Quick Indonesian Language Words and Phrases You Should Know and Make Life Easier

This article elaborates numerous useful Indonesian words and phrases for expats.
Quick Indonesian Language Words and Phrases

Rumah.com – Over the years, Indonesia has become a preferred business destination in South East Asia. Dubbed as one of the most diverse countries in the world, Indonesia is blessed with roughly 1,331 tribes, 652 local languages, and 17,504 islands that stretch from Sabang in the west to Merauke in the east. Fortunately, the Indonesian language, simply known as Bahasa, is the only language used by all Indonesians to communicate, despite different tribes or dialects. In the other words, Bahasa is a language that unites all Indonesians.

As tenses do not exist and verbs only exist in the present tense, Bahasa is quite simple to learn. Bahasa Indonesia practitioners also do not acknowledge any distinction for masculine and feminine nouns, and there are no such singular or plural nouns. To determine the plural noun, you simply add some numbers. For expats and international tourists that barely know Bahasa Indonesia, the following are terms or expressions in Bahasa that can be useful to communicate with the local community.

Greetings, Farewell, and Wishes

The greeting is the first expression used when meeting new people. To make a polite first impression, knowing the greeting is essential. The following are basic greetings you can express in Bahasa Indonesia.

·        

Good afternoon

Selamat siang

 

·        

Good evening

Selamat sore/malam

·        

Good night

Selamat malam (commonly to express farewell)

·        

How are you?

Apa kabar?

·        

Thank you

Terima kasih

·        

Sorry

Maaf

·        

You are welcome

Sama-sama

·        

Excuse me

Permisi

·        

Nice to meet you

Senang bertemu dengan Anda

·        

Congratulation!

Selamat!

·        

Welcome!

Selamat datang!

·        

Happy birthday!

Selamat ulang tahun!

·        

Happy wedding!

Selamat menempuh hidup baru!

·        

Happy Ied

Selamat Hari Natal!

·        

Merry Christmas!

Selamat Tahun Baru!

·        

Happy New Year!

Hari Raya Idul Fitri!

 

It is also important to acknowledge subject/object pronouns as the most basic form in language, such as:

·        

You

Anda/kamu/kau (for singular second person), kalian (for plural second person)

·        

He/She or him/her

Dia

·        

We/us

Kita (including the all person) or kami (including only plural first person)

·        

They/them

Mereka

Bear also in your mind to introduce yourself as it will help your communication. Introductory phrases include:

·        

What is your name?

Siapa nama Anda?

·        

Where do you live?

Di mana Anda tinggal?

·        

I live in Jakarta.

Saya tinggal di Jakarta.

Also, do understand that because Indonesians are very friendly, you will frequently hear a phrase like “Mau kemana?” or “Dari mana?” which can roughly translated into “Where are you going?” or “Where are you from?”. These phrases may tend to violate your privacy, but it is nothing wrong to get adapted to the local community and culture.

Online Transportation Services  

Multi-services and online transportation apps have been operating since around 2015 in Indonesia. Two giant apps like Go-Jek and Grab have spread out across many cities and regions throughout Indonesia. Their existence has facilitated convenience to many in providing online transportation, and goods and food delivery services. To reach somewhere using a ride-hailing service, or ordering food online sometimes requires clear communication. While these apps’ built-in chats are now bilingual (English and Bahasa), some of the following communicative phrases might be useful while having conversations directly with the drivers:

·        

Take me to SCBD, please.

Tolong antar saya ke SCBD.

 

·        

Where is this place?

Di mana tempat ini?

·        

Can you take me to this (address)?

Bisa antarkan saya ke alamat ini?

 

·        

I’m really in a hurry, can you take the quickest route please?

Saya sedang buru-buru, bisa lewati rute tercepat?

 

·        

The rest is yours

Ambil saja kembaliannya.

Purchasing or Haggling for Things

When you walk around the neighbourhood, you will always find warung, a traditional kiosk selling various foods, snacks, cigarettes, food staples and other necessities in all areas in the cities. Going to warung will definitely invite opportunities to mix and converse with the locals. The following local vocabularies might make your conversation interesting:

·        

How much is this?

 

Berapa harganya?

Other than the phrases and words mentioned above, the following few words might help you bargain in the traditional market or tourism area:

·        

The price is too expensive

Harganya terlalu mahal

·        

Can you lower the price?

Bisa lebih murah?

·        

Could you give me some bonus?

Kasih bonus lah?

·        

1 – Satu ; 2 – Dua ; 3 – Tiga ; 4 – Empat ; 5 -Lima ; 6 -Enam ; 7 – Tujuh ; 8 – Delapan ; 9 – Sembilan ; 10 – Sepuluh.

·        

11

Sebelas

·        

20

Dua belas

·        

300

Tiga belas

·        

5000

Lima ribu

·        

17.000

Tujuh belas ribu

·        

55.000

Lima puluh lima ribu

·        

1 million

Satu juta

·        

13,5 million

Tiga belas setengah juta

Emergency

In case of an emergency, the following will help:

·        

Watch out!

·        

Stop!

·        

Pickpocket!

·        

My chest hurts

·        

Where is the nearest police office/hospital?

·        

I lost my wallet/passport [lit. my wallet/passport is lost].

·        

Be careful!

·        

This is an emergency!

·        

This is my insurance card.

·        

My wife/husband/child fainted!

·        

Leave me alone!

·        

Don't touch/hold me!

·        

Fire!

·        

My car/motorbike is missing.

·        

Call the police/doctor/ambulance!

·        

Thief!

·        

Robber

·        

Someone hit me.

·        

I’ve been robbed.

·        

I was hit by a car/motorbike.

·        

I want to report a missing person.

·        

I want to make a report for loss of items.

·        

I fell off the motorcycle.

·        

I’ve run out of my medication.

·        

I got poisoned.

·        

I’m calling the police now!

·        

I’m bleeding.

·        

I need to go to the hospital/police station.

·        

I need an interpreter/doctor.

·        

I’m pregnant.

·        

I’m pregnant.

·        

I can’t get up.

·        

I can’t breathe.

·        

I don’t have insurance.

·        

Please send a fire engine!

·        

Please help me!

·        

Please call my insurer.

·        

Please call the {Australian] consulate.

·        

Help!


Asking and Telling Time

The following words or phrases would help you to always remind of your own time:

·        

One o’clock

Pukul satu

·        

Half past three

Pukul setengah empat

·        

A quarter past ten

Pukul sembilan lebih/lewat seperempat

 

·        

25 minutes to 11

Pukul sebelas kurang dua puluh lima menit

·        

Fifteen pasf five

Pukul lima lebih lima belas menit

·        

What time does the plane/bus/train leave?

Pukul berapa pesawat/bis/kereta pergi?

·        

What time does the plane/bus/train arrive?

Pukul berapa pesawat/bis/kereta sampai?

·        

What time does the shop open?

Pukul berapa tokonya buka?

Direction

·        

How can I get there?

Bagaimana cara saya ke sana?

·        

Can you please show it on the map?

Bisa tolong tunjukkan di peta?

·        

Is there bus/public transportation going there?

Apakah ada bis/angkutan umum menuju alamat itu?

·        

Go straight ahead

Jalan/lurus terus

·        

Turn left/right

belok kiri/kanan

·        

Pasar

·        

Embassy

Kantor Kedutaan

·        

Mosque

Masjid

·        

Church

Gereja

·        

Petrol/gas station

Pom bensin

·        

Library

Perpustakaan

·        

Restaurant

Restoran

·        

Station

Stasiun

·        

Bus terminal

Terminal bis

All in all, whether it is business or vacation, learning Bahasa is crucial as you can express your thoughts appropriately. It can also prevent you from miscommunication that can hinder your business or vacation.

Looking to move to Indonesia and find a home? We can help. Check our rental listings here.

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