Jump to content

Manado Malay

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Manado Malay
Bahasa Manado
Native toIndonesia
RegionNorth Sulawesi
Native speakers
850,000 (2001)[1]
Malay Creole
  • East Indonesian
    • Manadoic Malay
      • Manado Malay
  • Bitung
  • Bunaken
Language codes
ISO 639-3xmm

Manado Malay, or simply the Manado language, is a creole language spoken in Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi province in Indonesia, and the surrounding area. The local name of the language is bahasa Manado, and the name Minahasa Malay is also used,[2] after the main ethnic group speaking the language. Since Manado Malay is used primarily for spoken communication, there is no standard orthography.

Manado Malay differs from standard Malay in having numerous Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, and Ternate loan words, as well as having traits such as its use of kita as a first person singular pronoun, rather than as a first person inclusive plural pronoun. It is derived from North Moluccan Malay (Ternate Malay), which can be evidenced by the number of Ternate loanwords in its lexicon.[3] For example, the pronouns ngana ('you', singular) and ngoni ('you', plural) are of Ternate–Tidore origin.[4] Manado Malay has been displacing the indigenous languages of the area.[5]





The vowel system of Manado Malay consists of five vowel phonemes.[6]

Manado Malay vowels
Front Central Back
High i u
Mid e ə o
Low a



Manado Malay has nineteen consonants and two semivowels.[7]

North Moluccan Malay consonants
Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Plosive p b t d c ɟ k ɡ ʔ
Fricative f v s h
Lateral l
Trill r
Semivowel w j



Most words in Manado Malay have stress on the pre-final syllable:

kadéra 'chair'
sténga 'half'
dói 'money'

However, there are also many words with final stress:

butúl 'right, correct, true'
tolór 'egg; testicle'
sabóng 'soap'






Pronoun Standard Indonesian Manado Malay
First singular aku kita
First plural kami/kita torang
Second singular kamu ngana
Second plural kalian ngoni
Third singular dia dia
Third plural mereka dorang



Possessives are built by adding pe to the personal pronoun or name or noun, then followed by the 'possessed' noun. Thus pe has the function similar to English "'s" as in "the doctor's uniform".

English Manado Malay
My friend kita pe tamang / ta pe tamang
Your (sing.) friend ngana pe tamang / nga pe tamang
His/her book dia pe buku / de pe buku
This book is yours (pl.) ini ngana pe buku

Interrogative words


The following are the interrogative words or "w-words" in Manado Malay:

English Manado Malay
why kyápa
where di mána
who sápa
which one(s) tu mána

Grammatical aspect


Ada ('to be') can be used in Manado Malay to indicate the perfective aspect, e.g.:

  • Dorang ada turung pigi Wenang = 'They already went down to Wenang'
  • Torang so makang = 'We ate already' or 'We have eaten already'
  • kita = 'me', 'myself', 'I' or 'we', 'us'
  • torang = 'we', 'us'.

Nasal final


The final nasals /m/ and /n/ in Indonesian are replaced by the "-ng" group in Manado Malay, similar with Terengganu dialect of Malaysia, e.g.:

  • makang (Indonesian makan) = 'to eat',
  • jalang (Indonesian jalan) = 'to walk',
  • sirang (Indonesian siram) = 'to shower', etc.



"ba-" prefix


The ber- prefix in Indonesian, which serves a function similar to the English -ing, is modified into ba- in Manado Malay. E.g.: bajalang (berjalan, 'walking'), batobo (berenang, 'swimming'), batolor (bertelur, 'laying eggs')

"ma(°)-" prefix


° = ng, n, or m depending on phonological context.

The me(°)- prefix in standard Indonesian, which also serves a function to make a verb active, is modified into ma(°)- in Manado Malay. E.g.: mangael (mengail, 'hooking fish'), manari (menari, 'dancing'), mancari (mencari, 'searching'), mamasa (memasak, 'cooking'), manangis (menangis, 'crying').





Due to the historical presence of the Dutch and the Portuguese in eastern Indonesia, several Manado Malay words originate from their languages. However, there is little influence from the local Minahasan languages, and borrowings from Spanish are not very prominent either – in spite of the historical Spanish dominance – suggesting that Manado Malay was transplanted from outside the Minahasa region.[8] On the other hand, Portuguese influence is comparatively significant,[8] considering that the Portuguese presence in the area was relatively limited.[9] There is also a layer of loanwords from the non-Austronesian language of Ternate, which was controlled by the Portuguese in the period 1512–1655.[8]

Standard Indonesian Colloquial Indonesian Manado Malay loanword Source language Source word English
topi capéo Portuguese chapéu cap, hat
bosan fastíu Portuguese fastio bored
untuk for Dutch voor for
garpu porok fork Dutch vork fork
tenggorokan gargántang Portuguese garganta throat
kursi kadèra kadéra Portuguese cadeira chair
bendera bandéra Portuguese bandeira flag
saputangan lénso Portuguese lenço handkerchief
tapi mar Dutch maar but
jagung mílu Portuguese milho corn, maize
sudah kêlar klar Dutch klaar finished
paman om om Dutch oom uncle
nenek oma oma Dutch oma grandmother
kakek opa opa Dutch opa grandfather
teduh sómbar Portuguese sombra shade
keringat suár Portuguese suar sweat
bibi tantê tánte Dutch tante aunt
dahi tésta Portuguese testa forehead, temple
penyu tuturúga Portuguese tartaruga turtle
sepatu chapátu Portuguese sapato shoe(s)
kebun kintál Portuguese quintal (agricultural) field or garden

Indonesian loanwords from Manado Malay


Several words in Manado Malay are loaned to standard Indonesian:

  • baku (which indicates reciprocality) e.g.: baku hantam ('to punch each other'), baku ajar ('to hit each other'), baku veto ('to debate one another'), baku sedu ('to laugh oneselves off'), and baku dapa ('to meet each other'). Originally a loanword from Ternate, it has spread through Manado Malay into other regions of Indonesia.[10]



Examples :

  • Kita or ta = I
  • Ngana or na = you
  • Torang or tong = we
  • Dorang or dong = they
  • Io = yes
  • Nyanda’ or Nda = no (' = glottal stop)

Sentences :

  • Kita/ta pe mama da pi ka pasar : My mother went to the market
  • Nyanda’/Nda’ makang Ngana dari kalamareng. : You haven't eaten since yesterday.
  • Jang badusta ngana pa kita! : Don't lie to me!
  • Pasti torang/tong bisa! : We can surely it.


  1. ^ Manado Malay at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Stoel 2007, p. 117.
  3. ^ Allen & Hayami-Allen 2002, p. 21.
  4. ^ Bowden 2005, p. 137.
  5. ^ Henley 1996, p. 86.
  6. ^ Warouw 1985, p. viii.
  7. ^ Warouw 1985, p. ix.
  8. ^ a b c Prentice 1994, p. 412.
  9. ^ Schouten 1998, p. 39–40.
  10. ^ Prentice 1994, p. 432.

Works cited

  • Allen, Robert B. Jr.; Hayami-Allen, Rika (2002). "Orientation in the Spice Islands" (PDF). In Macken, Marlys (ed.). Papers from the Tenth Annual Meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society. Tempe: Program for Southeast Asian Studies, Arizona State University. pp. 21–38. ISBN 1-881044-29-7. OCLC 50506465. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2022-12-25.
  • Bowden, John (2005). "Language Contact and Metatypic Restructuring in the Directional System of North Maluku Malay" (PDF). Concentric: Studies in Linguistics. 31 (2): 133–158. doi:10.6241/concentric.ling.200512_31(2).0006.
  • Henley, David (1996). Nationalism and regionalism in a colonial context: Minahasa in the Dutch East Indies. Leiden: KITLV Press.
  • Prentice, Jack (1994). "Manado Malay: Product and agent of language change". In Dutton, Tom; Tryon, Darrell T. (eds.). Language Contact and Change in the Austronesian World. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. pp. 411–442. doi:10.1515/9783110883091.411. ISBN 978-3-11-012786-7.
  • Schouten, M. J. C. (1998). Leadership and social mobility in a Southeast Asian society: Minahasa, 1677–1983. Leiden: KITLV Press. pp. 39–40.
  • Stoel, Ruben (2007). "The Intonation of Manado Malay". In van Heuven, Vincent J.; van Zanten, Ellen (eds.). Prosody in Indonesian Languages. LOT Occasional Series, Vol. 9. Utrecht: LOT, Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics. pp. 117–150. CiteSeerX ISBN 978-90-78328-44-5.
  • Warouw, Martha Salea (1985). Kamus Manado-Indonesia (PDF). Jakarta: Pusat Pembinaan dan Pengembangan Bahasa.