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Indonesian slang (bahasa gaul or bahasa prokem) is informal language in Indonesia. Despite its direct origins, Indonesian slang often differs quite significantly in both vocabulary and grammatical structure from the most standard form of Indonesia's national language.
- 1 History
- 2 Classification
- 3 Geographic distribution
- 4 Official status
- 5 Sounds
- 6 Grammar
- 7 Vocabulary
- 8 Particles
- 9 Vocabulary evolution
- 10 Region specific slang
- 11 See also
- 12 Other related Wikis
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Its native name, bahasa gaul (the 'social language'), was a term coined in the late 1990s where bahasa means 'language' and gaul means 'social', 'cool' or 'trendy'. Similarly, the term bahasa prokém (a more out-dated name for Indonesian slang) created in the early 1980s means 'the language of gangsters'. Prokém is a slang form of the word préman and was derived from the Dutch word vrijman (English: freeman; lit. gangster).
Indonesian slang is predominantly used in everyday conversation, social milieus, among popular media and, to a certain extent, in teen publications or pop culture magazines. For those living in more urbanized regions of Indonesia, Indonesian slang language often functions as the primary language medium for communication in daily life. While it would be unusual to communicate orally with people on a casual basis with very formal Indonesian, the use of proper or 'good and correct' Indonesian ("bahasa Indonesia yang baik dan benar") is abundant in the media, government bodies, schools, universities, workplaces, amongst some members of the Indonesian upper-class or nobility and also in many other more formal situations.
Indonesian slang is an ever-evolving. This is, in part, due to its vocabulary that is often so different from that of standard Indonesian and Malaysian and also because so many new words (both original and foreign) are quite easily incorporated into its increasingly wide vocabulary list. However, as with any language, the constant changing of the times means that some words become rarely used or are rendered obsolete as they are considered to be outdated or no longer follow modern day trends.
At present, there is no formal classification for Indonesian slang language as it is essentially a manipulated and popularized form of the Indonesian (the national language of Indonesia).
Indonesian is part of the Western Malayo-Polynesian subgroup of the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian languages. According to the Ethnologue, Indonesian is modelled after Riau Malay, a form of Old Malay originally spoken in Northeast Sumatra.
Indonesian slang language is mostly spoken in urban regions of the Indonesian archipelago. Variations of slang language can be found from city to city, mainly characterised by derivatives of the different local ethnic languages. For example, in Bandung, West Java, the local slang language contains vocabulary from the Sundanese language while the slang found in Jakarta tends to be heavily influenced by English or the old Batavian dialect (i.e. the language of the original inhabitants of Jakarta or Batavia as it was known during the Dutch colonial period). For more information relating to the geographics of Indonesian slang and regional influences, please see "Region Specific Slang" below).
Indonesian slang language is not an official language of Indonesia. However, it is a modified form of the Indonesian language and is widely used for everyday communication and in informal situations.
Indonesian slang generally uses the same pronunciation as standard Indonesian, although there are many influences from regional dialects on certain aspects such as accent and grammatical structure. Loan words adopted from foreign languages (especially European) such as English or Dutch are often transliterated according to the modern Indonesian orthography. For example, 'please' is often written as plis. Another closely related phenomenon to arise in recent years is the formation of complex nouns or phrases created using a combination of English and Indonesian (slang) in the one sentence. A prime example of this is the phrase "so what gitu loh!", meaning "who cares?!" or quite simply "so what!" with added emphasis from the phrase "gitu loh". "Gitu" is an abbreviated form of the Indonesian word "begitu" meaning "like that/ such as", while "loh" (also spelt lho) is a particle commonly used in slang or conversational Indonesian to show surprise or instigate a warning. In these cases of combined, interlingual phrases, the original spelling (and quite often the pronunciation) of the foreign word(s) are retained. Hence, the English component of the Indonesian slang phrase "so what gitu loh!" remains relatively unchanged as far as spelling and pronunciation are concerned.
The overall structure of Indonesian slang is not all that different from formal Indonesian, although in many cases sentences are simplified or shortened when necessary. The differences between formal and colloquial Indonesian are most evident in vocabulary and grammatical structures (e.g. affixes).
The structure of the Indonesian slang language is mostly derived from formal Indonesian, however its vocabularly is a different story altogether. Indonesian slang vocabulary is enriched by a combination of derivatives or loan words/ structures from foreign languages such as Min Nan commonly referred to as Hokkien, English, and Dutch, as well as local ethnic languages such as Batavian, Sundanese, and Javanese. However, in many cases, new words are simply created at random, their origins often quite obscure.
• A large proportion of the vocabulary used in Indonesian slang language was developed from formal Indonesian through several methods, most of which are listed below:
- Nasalisation of active verb, shortening or exclusion of the original prefix and adding -in at the end of the word, for example:
- memikirkan (pikir) (to think) into mikirin
- menanyakan (tanya) (to ask) into nanyain (exclusion of "me-"), often with a glottal stop between the a and the i, thus nanya'in
- Adding -in at the end of the passive transitive verbs, for example:
- diajari (to be taught) into diajarin
- dipukuli (to be beaten) into dipukulin
- Adding ke- at the beginning of passive intransitive verbs, instead of using ter- and altering pronunciation from 'a' to 'e' (Javanese influence) for example:
- tertangkap (to be caught) into ketangkep
- terpelését (to accidentally slip) into kepelését
- Eliminating one or few letters of the word, for example:
- habis (depleted/ finished/emptied) into abis
- tahu (know) into tau
- sudah (already) into udah
- Contraction of two or more words into one word, for example:
- terima kasih (thank) into makasih
- jaga image (to safeguard one's social image) into ja'im, with a glottal stop between the a and the i
- Percaya diri (confidence) into PD (pédé)
- Tidak jelas (not clear) into gaje
- Malas bergerak" (lazy to move) into mager
- Replacing letter a with e in some words (Javanese influence), for example:
- benar (correct) into bener
- pintar (smart) into pinter
- malas (lazy) into males
- segar (fresh) into seger
- Contracting diphthong into monosyllabic letter, for example:
- kalau (if) into kalo
- pakai (use) into paké
- sampai (until) into sampé
- Addition/ exclusion of silent consonants and glottal stops to the beginning/ends of words:
- pakai (use) into paké or even pakék (final -k being a glottal stop)
- enggak (no, not) into nggak or ngga or even gak/ga/kaga/ogah/wegah (enggak itself is also a slang word.)
- Contracting the beginning three letters with the infix -ok- after the first letter (ended with closest consonant if the third letter is a vowel), for example:
- Bapak / Ayah (father) into Bokap
- Ibu (Mother) Into Nyokap
- jual (sell) into jokul
- bérak (defecate) into bokér
- Bapak dan Ibu (Father and Mother) into bonyok
- Add prefix nge- or ng- to signify activity, for example:
- ngebut (to go fast)
- ngedance (dance)
- ngedrink (drink)
- ngedrug (do drugs)
- ngegebet (to pick up)
- ngafe (go to a café)
- ngabur or ngacir (fleeing)
- ngimpi (dreaming)
- ngomong (speaking)
- "ngiler" (drooling)
• Some words are simply transliterated from English, for example:
- Sorry into sori
- Friend into prén
- Swear into suér
- Brother into bro
- Sister into sis
- by the way into btw (bétéwé)
• Many words also emerged without following the above rules at all, many of which have their own unique history and/or origin. For example:
- Cuék (to ignore or to take something easy, or to be aloof) - Popularized by the Indonesian singer Ruth Sahanaya in her 80s hit Astaga; most likely derived from the Malay word cuai, that means 'negligent'.
- Do'i (boyfriend / girlfriend) - Originated from the word dia (him/her) transformed by inserting letter 'o' in the middle and deleting the last letter 'a'. It is later transformed into Doski.
- Bokép' (pornographic film) - Originated from abbreviation BF which means 'Blue Film'. BF is read 'Be-Ef', which in its pidgin form is read as Be-Ep. The word Bokep obtained by inserting infix -ok- in between 'Be-Ep'.
- Camer - calon mertua, future parents in-laws).
- Jayus / Garing - Lame or corny; meant to be or sound funny, but it is not. Garing originally means 'crispy'.
- Jijay ('Disgusting' or 'grotesque') - Originated from jijik. Sometimes used to express a condition of 'utmost disgust'. Used in the phrase jijay bajay.
- Jomblo (single) - Originated from Sundanese jomblo means 'unable to sell (the product)' or 'unrequited'.
- ABG / Abégé (teenagers) - Stands for 'Anak Baru Gede' - Literally means 'A child who just grown up'. The original Indonesian term is 'remaja', which means 'teen'.
- Cupu (out of date / not trendy) - Stands for culun punya. Culun itself is a slang means the same with cupu. Punya means 'have / possess / belonging'. It became popular when Pop Ice showed their advertisement on TV in 2007
- Gebetan (someone you’re keen on)
- Juték means 'sassy'.
- Lebai means 'overacting', originated from the word 'lebih' meaning 'more' that is read by a native English speaker, and transliterated.
- Alay literally means 'low class boys/ kids'. It comes from the words Anak Layangan (A = anak + Lay = layangan), which means children who hunts the cut-off kites on the streets because they can not afford to buy themselves the kite (layangan). It is often to associate street children with their typical characteristics: smelly, dirty, rarely bathing or brownly/ yellowish hair color that mostly caused spending too much time on the street during the day. On more modern context, this term also used to describe people (usually teenager) that blindly follow the trend, trying to act trendy yet (usually) fail because they overdid it.
- Beud comes from Banget that means very. This word is being so popular after CFC Advertisement on TV showed up word Beud
- Jebakan Betmen means literally 'Batman's trap' or 'Badman's trap' swhich means a planned prank
- Kimpoi means 'sexual intercourse' - "kimpoi" is from word "kawin"
- Pedekate or PDKT means 'pendekatan' - the stage of flirting or hitting on someone
- Tete'em or TTM is the acronym of 'teman tapi mesra' - which means friend but with more intimate relation. This term hugely popularized by Ratu (band) music video. It sometimes also associated as casual sex partner.
- Putus aja - break up
- GR from 'gede rasa' - means literally 'having big feeling'. This phrase is used to show that someone has felt something that actually still unclear whether it can come true or not.
- Ja'im from 'jaga imej' - literally means 'keeping (a good) image'
- Matré means materialistic (abbreviated by materialistik)
- Telmi from 'telat mikir' (Dutch 'te laat' = too late, Indonesian 'mikir' < pikir = to think) - describes someone who is a little bit slow on the uptake.
- Nongkrong means hang out
- Kutu Kupret means bastard
- T-O-P B-G-T or 'top banget' means really cool or awesome
- Galau means in a state of dilemma. It is widely used by Indonesian teenagers today. It is usually used to express the state of brokenhearted or when they're feeling uncertain and down.
- Caper from 'cari perhatian' literally means attention seeker (cari=searching for, looking for; perhatian=attention).
Many slang particles are used in the end of a sentence. Usually, these particles do not directly change the sentence's meaning, in the sense that the truth conditions remain the same. However, they can have other effects, such as emphasizing a sentence, or suggesting hesitancy. They can be used to reinforce the social link between speaker and listener.
For example, the sentence Dia datang (she/he comes) could be modified by one of the following particles:
- Dia datang nih
- Dia datang dong - expresses certainty (She comes for sure); dong can be stressed with a long vowel to mean She has to come.
- Dia datang kok - used to convince someone who might doubt the sentence.
- Dia datang lah - expresses a high level of certainty.
- Dia datang lho - could be translated as She comes, you know.
- Dia datang ah - expresses hesitancy; could be translated as I think she/he comes.
- Dia datang dooong - expresses hesitancy; could be translated as I wish she'd come or Please let her come
Particles can also be used to introduce questions. The following examples could both be translated as How could she come?:
- Kok, Dia datang? - used when the speaker finds the sentence difficult to believe.
- Lho? Dia datang - indicates surprise or disbelief.
- Kumpul kebo - Lit. means 'water buffalo-style gathering' or 'gather like cattle'. It originated during the Dutch colonial era and was known as koempoel gebouw. Gebouw refers to a building and thus the phrase means to live together under the same roof (as an umarried couple). Confusion has caused this term to be linked with kerbau (buffalo). The slang term for kerbau is 'kebo'. This term basically means that two people in a relationship are living together without being married, i.e. in a domestic partnership/ de facto relationship. To Kumpul kebo in Indonesia is considered immoral and sometimes illicit. For these reasons and also those relating to religion, Asian culture and general ethics, it is often frowned upon in modern Indonesian society to do such a thing.
The 1980s was the era of bahasa prokém. At this time slang language vocabulary was formed by inserting the infix -ok- after the first consonant of a word, and deleting the last syllable, creating a totally new word. "Prokem" itself is a prokem word, created by adding -ok- to preman and removing the -an.
For example, the word Bapak was broken into B-ok-apak and the last -ak is deleted, and the resulting word is Bokap which, until this day, is used as a slang term for Father.
The word Sekolah (School) was transformed into Skokul, but this word slowly become outdated and by the 1990s the word was no longer used, and changed to Sekul or simply Skul, reminiscent of the English word "school".
Other notable words such as mémblé (ugly, frowning), kécé, (beautiful, good looking) from the words "keren cekali" (very cool) , the sentence attribute Nih yé, and the exclamation Alamakjan! all emerged in the same decade.
Much of the slang language created post-2000 originated from the Indonesian LBGT community. The latest method for transforming a word is to take a different word which has a similar sound. For example, the word mau (want), is replaced with the word mawar originally meaning rose. Despite its creativity and originality, this latest form of Indonesian slang can be quite complicated to understand, even to the native Indonesians themselves. For example: Akika tinta mawar macarena originates from the sentence written in proper Indonesian - Aku tidak mau makan meaning 'I don't want to eat'.
The abbreviations often used to mask insult, such as kamseupay (totally lame) abbreviation of kampungan sekali udik payah (really provincial, rurally lame).
Region specific slang
Jakarta including Botabek is the capital city of Indonesia with a population of more than 20 million people. Consequently, such a huge population will undoubtedly have a role in the Jakarta slang evolution. Much of the slang evolved from the Betawi dialect.
Some prominent examples:
- Ajé (from 'saja') - Only, just, from the Betawi dialect
- Ayé - I, me
- Bacot - Talk too much.
- Bang (from 'abang') - Slang form of address for elder males/ brother.
- Banget - Very, from the Betawi dialect
- Bégo (from 'bodoh') - Stupid, from the Betawi dialect
- Berapa duit? or Berapaan? - How much money/ how much is the cost?
- Bo'il (with a glottal stop between o and i) - Car
- Bokap - Father
- Nyokap - Mother
- Bonyok - Mother and Father combined, also a slang which means a bruise.
- Cabé - chili pepper (cabai)
- Capek - Tired (lelah)
- Kebon - Garden (kebun)
- Nyolot - Haughty, arrogant.
- Doang (from 'saja')- which means only, that's all
- Émangnya kenapa? - So what? / What does it matter?
- Gilé! (from 'gila')- An exclamation meaning crazy/insane/obscene, as emphasis to a sentence or phrase.
- Gua/Gué - I, Me, from the Betawi dialect
- Jayus (from 'jail, usil') - Not funny or unimpressive.
- Manyun - Someone with protruding lips, usually used to describe when someone is upset.
- Mécing - From English word matching which means fitting.
- Busét - A form of expression which is similar to "Oh My God" or "Alas".
- Lu/Lo - You, from the Betawi dialect
- Pengen - Want (ingin)
- Sopir - Driver (supir)
- Kondangan - Invitation (undangan), usually a wedding invitation
- Gan/Agan - Boss, from Sundanese "juragan"
- Gendut or Gembrot - Fat
- Gombal - Crazy or, as another term, flirtatious words
- Sinting - Crazy, a mad person.
- Yo'i - Yes, very cool.
- Guga - Juga, (also)
- Ngenlay - Kangen, although "kangen" is slang for rindu.
The following words are taken from Hokkien (Fukkien) Chinese, and commonly used in transactions.
- Gocap - IDR 50
- Cepek - IDR 100
- Gopek - IDR 500
- Seceng - IDR 1000
- Cenggo - IDR 1500
- Goceng - IDR 5000
- Ceban - IDR 10.000
- Goban - IDR 50.000
However, many Indonesians of non-Chinese descent do not know the meaning of the transaction words above. Sometimes the word "perak", literally "silver", is used to describe small denominations of currency.
Bandung is the capital city of West Java province with a predominantly Sundanese culture. The Sundanese language has three levels or forms, namely: high (polite), middle class, and low (impolite). Bandung slang often uses the Low Sundanese pronouns along with the many other Sundanese translations of popular Indonesian.
- Aing (from kuring) - I/me
- Sia - you
- Euy - Sundanese particle in the end of the sentence to express excitement and surprise
- Da - Sundanese particle in the end of the sentence to express certainty and emphasizes the meaning, somehow similar to Japanese "desu".
- O'on (from Blo'on) or Oneng (from the name of a slow witted character in Sinetron Bajaj Bajuri) - stupid, dim witted
These slangs are shared across Central Java and Yogyakarta where Javanese is predominantly spoken. Like Sundanese which are spoken in Bandung, Javanese also has 3 different set of vocabularies, based on the politeness level. Common people usually talk with a mix between low-Javanese, middle-Javanese, and Indonesian. Some non-Javanese residents added their own dialects to the pot, resulting what is called the Central Java slang
Jogjakarta slang is also known as Basa Walikan, literally means 'Reverse Language' .
It is a transformation of Javanese, in which Javanese consonants are switched with one another, as shown below:
- ha na ca ra ka ↔ pa dha ja ya nya
- da ta sa wa la ↔ ma ga ba tha nga
With the above rules, the expletive expression Matamu! (which literally means: 'Your Eyes!') becomes Dagadu!. The following website automatically performs this transformation: Walikan Translator
Malang slang is inverted alphabetical word (mostly from Javanese and little bit from Indonesian). The way is just read from end of the word. Example: Ongis Nade comes from Singo Edan (the supporter of Malang Football Club), "Helum" comes from "Muleh" (Go home in Javanese), and some name of place like "Sawojajar" become "Rajajowas".
As the second largest city in Indonesia and the capital of East Java, Surabaya uses a rougher dialect of Javanese and has a fairly complete list of its own slang. Javanese language originated from the Central Javanese farmland and by the time it reached the coastal area of East Java, it changed from its original polite form into a more impolite version with the creation or further adaptation of many new 'Javanese-style' words and swearwords, many of which are used throughout Indonesia today, like Opo cok?? means "what's up?", Kon means "you".
Medan is the capital of North Sumatra Province. Most of the slang from Medan are heavily influenced by Hokkien and Karo language. For example, Bapa for " Father", Nande for " Mother ", Tutup lampu for "turn off the light", Buka radio for "turn on the radio". Another example of Medan slang is by adding "punya" at the end of the sentence. For example "mobil aku punya" for "my car". They also have the tendency to confuse between e and é.
Jambi & Palembang slang
Jambi and Palembang slang mostly involves changing the letter at the end of the word with letter 'o'. However, not all words can be modified to include the characteristic 'o', as this rule applies mostly to words ending with the letter 'a'. Sometimes Palembang use shorter-version of word by erase first syllables, like 'segala' in standard Malay-Indonesian to 'galo'.
- Kito - kita (we)
- Galo - segala (all, every)
- Napo - kenapa (why or what happen?)
Another characteristic pattern of Jambi and Palembang slang involves the addition or replacement of the final letter of a word with 'k'.
- Pulak - pula (too, also, as well)
- Aek - air (water)
Another classic Malay Sumatran dialect also prevailed in most of Sumatran cities, from Palembang to Bengkulu, Jambi and Pekanbaru. These classical Malay words such as nian is used in Sumatran cities instead of sangat or banget (very).
- Nian - nian (classical Malay) - sangat (standard Indonesian) - banget (Indonesian slang)
Makassarese slang is highly influenced by the native Makassarese dialect and sometimes combined with Chinese accents. The slang, in the end, sounds more informal and 'rude', as going with the tough image of Makassarese people. The possessive word for you (kamu) has three degrees of politeness: -ta (very formal and respectful), -mu (neutral), and -nu (informal). For example:
- This book belongs to you → Buku ini punya-ta (the - reads as a glottal stop, which makes it punya'ta. In Makassarese dialect, the apostrophe is sometimes added in written form). Buku ini punya'mu is deemed more neutral, while Buku ini punya'nu is only spoken with very close friends.
Meanwhile, the word for you itself is divided into two, the formal ki and the informal ko.
- 'Di mana maki (Where are you now) as opposed to informal 'Di mana moko. The -ma and -mo derives from the -mi which is often added in the end of words, having various meanings. It is hard to determine when to use mi or not, except to learn it by heart.
Ini mi? -> 'This one?' Biarkan mi -> 'Let it go' Ko sudah belajar mi? -> 'Have you studied?'. Ko derives from the informal Indonesian word Kau, which stands for 'you'. Sudah dimulaimi itu ulangan? -> 'Has the exam started?', literally, 'Has-been started-the exam?'
Ji is also often used in the end of words. Most often, it means 'only', or used to give a more assuring tone to a sentence.
- Sedikit ji -> 'It's only a little'
- Tidak apa-apa ji -> 'It's okay'
- Tidak susah ji soalnya -> 'The problem isn't difficult.'
Di functions more like a question tag, read with a glottal stop at the end, which makes it to be 'dik'
- Tidak susah ji di?? -> It's not difficult, right?
Aside from that, Makassarese more often speak with a heavier accent, mixing many of the Indonesian words with native Makassar words.
- Tena ku isseng'i apa maksudnya (or even more complicated Tena ku isseng'i apa massu'na ) -> Literally, "No I understand what its meaning", actually meaning, "I don't understand what it means". In places, Makassarese slangs add -i at the end of words, putting a glottal stop before that. Furthermore, the words tend to be shortened considerably, which makes -nya read as -na and words ending with -d or -t gets its ending replaced with glottal stops. Menyusut (shrinking) becomes menyusuk, and vice versa. Native Makassar people usually reads becak (pedicab) as becat.
- "Indonesian, A language of Indonesia". Ethnologue Languages of the World. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- Bahasa ABG dalam Cerpen Remaja: Implikasi Pengajarannya bagi Siswa/i Sekolah Menegah di Australia
- "Particles". Bahasa Kita. Retrieved 27 February 2014.