Indonesia is one of the world’s most populous countries with 583 dialects and languages being spoken across its 13,466 islands. Jakarta and Bali, two cities that you might be familiar with, are just a tiny part of it. However, despite the diverse cultures and languages, in 1928 we Indonesians committed to use Bahasa as our official language. Most people in Indonesia at least speak two languages.
With the increasing number of Indonesian students studying at the University of Birmingham (there are over 170), I would like to share some useful phrases that you can use to speak to Indonesian people. Some of you might have Indonesian classmates and although you can talk to them in English, I think learning a new language might be useful in this increasingly globalized world.
Unlike English, Indonesian language does not have tenses. It does not have gendered personal pronouns (e.g. ‘she or he’) either. If you want to start learning Bahasa Indonesia, you can try to remember these useful phrases.
- Selamat pagi/siang/sore/malam (Good morning/afternoon/evening/night)
- Apa kabar? (How are you)
- Baik. Kamu? (I’m fine. And you?)
- Baik Juga (I’m fine too)
- Siapa nama anda? (What’s your name?)
- Nama saya… (My name is…)
- Anda berasal dari mana? (Where are you from?)
- Saya berasal dari… (I’m from…)
- Senang bertemu denganmu (Nice to meet you)
- Sampai jumpa (Goodbye)
- Terima kasih (Thank you)
- Maaf (Sorry)
Those are basic phrases that are very useful and are often used in daily conversation. If you would like to know more about Indonesian language, any Indonesian person will be very happy to teach you.
Perhaps one day you will get the chance to visit their home country where you will discover magnificent beaches, diverse cultures, and breath-taking scenery in Bali or Yogyakarta!
The UoB Linguist Magazine
Guild of Students,
University of Birmingham