Posted by: patriciamar | October 12, 2009

Indonesian words that we will take with us

As many of you know, Matt and I tend to speak in many tongues.  Well, really, we just take the best, fastest, coolest sounding, and most efficient words from any language we happen to know a little or a lot of.  Now that Indonesian is on the list, we have added a few very handy words to our lifelong vocabulary.  Here they are.  Feel free to use them at will- they can be quite helpful.


bagus – good

Mainly just fun to say.


sudah – already, enough

Usually used by itself.  Picture an Indonesian grandmother (or just Ibu Lili) watching her grandson fill up a glass of water, and saying, Sudah! Sudah! as the little boy continues to pull the spigot , even when the water is running over the edges.


teh – tea

Just fun to say because you pronounce the [h] as a voiceless glottal fricative, meaning that you breathe out when you say it: think tay-ha, more or less.  Basically, Matt and I are now unable to pronounce the word without doing this. 


belum – not yet

This is a critical word in Indonesian, if you use tidak – no, then it means, no/never/with no intention to, but if you use belum, it means no, not right now, but maybe sometime.  For example, if someone in Indonesia asks you if you have children, and you say tidak (no), they are quite taken aback.  No?! Never? So they give you a strange look and ask, belum? (not yet?), and then of course you agree, ahh, yes, belum.

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