Updated: Jul 7
Welcome back to our five-part series on Bahasa Indonesia Loanwords.
As mentioned in our previous two segments, Bahasa Indonesia has borrowed and adapted many words from the traders and adventurers who had passed through the archipelago in the past few centuries.
Marco Polo was one of the first Europeans to visit Indonesia. In the fourteenth century, reports of his travels led to waves of Indian and Chinese adventurers travelling to Indonesia’s Maluku islands – the fabled “Spice Islands” - in search cloves and nutmeg which grew nowhere else and were worth their weight in gold (Indonesia is still one the world's largest producers of cloves and nutmeg).
In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Arab traders from Southern Arabia and other Arab states of the Persian Gulf arrived in the Indonesian archipelago. Like the Portuguese traders (whom we discussed in our last segment), Arab and Persian traders came to Indonesia in search of spices.
They were also responsible for introducing Islam to the archipelago (which remains the predominant religion of Indonesia to this day). And, as a result, modern-day Bahasa Indonesia came to adapt many words from the Arab and Persian cultures of the Middle East.
In this article, we will take a look at just a few Indonesian words borrowed from Arabic and Persian (Farsi).
1. ALAM, HEWAN & MAKHLUK
alam means nature.
hewan means animal.
And makhluk means any creation of God (plants, animals, mountains, soil – everything).
The word alam comes from the Arabic word عَالَم (ālam) with the same meaning.
The word hewan comes from the Arabic word حَيَوَان (ḥayawān) with the same meaning.
And the word makhluk comes from the Arabic word مخلوق (maḵlūq) which means creature.
2. ANGGUR & KISMIS
anggur means grapes or wine.
And kismis which means raisins.
The word anggur comes from the Persian/Farsi word انگور (angur) which means grapes.
And the word kismis comes from the Persian/Farsi word کشمش (kešmeš) which has the same meaning.
3. DAYS OF THE WEEK
All Indonesian days of the week (with the exception of Minggu/Sunday) are borrowed from Arabic.
Senin (Monday) is adapted from the Arabic word الِاثْنَيْنِ (al-iṯnayni).
Selasa (Tuesday) is adapted from the Arabic word الثَّلَاثَاء (aṯ-ṯalāṯāʾ).
Rabu (Wednesday) is adapted from the Arabic word الأَرْبَعَاء (al-ʾarbaʿāʾ).
Kamis (Thursday) is adapted from the Arabic word الخَمِيس (al-ḵamīs).
Jumat (Friday) is adapted from the Arabic word اَلْجُمْعَةُ (al-jumʿatu).
Sabtu (Saturday) is adapted from the Arabic word السَبْت (as-sabt).
4. BANDAR & SYAHBANDAR
bandar means harbour, port.
And If we add the word syah to bandar, we get . . .
syahbandar which means harbour master.
The word bandar comes from the Persian/Farsi word بندر (bandar) with the same meaning.
And the word syah comes from the word شاه (šâh, “shah”) means King or Shah.
5. SELAMAT & KABAR
If you have lived in Indonesia for any time, you know that common greetings usually go something like this :
Selamat pagi (Good morning)
Apa kabar? (How are you?)
In Bahasa Indonesia, selamat is followed by the time of day to form most common greetings . . .
Selamat pagi (Good morning), Selamat siang (Good afternoon), Selamat malam (Good evening).
selamat comes from the Arabic word سَلَام (salām) which means greetings, peace.
kabar literally means news.
And it comes from the Arabic word خَبَر (ḵabar) with the same meaning.
In Bahasa Indonesia, we can combine apa (what) with kabar to get Apa kabar? . . .
which means how are you?
Well, there you have it, these are just a few of the many words that Arabic and Farsi have contributed to Bahasa Indonesia as we know it today.
If you have not read our previous blogs dealing with Indonesian loanwords from Ancient Sanskrit (https://www.learnindonesian.education/post/indonesian-loanwords-from-sanskrit) and Indonesian loanwords from Portuguese (https://www.learnindonesian.education/post/indonesian-loanwords-from-portuguese), be sure to check out our previous two segments.
And please look for our upcoming article next week, when we’ll explore
Indonesian loanwords From The Dutch Language.
Until then . . .