Indonesian language | vocabulary

Vocabulary

A pie chart showing percentage of other languages contribute on loan words of Indonesian language.

  Dutch (42.5%)
  English (20.9%)
  Arabic (19%)
  Sanskrit and Hindi (9%)
  Chinese (3.6%)
  Portuguese (2%)
  Tamil (2%)
  Persian (1%)

A modern dialect of Malay, Indonesian has also been influenced by other languages, including Dutch, English, Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese, Sanskrit, Tamil, Hindi, and Persian. It is estimated that there are some 750 Sanskrit loanwords in modern Indonesian, 1,000 Arabic loans, some of Persian and Hebrew origin, some 125 words of Portuguese, some of Spanish and Italian origin, and 10,000 loanwords from Dutch.[54][full citation needed] The vast majority of Indonesian words, however, come from the root lexical stock of Austronesian (including Old Malay).[18]

The study of Indonesian etymology and loan words reveals both its historical and social contexts. Examples are the early Sanskrit borrowings from the 7th century during the trading era, the borrowings from Arabic and Persian during the time of the establishment of Islam in particular, and those from Dutch during the colonial period. Linguistic history and cultural history are clearly linked.[55]

List of loan words of Indonesian language published by the Badan Pengembangan dan Pembinaan Bahasa (The Language Center) under Ministry of Education and Culture:[56]

Language origin Number of words
Dutch 3280
English 1610
Arabic 1495
Sanskrit 677
Chinese 290
Portuguese 131
Tamil 131
Persian 63
Hindi 7

Loan words of Sanskrit origin

National emblem of Indonesia, Indonesian National Police, Indonesian Air Force and Indonesian Army mottos are Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, Rastra Sewakottama, Swa Bhuwana Paksa, Kartika Eka Paksi, all in Sanskrit language.

The Sanskrit influence came from contacts with India since ancient times. The words were either borrowed directly from India or with the intermediary of the Old Javanese language. Although Hinduism and Buddhism are no longer the major religions of Indonesia, Sanskrit, which was the language vehicle for these religions, is still held in high esteem and is comparable with the status of Latin in English and other Western European languages. Sanskrit is also the main source for neologisms, these are usually formed from Sanskrit roots. The loanwords from Sanskrit cover many aspects of religion, art and everyday life. 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 as foreign.

From Sanskrit came such words as स्वर्ग surga (heaven), भाषा bahasa (language), काच kaca (glass, mirror), राज- raja (king), मनुष्य manusia (mankind), चिन्ता cinta (love), भूमि bumi (earth), भुवन buana (world), आगम agama (religion), स्त्री Istri (wife/woman), जय Jaya (victory/victorious), पुर Pura (city/temple/place), रक्षस Raksasa (giant/monster), धर्म Dharma (rule/regulations), मन्त्र Mantra (words/poet/spiritual prayers), क्षत्रिय Satria (warrior/brave/soldier), विजय Wijaya (greatly victorious/great victory), etc. Sanskrit words and sentences are also used in names, titles, and mottos of the Indonesian National Police and Indonesian Armed Forces such as: Bhayangkara, Laksamana, Jatayu, Garuda, Dharmakerta Marga Reksyaka, Jalesveva Jayamahe, Kartika Eka Paksi, Swa Bhuwana Paksa, Rastra Sewakottama, Yudha Siaga, etc. The Sanskrit words also still makes the Indonesian language more powerful in meaning[according to whom?] from the usage of the National Armed Forces titles such as (above) and more meanings[clarification needed] that also contributes to official and formal languages of Indonesia.[citation needed]

Because Sanskrit has been very long known in the Indonesian archipelago, the 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. Therefore, one could write a short story using only Sanskrit words. The short story below consists of approximately 80 words in Indonesian that are written using Sanskrit words alone, except for a few particles.

Karena semua dibiayai dana negara jutaan rupiah, sang mahaguru sastra bahasa Kawi dan mahasiswa-mahasiswinya, duta-duta negeri mitra, Menteri Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata suami-istri, beserta karyawan-karyawati lembaga nirlaba segera berdharmawisata ke pedesaan di utara kota kabupaten Probolinggo antara candi-candi purba, berwahana keledai di kala senja dan bersama kepala desa menyaksikan para tani yang berjiwa bersahaja serta berbudi nirmala secara berbahagia berupacara, seraya merdu menyuarakan gita-gita mantra, yang merupakan sarana pujian mereka memuja nama suci Pertiwi, Dewi Bumi yang bersedia menganugerahi mereka karunia dan restu, meraksa dari bahaya, mala petaka dan bencana.

Loan words of Chinese origin

The relationship with China has been going since the 7th century when Chinese merchants traded in some areas of the archipelago such as Riau, West Borneo, East Kalimantan, and North Maluku. At the kingdom of Srivijaya appeared and flourished, China opened diplomatic relations with the kingdom in order to secure trade and seafaring. In 922, Chinese travelers visited Kahuripan in East Java. Since the 11th century, hundreds of thousands of Chinese migrants left Mainland China and settled in many parts of Nusantara (now called as Indonesia).

The Chinese loanwords are usually concerned with cuisine, trade or often just things exclusively Chinese. Words of Chinese origin (presented here with accompanying Hokkien/ Mandarin pronunciation derivatives as well as traditional and simplified characters) include pisau (匕首 bǐshǒu  – knife), loteng, (樓/層 = lóu/céng – [upper] floor/ level), mie (麵 > 面 Hokkien mī – noodles), lumpia (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').

Loan words of Arabic origin

The word masjid (mosque) in Indonesian derived from Arabic word masjid (مسجد‎).

Many Arabic words were brought and spread by merchants from Arab Peninsula like Arabian, Persian, and from the western part of India, Gujarat where many Muslims lived.[57] As a result, many Indonesian words come from the Arabic language. Especially since the late 12th century, Old Malay was heavily influenced by the language and produced many great literary works such as Syair, Babad, Hikayat, and Suluk. This century is known as The Golden Age of Indonesian Literature.[57]

Many loanwords from Arabic are mainly concerned with religion, in particular with Islam, and by extension, with greetings such as the word, "selamat" (from Arabic: سلامةsalāma = health, soundness)[58] means "safe" or "lucky". Words of Arabic origin include dunia (from Arabic: دنياdunyā = the present world), names of days (except Minggu), such as Sabtu (from Arabic: سبتsabt-u = Saturday), iklan (آعلانiʻlan = advertisement), kabar (خبرkhabar = news), Kursi (كرسيkursī = a chair), jumat (جمعةjumʻa = Friday), ijazah (إجازةijāza = 'permission', certificate of authority, e.g. a school diploma certificate), kitab (كتابkitāb = book), tertib (ترتيبtartīb = order/arrangement) and kamus (قاموسqāmūs = dictionary). Allah (Arabic: الله‎), as it is mostly the case for Arabic speakers, is the word for God even in Christian Bible translations. Many early Bible translators, when they came across some unusual Hebrew words or proper names, used the Arabic cognates. In the newer translations this practice is discontinued. They now turn to Greek names or use the original Hebrew Word. For example, the name Jesus was initially translated as 'Isa (Arabic: عيسى‎), but is now spelt as Yesus. Several ecclesiastical terms derived from Arabic still exist in Indonesian language. Indonesian word for bishop is uskup (from Arabic: أسقفusquf = bishop). This in turn makes the Indonesian term for archbishop uskup agung (literally great bishop), which is combining the Arabic word with an Old Javanese word. The term imam (from Arabic: إمامimām = leader, prayer leader) is used to translate a Catholic priest, beside its more common association with an Islamic prayer leader. Some Protestant denominations refer to their congregation jemaat (from Arabic: جماعةjamāʻa = group, a community). Even the name of the Bible in Indonesian translation is Alkitab (from Arabic: الكتابal-kitāb = the book), which literally means "the Book".

Loan words of Portuguese origin

Indonesian word "Gereja" (Church) is derived from Portuguese "Igreja". The sign reads: "Gereja & Candi Hati Kudus Tuhan Yesus Ganjuran Keuskupan Agung Semarang" (The Church and Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Ganjuran Archdiocese of Semarang).
O Antiphons in Indonesian language

Alongside Malay, Portuguese was the lingua franca for trade throughout the archipelago from the sixteenth century through to the early nineteenth century. The Portuguese were among the first westerners to sail eastwards to the "Spice Islands". Loanwords from Portuguese were mainly connected with articles that the early European traders and explorers brought to Southeast Asia. Indonesian words derived from Portuguese include meja (from mesa = table), bangku (from banco = chair), lemari/almari (from armário = closet), boneka (from boneca = doll), jendela (from janela = window), Gereja (from Igreja = Church), Misa (from Missa = Mass), Natal (from Natal = Christmas), Paskah (from Páscoa = Easter), pesta (from festa = party), dansa (from dança = dance), pesiar (from passear = cruise), bendera (from bandeira = flag), sepatu (from sapato = shoes), garpu (from garfo = fork), kemeja (from camisa = shirt), kereta (from carreta = chariot), pompa (from bomba hidráulica = pump), pigura (from figura = picture), roda (from roda = wheel), nona (from dona = young woman), sekolah (from escola = school), lentera (from lanterna = lantern), paderi (from padre = priest), Santo, Santa (from Santo, Santa = Saint), puisi (from poesia = poetry), tukar (from trocar = exchange), keju (from queijo = cheese), mentega (from manteiga = butter), serdadu (from soldado = soldier), meski (from mas que = although), kamar (from câmara = room), laguna (from laguna = lagoon), lelang (from leilão = auction), persero (from parceiro = company), markisa (from maracujá = passion fruit), limau (from limão = lemon), kartu (from cartão = card), ombak (from onda = waves), Inggris (from inglês = English), Sabtu (from sábado = Saturday), Minggu (from domingo = Sunday), etc.[59]

Loan words of Dutch origin

Crowd at a busy street intersection. There are horse-drawn carriages in the foreground while a three-story building (with the sign "Kam Leng") and a single-story building (with the sign "Chunghua Bioscoop") stand in the background on adjacent corners of the intersection.
Chunghua bioscoop (now bioskop = cinema), Glodok, Jakarta in 1953.

The former colonial power, the Netherlands, left a sizable amount of vocabulary that can be seen in words such as polisi (from politie = police), kualitas (from kwaliteit = quality), aktual (from actueel = current), rokok (from roken = smoking cigarettes), korupsi (from corruptie = corruption), kantor (from kantoor = office), resleting (from ritssluiting = zipper), pelopor (from voorloper = frontrunner) persneling (from versnelling = transmission gear), setrum (from stroom = electricity current), maskapai (from maatschappij = company), apotek (from apotheek = pharmacy), handuk (from handdoek = towel), setrika (from strijkijzer = clothes iron), bioskop (from bioscoop = cinema), spanduk (from spandoeken = banner), korsleting (from kortsluiting = short circuit), om (from oom = uncle), tante (from tante = aunt), traktir (from trakteer = treat) and gratis (from gratis = free). These Dutch loanwords, and many other non-Italo-Iberian, European language loanwords that 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. For example, Dutch schroef [ˈsxruf] > sekrup [səˈkrup] (screw (n.)). One scholar argues that 20% of Indonesian words are inspired by the Dutch language.[60]

Before the standardization of the language, many Indonesian words follow standard Dutch alphabet and pronunciation such as "oe" for vowel "u" or "dj" for consonant "j" [dʒ]. As a result, Malay words are written with that orthography such as: passer for the word Pasar or djalan for the word jalan, older Indonesian generation tend to have their name written in such order as well.

Loan words of English origin

Many English words were incorporated into Indonesian through globalization. Many Indonesians, however, mistake words already adopted from Dutch as words borrowed from English. This is due to the Germanic traces that exist in the two languages. Indonesian adopts English words with standardization. For example: imajinasi from imagination, universitas from university, aksesori from accessory, geografi from geography, konservatif from conservative, rutin from routine, and so other.[61] However, there are several words that directly borrowed without standardization which have same meanings in English such as: bus, data, domain, detail, internet, film, golf, lift, monitor, radio, radar, unit, safari, sonar, and video, riil as real.[61]

Other loan words

Modern Indonesian draws many of its words from foreign sources, there are many synonyms. For example, Indonesian has three words for "book", i.e. pustaka (from Sanskrit), kitab (from Arabic) and buku (from Dutch boek); however, each has a slightly different meaning. 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 and Gospel 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.

There are direct borrowings from various other languages of the world, such as karaoke (from カラオケ) from Japanese, and ebi (from えび) which means dried shrimp. Many words that originally are adopted through the Dutch language today however often are mistaken as English due to the similarity in the Germanic nature of both languages. In some cases the words are replaced by English language through globalization: although the word arbei (Dutch: aardbei) still literally means strawberry in Indonesian, today the usage of the word stroberi is more common. Greek words such as demokrasi (from δημοκρατία dēmokratía), filosofi (from φιλοσοφία philasophia), mitos (from μῦθος mythos) came through Dutch, Arabic and Portuguese respectively.

It is notable that some of the loanwords that exist in both Indonesian and Malaysian languages are different in spelling and pronunciation mainly due to how they derived their origins: Malaysian utilizes words that reflect the English usage (as used by its former colonial power, the British), while Indonesian uses a Latinate form reflected in the Dutch usage (e.g. aktiviti (Malaysian) vs. aktivitas (Indonesian), universiti (Malaysian) vs. universitas (Indonesian)).

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Indonesies
አማርኛ: ኢንዶኔዥኛ
aragonés: Idioma indonesio
asturianu: Idioma indonesiu
azərbaycanca: İndoneziya dili
Bahasa Banjar: Bahasa Indonésia
Bân-lâm-gú: Ìn-nî-gí
Basa Banyumasan: Basa Indonesia
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Інданэзійская мова
Bikol Central: Tataramon na Indones
brezhoneg: Indonezeg
català: Indonesi
Cebuano: Inindonesyo
čeština: Indonéština
Cymraeg: Indoneseg
Esperanto: Indonezia lingvo
euskara: Indonesiera
Fiji Hindi: Indonesian bhasa
français: Indonésien
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Yin-nì-ngî
Հայերեն: Ինդոնեզերեն
Bahasa Indonesia: Bahasa Indonesia
interlingua: Lingua indonesian
isiZulu: Isi-Indonesia
íslenska: Indónesíska
עברית: אינדונזית
Basa Jawa: Basa Indonésia
kalaallisut: Indonesiamiutut
kernowek: Indonesek
Kiswahili: Kiindonesia
македонски: Индонезиски јазик
Bahasa Melayu: Bahasa Indonesia
Baso Minangkabau: Bahaso Indonesia
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Éng-nà̤-ngṳ̄
Nederlands: Indonesisch
norsk: Indonesisk
norsk nynorsk: Indonesisk
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Indonez tili
پنجابی: انڈونیشی
ភាសាខ្មែរ: ភាសាឥណ្ឌូនេស៊ី
Piemontèis: Lenga Indonesian
português: Língua indonésia
Runa Simi: Indunisya simi
саха тыла: Индонезия тыла
Gagana Samoa: Fa'aInitonesia
Simple English: Indonesian language
slovenčina: Indonézština
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Indonežanski jezik
Basa Sunda: Basa Indonésia
svenska: Indonesiska
татарча/tatarça: Индонезия теле
Türkçe: Endonezce
Türkmençe: Indoneziýa dilleri
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: ھىندونېزىيە تىلى
Tiếng Việt: Tiếng Indonesia
Winaray: Indonesyo
粵語: 印尼文
Zazaki: İndonezki
中文: 印尼语
Lingua Franca Nova: Indonesian (lingua)