Balinese, Bahasa and some other languages of Indonesia
Filed under: History, Language, Language Learning, Multiculturalism, Translation Services, Travel
Indonesia is made up of over 17,500 islands (6,000 of which are inhabited) which are home to over 300 ethnic groups. The Indonesian people are a mixture of Chinese, European, Indian, and Malay.
There are at least 365 active languages spoken in Indonesia but the official language is Bahasa Indonesia. It is a relatively easy language to pronounce and understand and without verb conjugations or structures. Indonesian is a standardized dialect of the Malay language and became the official language during the start of the Indonesian independence in 1945. Malay and Indonesian remain very similar.
It may be the official language, but due to the size and island make-up of the country, most people speak regional dialects such as Minangkabau or Javanese. These languages are used informally at home and in the neighborhood but usually at work or at school, Indonesian is spoken. Interesting fact: Bahasa Indonesian actually has 12 ways of saying “No” and several other ways of saying “Yes” when the actual meaning is “No”.
Most of the words in the Indonesian language originate from the Austronesian languages. Approximately 80% of the words come from Malay. There is also influence from Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, Portuguese, Sanskrit and Tamil.
Balinese (simply known as “Bali”) is spoken by approximately 3.3 million people on the Indonesian island of Bali (the lesser Sunda island chain in the southern part of the archipelago of Indonesia) and is the colloquial language of the island. It is a Malayo-Polynesian language also spoken in eastern Java, western Lombok and northern Nusa Penida. Most Balinese speakers can also speak Bahasa Indonesia.
Unlike the relatively straightforward Indonesian language, Balinese is made up of lots of unusual sounds that can be difficult for foreigners to pronounce. Balinese also does without the verb conjugations and tenses but it does contain a sort of lingual caste system where your choice of speech is based on with whom you are speaking.
Some examples of other regional dialects or languages spoken in the archipelago of Indonesia are as follows:
* Rejang (South Sumatra)
* Dairi Batak (North Sumatra)
* Toraja (South Sulawesi)
* Lampung (South Sumatra)
* Makassarese (South Sulawesi)
* Toba Batak (North Sumatra)
* Sasak (Lombok)
* Banjarese (South Kalimantan)
* Acehnese (North Sumatra)
* Buginese (South Sulawesi)
* Minangkabau (Central Sumatra)
* Mature (Madura and Java)
* Sundanese (Java)
* Javanese (Java)
For the brave, here are some basic greetings in the Indonesian language.
Apa kabar? -how are you?
Selamat pagi-Good morning
Selamat sore-Good afternoon
Selamat malam-Good evening