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What is The Indonesian Word for Language? The Origins

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As we have explained about the reason why Indonesian refer Bahasa Indonesia or Indonesian language as language in this article, now we are going to learn about what is the Indonesian word for language.

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In today’s lesson, you are about to learn the Indonesian word for language. The material of the lesson includes the translation and definitions, as well as the examples on how the word language in Bahasa Indonesia is used in conversation.

So, let’s just go straight into the materials.

The Definition of Language in Bahasa Indonesia

The actual translation of the word language in Bahasa Indonesia is Bahasa. The word bahasa is pronounced as /buh-ha-sa/. You must be familiar with the word Bahasa because you nearly always see it in the phrase Bahasa Indonesia which means Indonesian language.

Unlike in English that you can simply call a country’s language the same as you call the people from that country, for example, French for the language of France people, or Japanese as the language of Japan people, in Bahasa Indonesia, you will have to put the word Bahasa plus the country’s name. The examples will be given and explained in the next part.

For additional lesson, the word Bahasa in Bahasa Indonesia is similar to the Javanese word that means the same, basa or boso. There might be some chance that the word Bahasa is taken from this Javanese word and put into Bahasa Indonesia. This kind of borrowing from local languages is very common in the ancient origin of how Bahasa Indonesia is produces.

Examples of Using the Word Bahasa in a Sentence

After you know about that Bahasa is the Indonesian word for language, you will have to be able to apply the word correctly in Bahasa Indonesia’s sentences. So, in order to do that, review these examples to get a better insight about the use of the word Bahasa in a sentence.

A: It is a common fact that English is considered as the world’s Lingua Franca.    
A: Sudah menjadi fakta umum jika Bahasa Inggris dianggap sebagai Bahasa penghubung Dunia

B: English is the most popular world nowadays       
B: Bahasa Inggris adalah Bahasa yang paling populer sekarang ini.

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As you can see in the example above, the word English that refers as a language is translated into Bahasa Inggris in Bahasa Indonesia. This is due to the obligation in Bahasa Indonesia that there is no specific word that refers to any country’s language like in English.

Therefore, the way Indonesian refers to a country’s language is by using the word Bahasa that means language followed with the country’s name, in this example Inggris (England or Britain in English).

Another example is as follows:

A: Those French are fluent in speaking Japanese      
A: Orang Belanda itu fasih berbahasa/berbicara bahasa Jepang

In the example above, there are some differences with the other example about the use of the word Bahasa. In this example, the word Bahasa that has prefix ber- could mean speaking. This is due to the function of the prefix is to show about the ability to speak or using a language or Bahasa. So, you can use the word berbahasa to refer as the capability of using a language, of course you still have to specify what language or country is it.

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