Exposure to the unknown world can be tedious, but exciting. If you have the courage to step into a new world, the world will expand and you will have unexpected encounters.
For me, this unknown world might be “Indonesia”. The grammar and vocabulary, which are different from Japanese, are fresh and interesting, but I am also attracted by the cute pronunciation, and I am a little distracted.
Knowing the language also provides an understanding of the country’s background and people. Therefore, this time I would like to focus on “pronunciation”, one of the joys of learning a language, and introduce some Indonesian words that sound interesting and even more interesting when you know the meaning.
1. kira-kira means: about
・I will arrive at that restaurant about 7 p.m.
(I arrive at the restaurant around seven in the evening.)
When you hear the word “kirakira” in Japan, you get a sparkling image, but in Indonesian it means “about” or “about.” In English, it is about, which is often used to express approximate time and distance. It is also sometimes used in the sense of “proper”.
In Indonesia, the word “kira-kira” comes up a lot in conversation, and I guess it has something to do with the casual national character.
In contrast to Japan, things rarely go according to plan in Indonesia. I can’t say “what day” or “what time”, so I tend to say “roughly what day” or “about what time”.
2. jam karet means: rubber time
・Occurs frequently in Indonesia rubber clockso it is difficult to get together on time.
(difficult to gather on time because rubber time often happens in Indonesia)
Jam means time and karet means rubber. I explained before that Indonesia is more relaxed in terms of time than Japan, but this jam karet is also a word related to time. Time stretches like rubber, so it’s only natural that things don’t go as planned.
I also have Indonesian friends, but at first I was confused by this jam carret culture. Many people think that being late is inevitable, and I remember well that I couldn’t adjust to being different from Japan at first.
So, once I was pissed off by a friend who was late so many times, I asked, “Don’t you feel sorry for him being late?” Then the friend said, “No, I’d rather thank you for coming all the way.
Of course, some Indonesians are punctual and some are not. However, after listening to this friend, I realized that a way of thinking can lead to a generous heart, and my vision has been broadened.
3. jalan jalan (meaning: walk)
・I want to go todaygo out for a walk In the park, because the weather is sunny.
(The weather is fine today, I want to go for a walk in the park.)
The word jalan has different meanings depending on how it is used as follows.
・jalan jalan: walking
・berjalan jalan: take a walk
Some take long walks, others travel. Interestingly, one word jalan (road) derives another related word, like a game of association. The word “Jalan Jalan” is so familiar to us that we want to use it in conversation.
4. Kenyan meaning: complete
・I eat a lot, that’s it full.
(I ate too much, I’m full)
Kenyayang, meaning “to be full”, is a word that is often used casually in conversation with Indonesians. In Indonesia, people often talk about food as a greeting, such as “Are you full?” or “Are you full?”
Also, this kenyang aside, there are quite a few words in Indonesia that use the “nya nu nyo” sound. The lovely sounds of menyanyi (singing), nyamuk (mosquito) and nyaman (comfort) are often soothing.
5. tidak apa apa means: ok, no problem
・Terima kasih banyak atas bantuannya.
・It doesn’t matterJika Anda membutuhkan lebih banyak tenaga kerja, beri tahu saya kapan saja.
Tidak apa apa means “it’s okay” or “no problem”, and if you dig a little deeper, it’s often used to mean “don’t worry” or “it’ll work out”. As an image, it may be close to the Okinawan dialect “Nankurunaisa”.
This is a very Indonesian word, which shows the national character of Indonesians who don’t care about small things.
think of people in language
One of the reasons I like learning a foreign language is that it gives a glimpse into the values and way of life of the people of that country through the language. There is a word “wabi-sabi” in Japan. I think this word is wonderful because it conveys the unique Japanese sensibility, which perceives elegance and beauty from simple things.
When learning a foreign language, try to imagine people from that country, not just memorize it. By imagining the background behind the words, I feel that I can get closer to the hearts of the people of that country.
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Freelance writer. Born in a rural area where only trains run every few hours, he became interested in the outside world, such as the city and overseas. I learned Bahasa Indonesia in college and since then I have been obsessed with Bali and now I go there quite often. I like to travel abroad and around Japan, get in touch with the values of the local people, feel the beauty of nature, and have heart-warming experiences.