How to Say ‘Help’ in Indonesian – Meaning and Examples

Everyone certainly has a desire to impress someone else, which is also includes showing good manner. In terms of verbal communication, there are many ways to show good manner through language, such as How to Say Goodnight in Indonesian Language. Besides the Indonesian Greeting Etiquette and Manners it is also important to know how to say ‘help’ in Indonesian.

The word ‘help’ in Bahasa Indonesia can be translated into tolong and bantu as root words. Nonetheless, there are slightly differences in terms of using it even though they have similar meaning. Here are the examples.

How to Say ‘Help’ in Indonesian:

Help = tolong (toloŋ]

As in English when people are urgently need help and do not have much time, they said ‘Help!’. In Indonesia it is called ‘Tolong!’. Here is the example.

  • Tolong! Tolong! (Help! Help!)
  • Tolong! Anjing saya hilang (Help! My dog is missing)

Moreover, tolong is usually used together with the word minta [mintɑ] (informal) or meminta [məmintɑ] (formal), Both minta tolong and meminta tolong are Indonesian phrases for ‘asking help/ask for help’.

Take a look at this example.

  • Saya mau minta tolong (I want to ask for help/some help)
  • Ibu meminta tolong kepada Andi (Mother is asking Andi’s help)

Furthermore, the word tolong can also formed to more complex word through affixation and reduplication + affixation (see Forming Indonesian Words & Using Indonesian Affixes). Nonetheless, it is still has equivalent meaning with the word ‘help’. Here are other forms of word tolong

1. Menolong (v) [mənoloŋ]

The word menolong is formed by me-(N) (prefix) + tolong (root words). The phoneme [t] change into [n] because the morphological process. It is usually used in formal sentence and need an object because it is an active verb.

Here is the example about how to say ‘Help’ in Indonesian.

  • Saya mau menolong dia. (I want to help him.)

You may also use the word tolong to replace menolong in informal occasion. It is still understandable but not recommended.

2. Pertolongan (n) [pərtoloŋɑn]

Another form of tolong is pertolongan, which is also formed through affixation (per- [prefix] – + tolong [root word]+–an [suffix]). It is more polite and formal form for the word tolong which was used in minta tolong example.

  • Saya mau meminta pertolongan (I want to ask for help /some help) 

3. Tolong-menolong [toloŋ mənoloŋ]

Tolong-menolong is a word formed by reduplication process (duplicate the word tolong) and affixation (add prefix me-(N)). In English, it is translated as ‘help(ing) each other’. In addition, it is also has several synonyms, such as saling menolong [sɑliŋ mənoloŋ] and bahu-membahu [bɑhu membɑhu], that share similar meaning.

Here are the examples about how to say ‘Help’ in Indonesian:

  • Kami tolong-menolong untuk meraih cita-cita bersama.
  • Kami saling membantu untuk meraih cita-cita bersama.
  • Kami bahu-membahu untuk meraih cita-cita bersama.

Those three sentences are all translated as ‘We help each other to reach our goal’ and all are considered as formal. Nonetheless, the second sentence is the one that commonly used. 

More Words to Know!

How to say ‘Help’ in Indonesian:

  • Help = bantu [bɑntu]

Another translation for ‘help’ is bantu, which also has similar meaning with the word tolong. This is another alternative to how to say ‘help’ in Indonesian. However, it could not replace the word tolong like in the first example. It should be positioned with other part of speech to make complete sentence.

In addition, as a root word, bantu could not form a standard or formal sentence. To make it formal and standard, it should have morphological process (affixation), that add prefix me-(N) to become the word membantu [məmbɑntu].

Here are the examples about how to say ‘Help’ in Indonesian:

  • Saya mau bantu kamu (I want to help you)
  • Saya mau membantu kamu (I want to help you)

Even though having same meaning, the second sentence is considered as formal, standard and even more polite to use. However, if you want to have more friendly sense, you may choose the first sentence to show solidarity.

Finally, the word ‘help’ can also translated as bantuan (n) [bɑantuɑn], which formed by affixation (add suffix –an).

Here are the examples.

  • Saya butuh bantuan (I need some help) (informal)
  • Saya membutuhkan bantuan (I need some help) (formal)

Those are examples about how to say ‘help’ in Indonesian. The key to master Bahasa Indonesia is keep practicing. Don’t forget to check other articles: