Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hokkien words in Indonesian

Here are some words in Indonesian that come from Hokkien (Taiwanese) roots:

mihun/bihun = rice noodles
sabun = soap
kecoa (pronounced kechoa) = cockroach
diam-diam = shut up

I find the word for cockroach the most interesting. Like they didn't have a word for that bug before the Chinese immigrants arrived? Weird.

Indonesian is one of the most fascinating languages because it has so many borrowed words and roots in it. The classic example is the word for "man"

orang = man or person, coming from the indigenous root.
manusia = mankind, coming from Sanskrit when Hinduism influenced Indonesia
insan = individual, from Arabic with the coming of Islam.

Then they have the loan words from Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese, and English.

All in a phonetic language with no tenses and extremely logical grammar.

Okay, I hope that was interesting for somebody. I didn't know about some of those Hokkien root words until today and thought I would share.

Now, as the Taiwanese say, "Bye bye"

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