kill the light!
I have two friends who I study language with each week and sometimes it feels like I am learning two different languages! This is because one of them is a “Papuan” from this island who uses the local slang and dialect, the language of the locals who talk in a very casual or I guess you could say “laid back” manner. The other is a “pendatang” or a person who moved here from another island. She uses the more “proper” Indonesian that is easily understood throughout Indonesia. Both sides are important to learn. Even though using “proper” Indonesian is still understood by Papuans when they hear it, they don’t talk that way and obviously feel more comfortable around people who talk the way they do. They don’t care so much about grammar, which is great for me who doesn’t have that as a strong skill anyway!
I want and need to know proper Indonesian also in order to communicate with the rest of the country. If I just learn the local dialect used here, later when I talk to a person from say, Java or Kalimantan I would probably sound like a hillbilly if I said “kasih bunuh lampu itu!” (literally “give death to that light” but basically “kill that light!”) like they might here, instead of “matikan lampu itu” (turn off that light).
So each week I study with my friend who uses the local dialect to give me stories and new words and I try to use their slang. Then once a week I study with my friend who speaks proper Indonesian and she teaches me the “polite” or more general way of saying the same things!
There are at least 2 ways to say almost anything and I am trying to keep them straight in my head to be ready to use the correct dialect depending on whom I am talking to.
It would be like a Latino coming to America and learning how to speak English from a Californian and then at the same time studying English from Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty. That there is plumb crazy ya’ll!
Just a little glimpse into what we are studying these days!
Burris Family, living in Asia Pacific