Indonesian Language

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Indonesian Language is the language used in Indonesia. It is part of a language branch called Austronesian Language and a direct descendant of Malay Language used mostly in Malaysia, Singapore, part of Thailand, Brunai-Darussalam, Sumatra, part of Java, part of Borneo, Celebes, Molucca Islands, etc.



Indonesian language does not use tenses as in English. To state the time, it relied on time-denotation adverbs usage, such as yesterday, tomorrow, etc., but usually it is already understood.


To express pluralization, Indonesian Language uses repeating word such as buku-buku (books'), orang-orang (people), etc, or using numerals such as lima puluh meja (fifty tables), sebelas pemain (eleven players).

Word Order

Indonesian Language uses "explaned-explanation" word order, contrary to English. So, to state that the book is red, it used buku merah, contrary to English red book (merah means red and buku means book). You could also say: buku yang berwarna merah (the book which is red), to state a specific book.

In grammatical word order, Indonesian Language uses more or less the same word order as English, that is Subject-verb-object for active sentence and object-verb-subject for passive sentence.


Unlike English, there are no gender difference in pronouns nor "genderization" in nouns. To state the gender, it uses the word perempuan or wanita for people and betina for animals to state female gender; and laki-laki or pria for people and jantan for animals to state male gender. So a boy would be called anak laki-laki and a girl would be called anak perempuan; female and male cats would be called kucing betina and kucing jantan.

Formal and Informal Language

There are quite big differences between formal and informal sentence in Bahasa Indonesia. People tend to abbreviate or ommit certain part of sentence in informal conversation. Special terms or slang language also exist.

Informal language mixed with local dialects a lot, such as Javanese, Sundanese or Batavian (or Betawi, which is Malay dialect used in Jakarta), etc. Both Javanese and Sundanese are a completely different language. Some people use Indonesian language mixed with either broken English or Dutch.

Young people and high class society mixed a lot English in their language as English is considered a cool language to them. This practice gain a lot of critisizm from Indonesian people as a whole, especially those who concerned in language usage.

People from other "races" such as the Chinese, the Arabs, the Indians in some area, also uses their own language. For example, a lot of Chinese people in Medan city in Sumatra cannot speak Indonesian language properly and use their own language extensively in daily conversation. This practice also gained a lot of critisizm.


Indonesian Language began to develop into a nation wide communication language in 1928, when a National Youth Conference took place and releases a resolution called "Sumpah Pemuda" (Youth's Oath). The content of the oath are:

  • Kami Bangsa Indonesia berbangsa satu, Bangsa Indonesia. (We Indonesian People have only one nation, Indonesia Nation).
  • Kami Bangsa Indonesia berbahasa satu, Bahasa Indonesia. (We Indonesian People have only one language, Indonesian Language).
  • Kami Bangsa Indonesia bertanah air satu, Tanah Air Indonesia. (We Indonesian People have only one motherland, Indonesia Motherland).

This oath was intended to unite the diversed Indonesian people to form a nation-wide movement to educate Indonesian people and to rise against Dutch Colonialization. This event was considered as the beginning of the development of Bahasa Indonesia as a separate language from Malay Language.

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