Dr. James Sneddon

Words for ‘Give’: Kasi(h) and Beri(kan)

In Formal Indonesian memberi, optionally occurring with suffix-kan, is the general word for ‘give’. In Colloquial Jakartan Indonesian the more common word is kasi ~ kasih: Saya suka membantu. Saya kadang-kadang dikasi tip gitu, dikasi…

Words for ‘Like, Resembling’: Kayak and Seperti

These mean ‘like’, as in kayak gua/seperti saya means ‘like me’. Seperti is the H variant, being the only one to occur in Formal Indonesian. Kayak, sometimes pronounced kaya, kaye, or keye, is very…

Ngapain and Related Words

In Colloquial Jakartan Indonesian ngapain, based on apa ‘what’, usually means ‘What (are you) doing?’: Elu ngapain di sini? you do.what at here What are you doing here? Hari Sabtu kita mau ngapain dong?…

Words for ‘So That’: Biar, Agar and Supaya

Biar has a number of related meanings in both forms of Indonesian. It can mean ‘let,allow’: Kalo tangan kanan jalan biar aja tangan kiri di belakang. if hand right move let just hand…

Words for ‘Later’: Entar and Nanti

These are adjuncts of time, meaning ‘later’, usually with the implication that it will be soon. In English future action is usually indicated by other means so that there is rarely a specific…

Indicators of Plurality: Para and Pada

The word para is becoming increasingly common in standard Formal Indonesian as a plural marker for humans. Para is an inclusive plural, referring to everyone in the group identified. It immediately precedes the noun:…

Words for ‘Or’ and ‘Or Not’: Apa and Atau

In Formal Indonesian atau means ‘or’. In Colloquial Jakartan Indonesian apa can occur with the same meaning: Itu sebelum tablo apa sesudah tablo? that before tableau or after tableau Was that before the tableau…

Words for ‘Only, Just’: Cuma, Cuman and Hanya

Hanya is the H word for ‘only, just’. Cuma is much more frequently used than hanya and while it does occur in Formal Indonesian it is infrequent there. It is therefore quite strongly marked for…

Words for ‘Just’: Aja, Doang and Saja

In addition to aja as an informal alternative to Formal Indonesian saja, a Jakarta Malayword doang sometimes occurs in Colloquial Jakartan Indonesian with the same meaning. While this does not occur often it is nevertheless…

Words for ‘big’: Gede and Besar

The common word for ‘big’ in FI is besar. The word gede does not occur in FI but is the more common word in CJI, especially among young people. Examples: Tempatnya romantis dan…

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