Omaigot Tengkyu!

May 24th, 2010, in Society, by

Inglonesian terms and expressions, battles against their use, and examples.

In his 2000 book "The People Next Door" Australian journalist Duncan Graham noted down the number of words derived from English used by academic Daniel Sparringa at a 30 minute public lecture in Surabaya, including:

proses, frustrasi, delegasi, kampanye, kudeta, informasi, problem, sistem, presiden, partisipasi, strategik planning, sosial, politik, ekonomi, stimuli, relatif, stres, konsultasi, telepon, professional, krisis, teori, diskusi panel, prinsip, publik servis, agresif, demokrasi, objektivitas, fakta, jargon, .....

Some linguists and others are unhappy about the enthusiasm with which Indonesians take up, and run with English terms, as in the Sparringa example. Ivan Lanin, Executive Director of Wikimedia Indonesia, wages a personal battle against such words, and attempts to replace them with 'native' Indonesian substitutes.

For example Ivan eschews the use of "email", substituting it with surel (an acronym from surat elektronik or electronic mail), and frowns upon the use of "online", instead using daring (from dalam jaringan). He doesn't issue "tweets" at Twitter.com either, but rather kicauan.

Ivan believes it is a simple matter of having pride in one's own language.

yukensi
A 'Yukensi' women's top

Meanwhile some commonly used informal words from English that are regularly used by Indonesians, with a similar pronunciation to standard English albeit with Javanese accent or other, and that have been transformed in written form:

In Yogyakarta there is even a restaurant called Matur TengkYu, a play on the Javanese term for thank you, matur nuwun
The "Matur TengkYu" restaurant in Yogyakarta, a play on the Javanese term for "thank you", "matur nuwun".

  • tengkyu (thankyou)
  • tengs (thanks)
  • omaigot/omaigad (oh my god)
  • seksi (sexy)
  • fesbuk (Facebook)
  • fesfud/fasfud (fast food)
  • donlod (download)
  • yukensi (you can see)
  • heppi (happy)

There are of course many others....


30 Comments on “Omaigot Tengkyu!”

  1. avatar Chris says:

    I know it’s not actually the same idea/principle, but I also read in “The People Next Door” about this one:

    Cat Oven

    (For the uninitiated, a “cat oven” is a car spray-paint shop. So it isn’t hard to find a sign like “Bengkel & Cat Oven”.)

    Others I have heard recently include:

    Toga – black academic graduation gown, not Ancient Greek clothes

    Sori, ya – sorry, seems to be replacing “Ma’af” or “Permisi”

    Jangan selalu negative thinking, dong!

  2. avatar deta says:

    Omaigot, I wouldn’t let my cat near that bengkel!

    Even worse, we insert prefix or suffix into those terms, like:
    Fesbukan (using facebook)
    Ye-eman (using yahoo messenger)
    Ngedonlod (downloading)
    Ngimel (sending an e-mail)

    And of course, combined with sundanese, we have:
    Tararengkyu (thank you so much)
    Hararepi (everybody is happy)

    😀

  3. avatar madrotter says:

    i like those sundanese ones! they are not pikasebleun at all!

    and i keep finding these little red creatures in my garden, they might be deadly, anybody knows?

  4. avatar madrotter says:

    they’re around 20 centimeter long and they don’t have a betekok at all…

  5. avatar Hans says:

    I often get messages like this, and understand absolutely nothing.

    Huh! PGen cPet2 pNdFtrn, trZ dtRma d SmaneLa (amen). AYow EZT ndang buDhaL Bali Nang. Q da kGen bGet mA Sodara ad3k2 q YG d tmpt2 wsta + Bali + Bali kulinariska kyckling Khaz betutu smbeL kcAnG BwanGx ma. Elka ma Sahal, SBR yach tUngGuiN mbAg ditha, q kGen BRT mRka nie ma! Huh!

  6. avatar madrotter says:

    hahaha i get that with some of these smsses that i get

  7. avatar deta says:

    I don’t know exactly the name of that snake, Madrotter, but you can always call it “si borokokok”. We use that to refer to an annoying species, including human 😀

  8. avatar Chris says:

    and frowns upon the use of “online”, instead using daring (from dalam jaringan).

    Rather confusingly, “Online” can also have a couple of other meanings in Indonesia:

    1. Engaged/On another call.
    So when the person you want to speak to is “sedang online”, the receptionist doesn’t mean using the phone line for the Internet.

    2. “Online booking”
    Can mean booking via phone/sms, before Internet (or blackberry) booking. Was particularly common with Garuda and Merpati.

    And can somebody explain to me how Hunting came to mean “Call Centre” or “Receptionist”? It says that in the phone directory/yellow pages all the time for larger companies.

  9. avatar deta says:

    And can somebody explain to me how Hunting came to mean “Call Centre” or “Receptionist”? It says that in the phone directory/yellow pages all the time for larger companies.

    As far as I know, “hunting” is a facility provided by Telkom for those who have two or more telephone lines. By simply calling the “hunting number” or the main number, callers will automatically be connected to one of the telephone numbers that are not used (free). So, I think the term comes from the idea that the caller is “hunting” a free line.

  10. avatar madrotter says:

    i lik e “indehoi” which is an indonesian term for making out, it’s dutch and means in the hay (like a roll in the hay)…

  11. avatar Ross says:

    It’s the heppy mispronunciation of happy, and similar, like ‘tengks’ for thanks, that gets me. Why can’t they use an A properly, as it is part of the language here. Nobody says Jelen Jekse or Feletehen. So I must assume it’s how people here hear Aussie or Yank accents, as Ulster-Scots, home or away, call an A an A!

  12. avatar Tence says:

    Most of those words mentioned in the article were introduced during the Dutch era and can hardly be called English. For instance ‘demokrasi’ comes from the Dutch ‘democratie’ not the English ‘democracy’ (which both are derived from Greek actually)

    These terms have been there for decades, some even centuries. I can imagine you disapprove of ‘tengkyu’ in the language, but would you really want to substitue words like president or the very ‘English’ coup d’etait (kudeta)

  13. avatar TheWrathOfGrapes says:

    /// For example Ivan eschews the use of “email”, substituting it with surel (an acronym from surat elektronik or electronic mail) ///

    How original is “elektronik”?

  14. avatar realest says:

    Free man -> Preman == local bully 😉

  15. avatar Guna2 says:

    Quite right, Tence, of the examples mentioned in the first quotation, only publik servis, professional, and strategik planning are English, and the latter should be spelled plening. Them Anglobloodysaxons still think they rule the waves.

  16. avatar venna says:

    @Guna2:
    Where you got your avatar?? I thought there was a bug in my screen and I almost wiped it!

  17. avatar justme says:

    ah lu semua kurang gaul dech!!!

  18. avatar deta says:

    Sori, gue emang ga demen kelabing (clubbing) 🙂

  19. avatar realest says:

    I also thought there was a bug on my screen. Guna2, your avatar is going to my image collection 😀

  20. avatar BrotherMouzone says:

    For example Ivan eschews the use of “email”, substituting it with surel (an acronym from surat elektronik or electronic mail)

    Isn’t that a bit redundant when “Electronik” is an English word also?

    I am waging my own crusade against the influx of Indonesian words into the English dictionary. We should ban words such as Satay and Orangutan and replace them with good old fashioned English versions such as “Strimeaticks” (Stringy meat on sticks) and “Ginkeys” (Ginger Monkeys).

  21. avatar T says:

    The fact is Bahasa Indonesia or Bahasa Malaysia is inadequate for modern use.

  22. avatar K says:

    oh hello, that’s my uncle Ivan up there…. I didnt know he’s such a die-hard supporter of indonesian language.

    I went to Malaysia recently and felt awkward about their “kata serapan”… Like stesen for station, imigresen for immigration, and epal for apple (I seriously dont know how to read that one, so I read it like e-pal… like in paypal :P)…. Anyways, bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia seems outdated because the inventions are not in those language. Doesn’t mean that it’s inadequate to use anymore… All languages in this world will derive from each other at one point. Like Chinese’s ke kou ke le for coke, or Japanese’s detto for date, or even the English word ‘cave’, from the Arabic ‘kahf’ (I think…? Correct me if I’m wrong). So, there.

    Though, I do use OMG dragon A LOT when i was in high school. Yes, it’s from “astaga naga” lol…

  23. avatar Guna2 says:

    K: All languages in this world will derive from each other at one point.

    And English has done so more than any other language: “…by 1500 the language had incorporated tens of thousands [of words]. Eventually it would become the most etymologically multilingual language on earth” (David Crystal, The Stories of English, Allen Lane, 2004)
    An inadequate language, T?

    @venna a.o.: No idea were I stole the bug avatar. Pretty irritating, isn’t it? I’ll keep it.

  24. avatar mommo says:

    Before snearing at others weakness, Mr Patung, look at yourself! All the words you mention as english are actually derived from latin or ancient greek.

    Here is the list right?

    proses, frustrasi, delegasi, kampanye, kudeta, informasi, problem, sistem, presiden, partisipasi, strategik planning, sosial, politik, ekonomi, stimuli, relatif, stres, konsultasi, telepon, professional, krisis, teori, diskusi panel, prinsip, publik servis, agresif, demokrasi, objektivitas, fakta, jargon, …..

    I don’t see one proper english word in these…. So I guess we too can sneer at english people using and adapting words foreign to their culture!

  25. avatar David says:

    Mr Mommo, there was no sneering at all, the post is about

    Inglonesian terms and expressions, battles against their use, and examples.

    Nor any suggestion of weakness. I was quoting Duncan Graham with the first examples, and there was no sneering from him either.

  26. avatar Guna2 says:

    mommo (PM) says: All the words you mention as english are actually derived from latin or ancient greek.

    No they weren’t, they were derived from Dutch (apart from the few exceptions I mentioned above). Just have a look at the word endings. Ultimately, they are from Latin and ancient Greek, of course. And French, in one case.

  27. avatar Winmar says:

    Is there a language that borrows from others more than Indonesian/Malay these days? Sometimes it makes me laugh, other times cringe.

    When I was last over in January there were billboards everywhere with “jangan lebay plis!” on them. Someone explained what it meant, but the meaning escapes me now.

    That bug avatar is annoying as all hell! 🙂

    Where can I get a cat oven?

  28. avatar Chris says:

    Where can I get a cat oven?

    There’s one near my place, if you’re passing by any time soon…

  29. avatar Tukiyem says:

    Add one more word which is very popular in Kaskus: CEKIDOT —> Check it out. Javanese English.

  30. avatar K says:

    @Winmar: Does it really matter if a language borrows other languages? I think, the fact that they managed to localise the borrowed language itself have proven that the original culture of that society is still deeply rooted within. I mean, there’s no right or wrong in language itself, right? And actually, English itself was constructed from different languages all over the world. Nothing’s wrong with that, right? At one point, everything is so intertwined that it’s just weird to discuss who had this word and who had that word first.

    Jangan lebay plis means don’t overact please… Or something like that, lol…. Lebay means “too much”, could be applied in everything intangible. Lebay. Such a weird word 😛

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