For those who have visited Indonesia and Malaysia, the language spoken in those two countries may sound similar. Bahasa Indonesia and Malay are rooted from the same origin language which is Bahasa Melayu. Both Bahasa Indonesian and Bahasa Malaysia are two forms of standardized Bahasa Melayu.
Some people even make analogy of those two languages as two siblings raised in different house. That is why Bahasa Indonesia sounds a like Bahasa Malaysia and vica versa. You may think there are many Similarities between Malay and Indonesian. So, how is Malay and Indonesian sounds similar but in fact, it has quite significant different in meaning.
The origin of the language
From the linguistic point of view, Bahasa Indonesia is one of the varieties of Malay language in term of historic, social, and regional. That being said the historic term is the language is an extension of Malay language, social term means the language is used by Indonesian people, and the regional term means that the language is specifically used within the regional area of Indonesia.
The same theory is also applied for Malaysian language as one of the varieties of Bahasa Melayu. Bahasa Melayu is considered as lingua franca, which is connected language in the trade area of Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Brunei Darussalam. No wonder that the two languages become national languages in each country.
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Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysia come from the same language root which is Bahasa Melayu. Bahasa Melayu is the language spoken in the islands of Riau-Lingga and coastal area in Sumatra. That is why both languages have the same language base.
Besides rooted from the same language, Malay and Indonesia also indirectly share the same culture. Even though some local cultures are native to Indonesia, but Malay culture, especially in Sumatra Island, has similarities with the Malaysian, for example in term of culinary, folklore, and so on.
Character of the language
Even though Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia come from the same language root, however, both languages shares different characteristics. The different characteristics of both languages come from different culture and historical influences.
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Malaysian language has great deal influence from English as the result of British colonization. In fact, loads of Malaysian words are directly adopted from English. Meanwhile, Bahasa Indonesia has great deal influence from Javanese and other local dialects, Dutch, Arabic, and also Portuguese. The different influence is due to the different colonization in each country.
Even though Malaysia and Indonesia are similar in term of language, but actually there are many same words but has very different meaning. This is probably because of meaning friction due to different history and cultural background. Here are some same words but different meaning in Bahasa Malaysia and Indonesia.
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- Semalam (last night)
In bahasa Indonesia, ‘semalam; means last night, but in Bahasa Melayu, it means ‘kemarin’ or tomorrow.
- Kecemasan (dread)
‘Kecemasan’ in both languages is rooted from the word ‘cemas’. However, the word conveys two different meaning. In bahasa Indonesia, kecemasan means the feeling of dread, but in Malaysia, the words mean ‘darurat’ or emergency. So, when you see the word ‘pintu kecemasan’, this means ‘pintu darurat’ or emergency door.
In Bahasa Indonesia, the word ‘pusing’ means headache. But in Malaysia, the word ‘pusing’ means ‘putar’ or turn around. So, if someone says that you should ‘pusing kanan’, he meant turn right.
The word ‘kereta’ in Indonesia means train, like regular train in western countries as well. However, in Malaysia the word ‘kereta’ means ‘mobil’ or car.
In Bahasa Indonesia, the word ‘budak’ refers to slave, in offensive meaning. Surprisingly, in Malaysia the word ‘budak’ means ‘anak-anak or anak kecil’ (children, kids).
Even though the two languages share the same origin, but there are huge differences in the language. The same word but far different meaning undoubtedly makes learning bahasa Indonesia and Malaysia difficult. You should not be confused or mixed up if learning the languages at the same time.
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Throughout the years, each of the country has been trying hard to differentiate their languages between each other. This is because each language, be it Malaysia and Indonesia, serves as national identity. No wonder if each country tries very hard to set the difference between Bahasa Indonesia and Malaysia even though they are rooted from the same Malay language.
There are some similarities between Malay and Indonesian. Although, both countries try to set clear difference in many aspects, but the fact that Indonesia and Malaysia come from the same root culture is hard to ignore. Nowadays, more and more people are interested in learning both languages. Are you also the one interested in learning Bahasa Indonesia and Malaysia?