As promised , the following post is devoted to basic Indonesian vocabulary that will be of great use for you if you want to explore West Papua on your own without a guide (the guide could cost you up to 500EUR for 4 days only) and go trekking to villages of Baliem Valley. Bahasa Indonesia is really one of the easiest Asian languages. There are no declinations, it sounds very simple as if there was no grammar at all, and the pronunciation shouldn’t be a problem if you know a little bit of Spanish (for us, Polish people – it’s also very easy).
The minimum (about 50 words) you need to know which are the most frequent words that we used during our little ‘expedition’ were:
1.Pagi – Good morning & Sore – Good afternoon/evening
2.Trimakasi – Thank you
3.Tidak – No
4.Ini apa? – What’s this?
5.Berapa? –How much? How much does it cost?
6.Ada buah/sayur/air panas? – Do you have/are there any fruit, vegetables, hot water?
7.Bagaimana jauh ke Hitugi/Yogosem? Satu/dua/tiga jam? – How far (is it) to Hitugi/Yogosem? 1/2/3 hours?
8.Bisa tidur dan makan disini? Ada kamar? – Is it possible/can we sleep and eat here? Is there/do you have a room?
9.Kami mau tidur dan makan disini. Berapa: tidur, makan malam dan makan pagi? – We want to sleep and eat here. How much is accommodation (literally:’sleeping’), dinner and breakfast?
10.Dari mana? – a frequent question addressed to us: Where are you from? The answer: (Kami) dari Polandia. (From Poland/ *you will find a list of more countries further in this post)
11.Kami mau (jalan kaki) ke Hitugi? Kiri? Kanan? Lurus? – We want ( to go by walk) to Hitugi. Left? Right? Straight ahead?
12.Besok kami mau makan pagi 6 jam. – Tomorrow we want breakfast at 6:00.
13.Kami mau kembali disini. – We want to come back here.
14.Di mana angkot ke Kurima – Where (is) the minibus to Kurima?
15.sepuluh ribu – 10.000IDR (this is how much we paid for the first minibus from Kurima, the same amount was a tip to a man from the Dani tribe for taking a photo with him), dua puluh ribu – 20.000IDR (the cost of the second minibus to Kurima)
16.Bagus – great, enak – delicious, besar – big, kecil – small, murah –cheap
17.Saya tidak mengerti – I don’t understand / Aku tahu -I know
How to pronounce Indonesian words?
If you know a little bit of Spanish, the pronunciation will not be that hard for you. Just bear in mind the following rules:
1) the vowels : ‘u’, ‘a’, ‘e’, ‘i’, ‘o’ should be pronounced the Spanish way so respectively: [u:], [a], [e], [i:], [o]; the vowel ‘y’ should be pronounced as [ɪ] e.g. saya [saia] = I/me
2) letter ‘g’ – always [g], e.g. ‘bagus’ [bagu:s] = great
3)letter ‘j’ [dʒ] – e.g. ‘jalan’ should be read [dʒalan] = street
4)letter ‘w’ [w]; e.g. ‘Wamena’ read [wamena] (the same pronunciation as in English)
5)letter ‘c’ [tʃ] (always read the same way); e.g. ‘kecil’ read [ketʃil]= small
6)leller ‘h’ should be read normally, there’s only one exception – when it stands at the end of a word we don’t pronounce it, e.g. the word ‘murah’ should be read [mu:ra:]= cheap
Below you will find a general list of words and expressions/phrases, that we used in the villages, but remember that the vocabulary mentioned above should be enough for a basic communication. If you want to get to know local people closer and get some information related to their culture, ask them some questions regarding their everyday life, the number of people in the village, the number of children going to school, regarding their profession, their families, the age of their children, you can use the vocabulary indicated below 🙂
|Saya – I/me||Kita (including a person we speak to)/Kami (excluding a person we speak to) -we|
|Kamu – you+ Anda – Sir/Madame||Kalian – you (plural)|
|Dia – he, she||Mereka – they|
Selamat pagi – Good morning, they say very often ‘’pagi’’ only
Selamat siang/sore – Good afternoon, saying only ‘‘siang/sore’’
Selamat malam – Good evening/night, saying only ‘’malam’’
Apa kabar? (How are you?) – Kabar baik (I’m fine)
Terima kasih (read: [tri:ma:ka:si:] – Thank you) – Sama Sama(You’re welcome)
Ya – yes =/= tidak – no
Saya dari Polandia – I’m from Poland (literally: ‘Me from Poland’); other countries: Ingrris Raya – Great Britain, Amerika Serikat – USA, Spanyol – Spain, Italia – Italy, Perancis – France, Jerman – Germany, Rusia – Russia
DI MANA? = WHERE?
|Kiri – left =/= kanan (right)
Lurus – straight ahead
Dekat – near =/= jau – far
Kembali – to come back
|Belok – to turn
Berhenti disini – stop here!
Dari (from) =/= ke (to)
Jalan kaki – go on foot
|Saya mau ke Hitugi – I want(to go/get) to Hitugi.||Berapa jauh dari Wamena? – How far (is it) from Wamena?|
NUMBERS (it’s worth knowing at least some basic ones)
|1 – satu
2 – dua
3 – tiga
4 – empat
5 – lima
6 – enam
7 – tujuh
8 – delapan
10 – sepuluh
12 – dua belas
13- tiga belas
20 – dua puluh
100 – seratus
200 – dua ratus
1000 – seribu
10000 – sepuluh ribu
1mln – satu juta
|Harga – price
Berapa (harganya)? – How much (is it)?
Mahal – expensive=/=murah (cheap)
|(Mem)beli – to buy
Uang – money
Membayar -to pay
Di mana bisa membeli buah? – Where is it possible/can we buy some furit?
Bisa membeli buah? – Possible to buy some fruit?
Ada buah? – are there/do you have (any) fruit? (literally: ‘is fruit?’)
TIME/WHEN: ADJECTVES (opposites):
|hari ini – today
kemarin – yesterday
besok – tomorrow
malam – night
2 hari – 2 days
kemudian – later
dini (early) =/= terlambat
terdahulu – earlier/before
satu jam – 1 hour
berapa jam? – what time is it?
Kapan? – when?
Bagaimana? – how?
|Baik (good, fine, OK) =/= buruk
Miskin (poor) =/= kaya
Sedih (sad) =/= senang
Lambat (slow) =/=cepat
Cantik (beautiful) =/= jelek
Dingin (cold) =/= panas
Sulit (difficult) =/= mudah
Alam (natural) =/= buatan (artificial)
Ramah (friendly) =/= tidak ramah
Berat ( heavy) =/= ringan
Besar (big) =/= kecil
Berbahaya (dangerous) =/= selamat
TIDUR – sleep
MAKAN – food, to eat + MINUM – something to drink, to drink:
|Sendok – spoon
Piring – plate
|Makan pagi – breakfast
Makan siang – lunch
Makan malam – dinner
Saya mau makan/ minum – I want to eat/drink
|Air putih – mineral water
Air panas – hot water
Susu – milk
Kopi – coffee
Teh – tea
Nasi – rise
|Ikan – fish
Babi – pig
Ketang manis – sweet potatoes
Manggi – mango
Jagung – corn
Buah – fruit
|Tidak apa apa! – no problem!
Bagus! – great!
Hati-hati! – be careful!
Tolong! – help!
Maaf – I’m sorry!
Maaf sakali! – I’m really sorry!
Permisi Pak – Excuse me, Sir
Saya jujur – I’m honest (literally: Me honest)
|Selamat jalan! – (Have a) Safe journey!
Buka – open =/=tutup
Bisa..? – Can I/we..? Is it possible..?
Ini apa? – what’s this?
Kalian tinggal disini?- (Do )you live here?
Saya tidak tinggal disini – I don’t live here
Enak – delicious
Saya suka pedas – I like spicy.
|Sekolah – school
Rumah – house
Rumah sakit – hospital
Kamar kecil – toilet
Toko – shop
Kantor – office
Pasar – bazaar, market
Kota – city
Desa – village
Gereja – church
Hutan – forest
Taman – garden
Danau – lake
Gunung – mountain
Air terjun – waterfall
Pulau – island
Sungai – river
Samudra – ocean
Laut – sea
|Orang – human being, people
Pria – man
Anak – child
Anak laki-laki / anak perempuan – son/ daughter
Suami / istri – husband/wife
Ibu / ayah – mother/father
Keluarga – family
Guru bahasa inggris – teacher of English
Bankir – banker/bank teller
Dokter – doctor
Koki – cook
Petani – farmer
Suku – tribe
Wisatawan – traveler
Turis – tourist
Saya suka orang ini. – I like these people.
Berapa orang tinggal disini? – How many people live here?
Berapa anak tinggal disini? – How many children live here?
Berapa(kah)umur anda? – How old are you?
Berapa(kah) umur dia? – How old is he/she?
We hope that you find this post useful. If I learned these words in 4 days spending a few hours a day studying them, I assume that you will be able to prepare yourselves even better for this experience planning your journey well in advance. We suggest writing down some notes in a notebook as you will always be able to have a look there when socializing with local people. Don’t count that storing this information on your mobile will be enough as you will not be able to charge your mobile in case it goes dead (unless you carry powerbanks with you:)). Good luck!