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17 Common Phrases in Indonesian Language You Have to Know

by Tri Setiya

Bahasa Indonesia is one of the easiest languages in the world. Most of people that have mastered Bahasa Indonesia say that it is the quickest language that they learn. How it comes? It is because Bahasa Indonesia has the simple structure. The vocabularies are also not so difficult. However, for the pronunciation in Bahasa Indonesia is little bit different with the pronunciation in English. For those beginners of learner Bahasa Indonesia, here are common phrases in bahasa Indonesia you should master.

  1. Terima Kasih

The word of “terima kasih” means saying thank you in Indonesia. In informal language, you can also say “makasih”. However, if you speak to people who are not so closed to you, you should say “Terima kasih”. Saying “terima kasih” can be used after someone gives you some help. In Indonesia, they usually say this to the waiter or waitress of restaurant after ordering foods. If not, they usually say thank you after get some information they need.

  1. Apa Kabar

“Apa kabar” in English is mostly same with “How are you?” This phrase usually use when someone meets people whom they know before. You can also say “Apa kabarmu?”. Then if someone asks something like this they will answer by “Baik”. It means everything is alright. You can’t use “apa kabar?” for the person whom you meet for the first time. Normally, people will use it when it has been a long time they don’t meet someone.

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  1. Semoga Sukses

This phrase has the same meaning with “good luck”. You can use it while you hear your friend or someone you know will do something important, such as: presentation, test, or even something challenging. You can also say “Semoga beruntung” as the alternative. However, some of people in Indonesia get used to say “Good Luck” too. The word of “good luck” has been quite common in Indonesia. So, it is no problem when you say “Good luck” instead of “Semoga Beruntung”.

  1. Sampai Jumpa

Meanwhile “sampai jumpa” is mostly same with “Good bye” or “see you”. It is a kind of phrases that used by Indonesian while they leave people and want to see them again. You can complete it with “sampai jumpa besok” if you want to say “See you tomorrow”. However, some of Indonesians also likely say “tha tha…” by waving their hand while leaving someone. Underline that the use of “that ha..” is only when you greet someone who close enough with you.

  1. Saya minta maaf

This phrase is a form of apologize or saying sorry. You can say it when you make a mistake. For an option, you can also say sorry by saying “maaf” only. The use of “saya minta maaf” is more formal than the use of “maaf”. In Indonesia, “maaf” is not only use when making a mistake, it is also used when feeling unwell to refuse something or help.

  1. Saya suka sekali

This is an expression of complimenting or exciting because of something. “Saya suka sekali” means “I like it very much.” You can use it when someone gives you something and you like it. You can also say “Ini enak sekali” when someone gives you foods that you really like because it is delicious. “Saya suka sekali” can be used for an expression of satisfaction.

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  1. Baiklah

The word of “baiklah” is used when you want to say “Okay”. You can use it while people ask you to do something and you agree to do it. However, in Indonesia the word of OK has been already familiar. You can say “oke” instead of “Baiklah”. In more informal condition, Indonesian would say “siap” if they are enthusiastic in doing something.

  1. Selamat pagi/siang/sore/malam

Use the phrases for greeting someone. Most of greetings in Bahasa Indonesia begin with selamat (sounds like: “suh-lah-mat”). Selamat pagi used during all morning until around 11 p.m. or noon. Selamat siang used in early day until around 4 p.m. Then you can use selamat sore start from 4 p.m. until around 6 or 7 p.m. (depending on daylight). While selamat malam used after sunset.

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  1. Tidak apa-apa

The term of “tidak apa-apa” can be used while someone says sorry for you. This phrase has the same meaning with “never mind” in English. It can also be the representative of “no problem”. However, Indonesian also says “nggak papa” in informal ways. Remember not to use informal language if you speak to someone who is not so close to you.

  1. Tunggu sebentar

This phrase is also commonly used in Bahasa Indonesia. “Tunggu sebentar” means wait for a while. You can use these words while you ask someone to wait you. As the alternative, you can also replace the phrases with “tunggu dulu”.

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OTHERS (11-20)

  1. Dari mana?: Has the same meaning with the “where have you been?” or “where do you come from?”. You can use it for both formal and informal.
  2. Jangan ganggu saya: Has the same case with “don’t bother/disturb me”. It means you may say this while someone annoy you with some noises or voices.
  3. Tolong bantu saya: It has the same meaning with “can you help me?”. It can be used when you want someone to help you.
  4. Saya mohon: In English it has the same point with “I beg to you.” You can use it while you really want someone to do something.
  5. Tidak boleh: It can be used when you don’t permit someone to do something. The term of “tidak boleh” has the same meaning with “No, you may not.”
  6. Tidak ada: These words mean there is nothing. You can use it while someone ask you start from ‘is there any…..?”.
  7. Apa yang harus saya lakukan?: In English, you must be familiar with “what should I do?”. You can use it while you offer some help or asking to others what you must do.

Those are the common phrases in Indonesia. If you learn Bahasa Indonesia, make sure to take a local people as your personal trainer to listen at your speaking in Bahasa Indonesia. If you have much time, you can take a course in the weekend.

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