Diphtong

‘ai’ becomes ‘é’

In daily spoken Indonesian, diphtongs are often contracted. In some words diphthong ‘ai’ can change/contract into ‘é’ as in ‘egg’.

Formal Colloquial Meaning
cabai cabé chilli
cerai ceré divorced
gulai gulé curry, spicedmeat soup
pakai paké use, wear
satai saté satay
sampai sampé until, arrive, up to

‘au’ becomes ‘o’

In some words diphthong ‘au’ can change/contract into ‘o’ .

Formal Colloquial Meaning
hijau ijo* green
kacau, mengacau ngaco disturb
kerbau kebo buffalo
kalau kalo if, when, unless
pulau pulo island
ramai rame crowded, busy
saudara sodara gentleman, relative

*) In this case, the word ‘hijau’ also lost the ‘h’. See Letter Elimination chapter for more information.

For more information or articles about colloquial, colloquial Indonesian, colloquial Jakartan Indonesian by Dr. Timothy Hassall from ANU, Canberra, Australia, click here.

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