e/ and /o/. In informal writing the spelling of words is modified to reflect the actual pronunciation in a way that can be produced with less effort. E.g.: capai becomes cape or capek, pakai become pake, kalau becomes kalo.

In verbs, the prefix me- is often dropped, although an initial nasal consonant is often retained. E.g.: mengangkat becomes ngangkat (the basic word is angkat). The suffixes -kan and -i are often replaced by -in. E.g.: mencarikan becomes nyariin, menuruti becomes nurutin. The latter grammatical aspect is one often closely related to Indonesian found in Jakarta and surrounding areas.
For more, and to listen to examples, see SEASite Guide to Pronunciation of Indonesian

See also


  • Bahasa, for other language referred with that word
  • Languages of Indonesia
    Languages of Indonesia
    More than 700 living languages are spoken in Indonesia. Most belong to the Austronesian language family, with a few Papuan languages also spoken. The official language is Indonesian , a modified version of Malay, which is used in commerce, administration, education and the media, but most...

  • Language families and languages
  • Demographics of Indonesia
    Demographics of Indonesia
    The population of Indonesia according to the 2010 national census is 237.6 million, with 58% living on the island of Java, the world's most populous island....

  • Indonesian slang language
    Indonesian slang language
    Indonesian slang is an informal language of Indonesia primarily spoken in urban areas.-History:Indonesian slang is the informal version of Indonesian...

  • Indonesian abbreviated words
  • Differences between Malay and Indonesian
    Differences between Malay and Indonesian
    The differences between Malaysian or Malay and Indonesian are significantly greater than those between British English and American English...

  • List of English words of Indonesian origin

External links