Indonesian has a standard writing and spelling system. It is the result of deliberate language planning. It is taught in schools and is adhered to by literate people in formal writing.

On the other hand, informal or colloquial Indonesian. is the language of everyday communication between Indonesians in all but formal situations. So, there is no standardized spelling system for informal or colloquial Indonesian.

Diglossia in Indonesian can be very confusing because the language has significantly different ‘high’ and ‘low’ varieties. Each of the varieties has a different function and these functions are distinct. For example when talking to people close to you you would use the Low variety of the language, but in more formal situations you would use the high variety. There is also generally prestige associated with the use of the High variety.

This chapter is not a dictionary. It is a small working vocabulary and definitions for important or frequently encountered words and terms in Indonesian language both formal and colloquial. Each word contains an explanation and cross-references to other relevant grammar terms, the meaning, the synonym (or at least near-synonyms), and the usage in a sentence and/or in a conversation.

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