Monday, November 5, 2007

English words in Indonesian

My Indonesian has been getting better each day and I can now have a decent conversation if the other party speaks slowly. Amongst all the Indonesian words that I've been learning, I've also had to pick up some Indonesian versions of English words. Here are just a few of them. If you can control your eyes, try to guess what they mean before reading my explanation.

1) Oli - Somehow, they have re-arranged the letters for 'Oil' and now call 'Oil', 'Oli'. There are signs everywhere for Ganti Oli (Oil Change).

2) Helm - Pronounced 'Helem'. I guess there is some resemblance to 'Helmet'. Here's a common scene of parents with their helms and the kid (no helm) sandwiched in the middle.

3) Shock - Pronounced and spelled the same as English. It is what they call the shock absorbers of a car.

4) Reflexi - This word is probably derived from reflexology but is used for any sort of massage.

5) Batteri - Pronounced 'Bartree' with a blunt 'T' if you know what I mean. This one is easy - battery.

6) Parkir - Meaning 'Car Park'.

There are many more English words in use even though hardly anybody speaks English. Another interesting thing is that the headlines on magazine covers are often in English even though the contents are entirely in Indonesian.

On a side note, even though it was the Dutch who colonized Indonesia, the only word I've come across so far is 'Tante', meaning Aunt. The word 'Gratis' is also used a lot but I think the origin there is Latin. I'll keep listening out for interesting words to share. So far, my favorite is HELM.


Kellan said...

This was so funny to me! I've noticed this before with other nationalities (Vietnamese, Japanese ...) - how they just eliminate letters, etc... to our words. It's funny. And they just leave the words like that - doesn't seem to bother them that it is not really correct - just sort of creating a slang of their own - all these other nations. It's kinda cool - as long as they get it and we find it fun and funny. See ya.

Bilbo said...

From a linguistics perspective, this is very interesting. German is full of English words, much to the anguish of many older Germans. But it's interesting how many English words drift into other languages. My favorite is the Russian word for a railroad station - "vogzal" - which came from a specific railroad station in England: "Vauxhall." I'll be interested in any of your other observations on English words in Indonesian!

Jean-Luc Picard said...

A good lesson in Indonesian Words.

david mcmahon said...

G'day from Australia,

Or maybe that should be ``salamat pagi''!! We spent two holidays in Bali and the kids and us had the time of our lives. ...

baby~amore' said...

very interesting and funny... thanks for sharing .It must be fun communicating with limited Indonesian and their limited english -how is your signing ?

Anonymous said...

Some of the words you mentioned are actually from Dutch, eg. oli, helm and parkir. Loanwords from English are usually for objects/things that are more recent inventions.