Bahasa means language, and Bahasa Indonesia is
the lingua franca of the archipelago. With over 350 native
languages currently in use throughout the country, a good
lingua franca is clearly necessary… When pronounced or
spoken, sentences in Bahasa Indonesia (Bahasa) are usually
not as lively as English, and like Deutsche (German),
words in Bahasa are pronounced pretty much as they are
written. In comparison to European languages, the grammar
is very simple.
It's good to speak a bit of the language of a country
you are visiting, or at least understand commonly used
expression or greetings - this will allow you to get better
involved with the people and culture. It also helps to
speak a bit of the language when bargaining for souvenirs
in the tourism areas, as a little knowledge goes a long
way to getting a better price!
Linda of the United Kingdom told us of her funny experience
with Bahasa… She wanted to buy a young coconut somewhere
in Kuta and knew what a young coconut was in Bahasa. However,
what she said surprised the vendor. "What did you say?"
asked the vendor… it was then that Linda realized what
she'd said. Instead of asking for kelapa muda -
a young coconut -- she asked for kepala muda -
a young head. Interesting request… easily done, but it
all adds to the fun of an out-of-country experience. So
give it a go - you never know where a bit of Bahasa might
Here are some common expressions you are bound to hear
/ see / be able to use:
Tidak terimah kasih
How are you?
Have a nice meal
Have a nice trip / holiday
Have a nice trip / goodbye (if someone is leaving)
Goodbye (if you are leaving)
Don't mention it
No thank you
How much does it cost / what's the price?
Can I bargain?