Article Index

Day 1. Being Polite




Vocabulary Day 1.

Selamat [pagi | siang | sore | malam].

Good [morning | day | afternoon | evening].

Terima kasih.



Yes. (often means no)



Apa kabar?

How are you? What's new?

Baik, dan [Bapak | Ibu]?

Fine, and you? (to man | woman)

Saya tidak bisa bahasa Indonesia.

I don't speak Indonesian. (This will be painfully obvious to any Indonesian, but it's a polite way to fill in those awkward moments.)

Selamat [jalan | tinggal].

Good-bye. (to person leaving | to person staying)


You're welcome.

Silakan[ duduk | masuk].

Please [sit down | come in].


The first priority in Indonesia, believe it or not, is being polite. Not getting the job done, getting to where you are going or getting the correct change. The general wisdom that even a few polite words will return much appreciation is usually true. On the other hand, unkind or loud words in any language will instantly turn you into an invisible being. 

Any conversation beyond the vocabulary here assumes that you know more about the language than you actually do. This may put you on the receiving end of a long monologue to which you are expected to nod and make the occasional non-committal response.




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