Indonesian Writing Symbols – Structures – Examples

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Symbols are very important in human communication. It is part of language too. Although there are universal symbols, they are arbitrary, means it depends on people convention. In Bahasa Indonesia, there are several symbols, mostly the punctuation. Now, we will learn about Indonesian Writing Symbols and how to use it, both in formal and informal situations. You could also check these following articles first.

Indonesian Formal Writing Symbols

Notes: These are mostly the symbols that either unique or have different usage in Bahasa Indonesia

  • (.) or full stop  (tanda titik)
    – Like in English, it is used to end a sentence
    – It is also used to divide thousand, unlike English
    For example: 10.000 (ten thousands) Check Indonesian Numbers
    – It is also used for writing time (e.g. 8.00 = 8 a.m.)
    – It is also followed an abbreviated words
    For example
    – s.d. (sampai dengan) = until
    – S. S. (Sarjana Sastra) = Bachelor of Literature
    – W. A. Mozart (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)
    – jln. (jalan) = street
  • (,) or coma (tanda koma)
    – divide clauses
    – It is used for decimal numbers (e.g. 3,5 means three point five, 8,309 means eight point three o nine)
    – It is used to divide a person name and its degree/title (except title that wrote at the front)
    For example: Dina, S. E. (Dina, Bachelor of Economics)
  • (-) or strip words  (tanda hubung)
    – Beside symbol for minus, it is also used in reduplication. In Indonesia there are at least two types of reduplication, one caused by plural form of noun and other because the original form of words.
    For examples:
    – rumah-rumah (houses)
    – kura-kura (turtle)
    – terburu-buru (rush)
    – pura-pura (pretend)
    Read: Learn Indonesian Reduplication Words – Formula & Examples
  • (–)/long hyphen when you type it (tanda pisah)
    – it is used as a replacement for ‘until’ (places/time)
    For examples:
    – Jakarta–Bali (Jakarta to Bali)
    – 2018–2020 (2018 until 2020)
  • ‘(word)’ (tanda apostrof)
    The ‘(word)’ symbol is used to accentuate or highlight a specific words in a sentence. Sometimes it is use to deliver sarcastic sense (especially in informal chat)
    – Dia ‘miskin’ (He is ‘poor’)
    – Kamu dengar suara ‘prit’ tadi? (Did you hear the ‘pit’ sound)
    – it is also used to abbreviate number (e.g. ’45 mostly refer to 1945)
    *In informal situation sometimes people replace ‘…’ with “…”. The actual use of “…” is for direct sentence or to write down poetry/short story/or drama script title (e.g. “Aku” by Chairil Anwar)

Indonesian Informal Writing Symbols

Those examples above are used in formal language. However, things quite get different when you chat someone. For example, you usually use emoticon to express your feeling or to deliver friendly atmosphere. On the other hands, you could also use symbols to show your feeling, or in other case to shorten the chat (efficiency).

Here are the examples.

  • (.)
    – sometimes use ‘stop’ to end a sentence gives unfriendly ambience because it it like you want to point an assertive statement or maybe you are angry. Therefore, sometimes to ‘breaking the ice’, people do not use punctuation or end a sentence with emoticon.
  • (2) or (2x)
    – the symbol ‘2’ means you reduplicate the word followed by it. It is used so you don’t have to type it twice because plural word in Indonesia formed by reduplicating the word, beside words that originally a reduplication. It is also used if you mean to reduplicate the word more than two times/
    For example:
    – Buku-buku -> Buku2  (books)
    – Kupu-kupu -> Kupu2 (butterfly)
    – Hahaha -> Ha3x
  • (*)
    – it is use to give additional information or to mention a typo in previous sentences
    For example:
    – *kode nih = I want to eat *code (He/She want to jokes that this is a code to ask you eat/buy him or her food)
    – Aku makin (I am more)
    *makan (eat)
    It is refer that ‘makin’ (more) is a mistype for ‘makan’ (eat)
  • Emoticon
    – Either using sticker or symbols such as 🙂 or 🙁 or words like hahaha or wkwk in chat you try to make a situation i chat more relax
  • In slang words the symbols would be more varied. For example: sometimes people use ‘9’ to replace ‘g’ or ‘0’ to replace ‘O’.

That’s about Indonesian writing symbols. Check: Indonesian Slang in Internet Chatting

Other symbols in Indonesian Writing

Here are others Indonesian symbol that has similarity with other language too

  • (?) or tanda tanya = Question mark. The (?) (using round bracket) also means you are questioning a/some statement(s)
  • (!) or tanda seru = exclamation marks (for imperative sentence, using more than one, such as ‘!!!!!’, means you are accentuate a statement or make ‘yell’ sense it)
  • & = and
  • # or tagar = hashtag

Those are examples of Indonesian Writing Symbols that you might have found in Bahasa Indonesia. If you are still interest in terms of learning Bahasa Indonesia, you could check these following articles.