Bahasa

03/08/2015

49 Comments

 
Last month I began a Bahasa Indonesian class at the Indonesian Embassy of Washington D.C.

I love ASEAN, thus I aspire to be proficient in Bahasa, Thai and perhaps another language from the region. I believe that ASEAN and Latin America/Caribbean have a lot in common and want to build a bridge between them and the U.S. through our Diasporas. Furthermore, Indonesia is a great country with a lot of potential and someday will continue to become a global leader. 

As for the language? So far I love Bahasa. I discovered that there are many similar words between Portguese/Spanish and Bahasa such as: bola = ball, bendera = flag, meja = table, roda = wheel, tiempo = time, dadu = dice. This happened because the Portuguese sailed there from the 16th to the early 19th centuries. 

Another interesting note is that there are  many loan words from Arabic. They are mainly connected with Islam. In fact, the first contact between the two happened in the 5th century during spice trading. It is estimated that upwards of 5,000,000 native Indonesians have Arab ancestry.
 


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Southeast Asian languages are mainly influenced by the Spanish, the Portuguese, the Dutch and the French due to colonialism of the region. The Austronesian roots of the Indonesian language is then mainly composed of Arabic and a bit of Chinese descent. It is very interesting how we can trace language development by also looking at the historical roots of a nation.

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