How to Ask ‘What Is Your Name’ in Indonesian – Introduction and Conversation

Communication can start with the familiarity of individuals speaking to each other. It feels easier to speak out when we know with whom you are talking to. That’s why identifying the person talking next to you is important. It’s the most common traditional way to start a conversation by asking names, to make sure we can remember to whom the conversation will refer to in our memories.

We start asking names to identify people and making friends. In English, we commonly ask “What’s your name?” to know the other’s name. “What” in the Indonesian language (“Apa”) is used to identify the non-living object. That’s why we will not use that interrogative word to ask names. As an alternative, we use “Who” in Indonesian: “Siapa” to ask.

In English, a name is a possession. That’s why we use possessive adjectives to identify it. Such as “my name”, “your name”, “her name”, and “his name”. But in Indonesian, it’s not common to use possessive adjectives. They’re only used to emphasize important ownership of something. As a result, we directly use subjects (“I/you”). So, let’s learn about how to ask ‘What Is Your Name’ in Indonesian here.

A. Basic/Daily Question:

Formal question

“What is your name?” = “Siapa nama kamu?”

  • “Siapa” refers to “what is”
  • “Nama” refers to “name”
  • “Kamu” refers to “you/your”

Perhaps it will be harder to understand because Indonesian sentences have different orders. We can’t spell the sentences with English order even though it will have the expected translations. You will be used with the order when you continuously listen to Indonesian conversations. Also, let’s learn more about Traditional Indonesian Greeting Etiquette

“What is her/his name” = “Siapa nama dia?”

There is no gender identification in the Indonesian language, “dia” is used generally for all gender. The answer will mostly also do not identify the gender. So if we want to know the gender of the person we’re asking about, we should ask it explicitly in a different question. Moreover, you can identify the name owner as female/male when you’re used with Indonesian names because it’s easily differentiated between female and male.

It’s also different to ask people’s full names. If we only use the simple question of “What’s your name”, then probably people will only answer with their nicknames. But if you need to know people’s full names, for formal uses in offices or others, you can ask directly like in literal translation of “What is your full name?” Also, let’s learn more about How to Introduce Yourself in Indonesian

“What is your full name” = “Siapa nama lengkap anda?”

  • “siapa” refers to “what is”
  • “nama lengkap” refers to “full name”
  • “anda” (very formal use) refers to “you”

Often time people simply ask with no interrogative word. For example:

“Nama lengkap?” with a questioning tone to inform that they are asking. Also, let’s learn more about General Indonesian Phrases

Informal question

This way is commonly used in daily conversations and has literally the same meaning with only small changes.

“What’s your name?” = “Siapa namamu?”

  • “mu” refers to “you”

“Whats’ her/his name?” = “Siapa namanya?”

  • “nya” refers to “her/his”

Often time people simply ask with no interrogative word. For example:

“Namamu?”/ “Namanya?” with a questioning tone to inform that they are asking. Also, let’s learn more about Asking Question in Indonesian

B. Indirect conversations

But it’s different when we talk indirectly through chats or phone calls. It’s more polite to ask names through the literal translation of “To who am I talking?” Also, let’s learn more about Indonesian Simple Phrases

Formal Question

To whom am I talking? = Dengan siapa saya berbicara?

  • “dengan siapa” refers to “To whom”
  • “saya” refers to “am I”
  • “berbicara” refers to “talking”

Before asking strangers’ names (someone you don’t recognize before), people also used to use the apology word to open the question. For example:

I’m sorry, whom am I speaking with = Maaf, dengan siapa saya berbicara?

  • “Maaf” refers to “I’m sorry”
  • “dengan siapa” refers to “whom”
  • “saya” refers to “am I”
  • “berbicara” refers to “speaking with”

Informal Question

Most people ask with using only “Dengan siapa?” to simplify the question, although this way is also commonly used in direct conversations.

C. First time introduction

At the first meeting, it’s common to greet someone directly and start asking their names.

For example:

“Hello, what’s your name?” = “Halo, siapa nama kamu?”

Or

It’s nice to meet you, may I know your name?” = “Senang bertemu dengan kamu, boleh saya tahu nama kamu?

  • “boleh saya” refers to “may I”
  • “tahu” refers to “know”
  • “nama kamu” refers to “your name”

In Indonesian, we sometimes introduce ourselves before we ask others. Every language in this world includes name identification in the self-introduction procedure. As for how the English language would use it as the opening line of the introduction, other languages also would. For example :

“Hello my name is Chris, what’s yours?” = “Halo nama saya Chris, siapa namamu?”

 “Nice to meet you! I’m Putri, what’s your name?” = “Senang bertemu dengan kamu, siapa nama kamu?”

Furthermore, you can learn how to say “My name” in Indonesia. I hope now you can say how to ask ‘What Is Your Name’ in Indonesian here.