Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Devi Asks You: What's With 'Bahasa'?

I'm an Indonesian; born, live and grown up in Indonesia. First time being introduced to English formally when I was 8, on the third grade. Nothing special at that time, except for the fact that I could learn English faster than Bahasa Indonesia. Silly, I know.

As time goes by and my blog grows, I feel a lot easier to write in English than in my own mother tongue. It's pretty funny actually, regarding the reality that I've never studied abroad (hopefully after I finish my med school, only God knows).

Anyways, let's back to the topic before I start to ramble. Noted that most of my questions are pointed out to Indonesian bloggers, but well, feel free to drop comments whoever you are. :-)

  • Do you feel the same way too? First of all, when it comes to write something in Bahasa, I'm always confused which pronoun to be used to refer to myself (first person singular)? 'Saya' is the most formal pronoun to be used in school essays and national press, followed by 'Aku' (less formal than 'Saya'). I admitted to use both of them on my previous Indonesian postings, but I did feel rigid  when I read them. 'Gue' is the informal, common casual pronoun on daily conversations among Indonesian people. However sometimes, using it on blog post may be interpreted as rude and uneducated. Whereas in English, 'I' is solely translated for all of them; 'Saya', 'Aku' and 'Gue', and I can just write without worrying about politeness and/or linguistic competence LOL.

  • Does it mean I disrespect my national language? (if I blog in English.) Some people like my own English teachers at school and well-known Indonesian people earning their degree from English Literature once told me that Bahasa is lack of vocabularies. Undeniably, some of its vocabularies are inspired from English (read: Indonesian version of English words).

  • Do you honestly think I have problems with brain-synchronization? (if I cannot mention the Bahasa translation for some English words and unfortunately I know the real meaning only when it states in English) It kinda happens to me somewhat; mostly when my mom asks me about Hollywood movie titles, LOL.

  • Last but not least. Do you want me to keep writing in English on regular basis, or more posts in Bahasa?


  1. pake bhs inggris aja deh dev, uda kebiasaan sejak awal baca blog mu in english ;)
    kalo gw sih tergantung mood aja, makanya isi blog ku campur2, antara english and indo.hehe.

  2. Your problems are my problems, too.

    be lucky, as you use 2 languages in one day: english on your blog, and indonesian.

    I've always used english language on my blog, only this year I used bahasa Indonesia on a few of my posts, I speak both Indonesian and Dutch at home, 100% Dutch outside :) so, imagine how many times I have to switch my languages in one day.

  3. devi both are fine with me ... bagus juga jadi gk lupa dgn dua bahas ... kan kalo mpe lupa bahasa indo disangka sok bule ... kalo gk bisa bhs ingris disangka gk gaul ha ha ha ... so my point is both are fine dear. yg penting reader bisa understand you write right ? :)

  4. Thanks for giving responses so quick, guys! :) I really appreciate it!

    @Vanez: wow that looks tough. Wishing you a very best of luck then! :)

    @nacosu: ok dehhh!! ;)

  5. Write in both languages! :)

    If necessary, you might want to create two blogs, one in English and another one in Indonesian.

  6. yang mana aja sih ok..yang penting ngerti...

  7. Well, I have 2 blogs :-)

    Sometimes when we talk in Bahasa, we tend to use English because we forget the word in Bahasa, but it's okay. It's also applied for me when I learned France, sometimes I forgot how to pronounce "secretary" in English or other words.

    So back to your question, I dont' think that you suffer of brain-synchronization. 2nd. It's up to you, because blog is how you express your feeling, and if English is more comfortable for you, then go for it.

  8. For egoistic reasons I hope of course you will continue writing in English. If you stop bridge-blogging I will not be able to read your posts (unless I take a pressure cooker course Bahassa Indonesia).

  9. Kalau saya kebalikannya. I'm having difficulties writing in English. Padahal my old man keluar duit banyak buat bayarin anaknya kursus bahasa Inggris. Tapi, emang pada dasarnya aja saya ndablek. ahahhahaha...

    Btw, what about u make two blogs instead? one in Bahasa, and the other in english. hueee,,, repot yeee?? Emberrr...

  10. I'll write a long comment here.. hehe.. so please pardon me Dev..

    I write better and more fluent (is this the appropriate term??) in Bahasa, or I prefer to say Indonesian. I feel the same way when using the pronoun in Bahasa. I use all of the pronouns but depends on what content I would write.

    I can't say you disrespect our national language, because I don't know the reason you write in English. For me, you should write for your reader beside for yourself, so it is imperative that all your writing could be understood by your reader. So I don't see anything at all that you disrespect our national language, though I want to read more of your writing in Bahasa too. Well.. keep in mind that our nation is young, and so our national language too, despite the fact that Bahasa originated from Melayu, which is older than Bahasa. I think Bahasa is a still growing language, so it is not odd for the lack of vocabularies. Anyway, I feel that Bahasa lacking flexibility comparative to English, do you feel it too??

    Anyway, I hate some peoples that not proud using Bahasa even that their own national language, and very proud using English, but their English very bad (not fluent enough in reading, listening, speaking, or writing).

    It occurred to me sometime too Dev, when I see some English words or terms, I understood it, but I found it really difficult to translate those to Bahasa. But honestly I think that could happen in all of languages, so this is no brain problem at all, or I have some problems with brain-synchronization as well as you Dev *LOL*

    It's up to you whether you want to write in English or Bahasa, I guess I will love to read your writing :)

  11. @IndraPr: thanks for the suggestions. :)

    @boy: ok deh! :P

    @tere616: in fact I have 5 blogs LOL, but it's kinda hard to maintain several blogs for a single person. :)

    @colson: point taken! :D

    @bloggerbercerita: iya nih, agak repot maintain beberapa blog sekaligus hehe, emang rada males sih.. Hahaha..

    @dee: wow, I'm flattered. Thank you heaps! :)

  12. I don't feel good writing in bahasa, I don't know why. Maybe because my grammar is pretty f*cked up in my own language while my english grammar is not THAT messy.

    But on the oral front, I'd rather speak bahasa than English, of course. What's more natural than chit-chatting in your own language?

    So far I maintain 3 different blogs, two in English and one in Danish and will continue to do so.

    No matter what choice you make, be it bahasa or English, I'm sure it won't pose problems to the readers as most of your readers are bilinguals

  13. @The Writer: you got that right! I always enjoy using my own mother tongue on daily conversations, well on regular basis to be precise. :D

  14. i have started learning indonesian. just wanna say that i think it's an awesome language!! i think i am falling in love with it... : ))


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