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.