Similarities of the Japanese language and Indonesian

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Nakagawa Izumi
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Joined: Mon 03.29.2010 10:01 am
Native language: English

Similarities of the Japanese language and Indonesian

Post by Nakagawa Izumi » Fri 04.02.2010 1:50 am

Hey there guys, if you didn't know, I'm Indonesian. And yes, while Indonesian is the first ever language I've ever learned (the next was Spanish, and lastly English), I consider English to be my "default" or "mother" language for some strange reason.

Anyway, since I'm learning Japanese, I thought I'd share with you guys some similarities that both those languages have (and because I don't have anything to do now :colonthree: ).

The main similarity between Japanese and Indonesian is that both those languages have "politeness" levels. In Japanese, we're all familiar with the terms teineigo, sonkeigo and kensogo/kenjogo, as well as the "casual" or "informal" Japanese.

In the Indonesian language, 2 official levels of politeness exist, plus the casual form of the language. The most polite form of the language is called "Bahasa Indonesia baku" (literally meaning "Standard Indonesian Language"). This form is used when writing books, letters, articles and talking to people whom are of much higher social status. You could say that it's the Indonesian "kensogo".

Next, we have the "Bahasa Indonesia tidak baku" ("Non-Standard Indonesian Language"). This form of the language is used for everyday conversations for people whom are of higher social status. For example, a child speaking to his/her parents. Adults also tend to use this form of the language to converse among themselves.

Lastly, we have the least polite of the three. They don't really have a name for this language, but if I could give it a name, I'd name it "Bahasa Indonesia Gaul" ("Friendly Indonesian Language). Why? Well, it's because this form of the language is ONLY used in very, very informal situations. Children and teenagers use this form for daily conversation among themselves. This form cannot be used to speak those of higher social status, and doing so will be considered very rude and impolite.

The sentence "I need your help." can be translated into 3 different ways in Indonesian:
Bahasa Indonesia Baku: "Saya membutuhkan bantuan Anda."
Bahasa Indo. Tidak Baku: "Aku butuh bantuanmu."
Bahasa Indo. Gaul: "Gue butuh bantuan loe."

Like in Japanese, we have different words for the pronouns "I" and "you" according to the politeness. The Indonesian language has 3 words for the pronoun "I", which are: "saya", "aku" and "gue/gua". "Saya" is used in Standarad Indonesian language, and expresses a sense of distance and respect towards the one whom you are speaking to (similar to watashi/watakushi). "Aku" is rather a wild card. It is often used in Non-standard Indonesian, but it's sometimes okay to use it in Standard as well as Friendly Indonesian. The word expresses a sense of intimacy/familiarity towards the one whom you are speaking to. "Gue/gua" should only be used in Friendly Indonesian. It is similar to the word "ore" in Japanese (although both males and females can use the word) that expresses a sense of masculinity/superiority and close relationship/friendship.

Well, I hope you guys had fun reading this. :D
中川 泉 です. どうぞ よろしく.

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