Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Unga Bunga

Photo courtesy of Laura Kramka Petrie

Happy news! I have completed the fast course for Bahasa Indonesia at FSI. I loved it and admitting that automatically guarantees me a seat at the inner circle of the high order nerd club. 

Lilac bush. Photo courtesy of Terri Dunggan Schwartzbeck.
I am perfectly happy with that because Sean and I plan to make extraordinary use of our new language even after we leave Jakarta. We look forward to buying a car and being able to talk in front of the sales person without giving away our bottom line or which of us is the easy mark. 

Photo courtesy of Mary-Catherine Dennehy.
Lupines in the White Mountainsin New Hampshire.   

We have already practiced these skills while complaining about something one of our kids has done using our Bahasa Indonesia - while the kid is in the room. So far so good...

Aren't purple flowers lovely?

Iris. Photo by Gregg Shipman Photography

I've mentioned this before but initially Bahasa Indonesia sounded something like alien creatures talking in the cantina of the first Star Wars movie. In fact, I found a blog that makes me think I'm on to George Lucas and the Bahasa Indonesia thing. Very interesting~ deserves a little more research I'd say!

Mountain Laurel.
Photo by Ginger Sipes Young

Some of the words are funny sounding- they just are. There have been times when I have had to turn my head as I tried to stifle a giggle or hide my amusement, such as the day our exercise was to add the word "dong" as an added emphasis (no real meaning). I know it's juvenile but I was dog tired and everything had become funny. I'm pretty sure anyone would have laughed if they had to say "Ya dong" to answer a question when they were so tired that it seemed that the ceiling tiles had started to dance. I "mostly" maintained my dignity, mostly... 

Photo of a lavender rose by Joseph Crabtree
Bahasa Indonesia's pronunciation is not difficult at all.  For the most part the vowels are all long vowels, except for the vowel "a" it is an "ah" sound, such as the word "soft". Basically, it sounds the same as the Spanish alphabet minus a few letters here and there. 

Here is one of the words that had me hiding my face: 

"Kakak" (kahk-kahk) means older sibling. Here is a picture of my Kakak!

Kakak saya, Robin.

Here comes the grammar lesson:
"Orang putih" (or-ahng ...the ang part sounds the same as in the word long) Orang means person  and (pooh-tee) putih means the color white. 

This noun phrase has an opposite word order from English so it translates literally as "person white". Ex. Robin is an Orang Putih.

  "Sepupu sepupu baik" (seh-pooh-pooh 2x's) sepupu means cousin and (buy-eek) baik means good person, well made or of good character/quality. Again, note the word order. In Bahasa Indonesia you are literally saying cousins good.

The beautiful young ladies in this photo are my kids' sepupu sepupu baik (to make something plural you say it twice). Hope and Zoe are sepupu sepupu baik!

 Sepupu Hope, Kakak Robin and Sepupu Zoe! 

Words that would otherwise have made me either cringe or giggle now have meaning.  And that is how language training goes- 

Photo by Kaye Kohler

So, recently, while explaining some of my favorite Indonesian words to a friend I had a sudden realization that I now know what  "Ungu bunga" means! That's right, (oon-gooh) ungu= purple  (boon-gah) bunga= flower.  Who knew? Ungu bunga means Purple flower! Over the years we somehow must flipped the word order, it should actually be "bunga ungu".

And, there you have it. If you ever find yourself outwitted in crowd of know-it-alls you just might be able to impress the dong out of them by telling them what ungu bunga means!

Here is a test: please watch and translate this Bugs Bunny cartoon:


1 comment:

  1. Congrats! So glad you could take the fast course and now have something more to share with Sean.