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Malay, Indonesian, Mindanao dialect similarities

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Po-Binnasaur View Drop Down

Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Location: Seattle, WA
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    Posted: 01 Dec 2012 at 20:10
Recently, two of my friends, my cousin and I were talking about the languages we speak and how cool that our languages are so similar, 1 of my 2 friends spoke Malay but with a Sabahan dialect since his family is from Sabah, My other friend spoke Indonesian but he also could speak his native Dayak language.
 And so my two friends were talking and I get a call and so i answer and i was talking to my brother and so I'm talking to my brother on the phone and i'm speaking something me and him call "Chakan" because since we were little we tended to mix my mom's Native Yakan language and our dad's Cham language.
 After we were done talking my friend comes over and he says "you just said 'park in the drive way' right? (toh di Chalan) and so i look at him shocked since he got it 100% right and so this brings up all of us trying to speak our native languages to each other to see how much we can understand.
 So my two friends were speaking Malay and the other speaking Indonesian to each other and overall they understood each other the most out of us all, but while i was speaking Cham they ALL said that it sounded like Malay with a Vietnamese accent but they could still partially understand it, But when i spoke Yakan and my cousin spoke Tausug (our mom's are cousins from Mindanao) my 2 friends said they could actually understand a lot of it since Yakan and Tausug are very southern languages close to Indonesia and Malaysia.
 That whole conversation got us hyped on languages, but overall while listening to Malay and Indonesian being spoken at the same time, they honestly sounded almost the same but to me Indonesian had a more familiar accent in my opinion since it reminded me of Yakan, but whats the difference in Malay and Indonesian? Can they really understand each other overall? my friend said he could understand like 70% of my other friends Indonesian 

Edited by Po-Binnasaur - 01 Dec 2012 at 20:11
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Guests View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Dec 2012 at 18:43
Woah, that conversation had more dialect and language differences than when I have a meetin with friend!!!!
Malay and Indonesian are cousins in the Austronesian Language, as is all of the sub-dialects of the two, but the difference is historical. The "parenting" language is the Old Malay, which was spoken in Royal Courts, originating in Sumatra. The difference is that it is not of the common language of the Malaysian people, causing differences, but it is recognized by dialects that border between Modern Malaysian, and the language of Bahasa Indonesia/ old Malay. But, there are 44 other languages and sub-dialects in Indonesia, so it can be hard to tell which one is the link or which are included as links to Malaysian, and there are 2 or 3 language families in Indonesia. These Language families include: Tunguistic, Austronesian, and Papuan. The only 3 Tunguistic languages are sub-dialects of Chinese: Hokkein/ Teochew and Hakka. the rest are either Austronesian or Papuan.
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pinguin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Dec 2012 at 21:22
Yeah. Even in Easter Island, which is part of my country, they speak Polynesian, which is another member of the Austronesian set of languages. Those are very widespread languages, which go from Easter Island to South Asia and all the way to Madagascar. 
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Cywr View Drop Down

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cywr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Dec 2012 at 08:58
Quote whats the difference in Malay and Indonesian? Can they really understand each other overall?

As far as standardisation goes, Bahasa Melayu and Bahasa Indonesia, are sort of coming from the same place, namely Malay as spoken in Malacca and parts of Sumatra, but formal modern standardisation begins at differing times. The other crucial factor is how they are influenced by other languages.

Bahasa Indonesia is more influenced by the many languages spoken around Indonesia, from Betawi, Minangkabau, Maluku, Sundanese etc. (and as such even has some local flavours), but the main influence is Javanese. There are some 700 languages in Indonesia, most spoken by only a few people, but its likely that alot of them will have lent a word or two to Bahasa Indonesia.
Another obvious influence is Dutch, either directly, with Dutch words that are 'Indofied' (Pabrik, Kantor), or indirectly where Indonesian terms follow the Dutch term, but with local words.
Also some fruits and vegetables names introduced from Europe are derived from Dutch, like wortel and fambus.

In cases where Malaysian has adopted an English word, its usualy safe to assume that Indonesian has adopted its Dutch equivalent (and in most cases these words will in turn have Greek or Latin origins). Consider - televisyen vs telivisi - Additionaly many country names follow the same pattern.

Dutch speakers will understand almost everything written on Indonesian bank notes (unless they've changed, mine date to the 1990s), as much of the administrative/bureaucratic terminology is borrowed from Dutch.

Indonesian also has some Portuguese influences, especially Christian terminology, and some Latin, where as Malay will either use its own words, or English loan words.

For the most part the two are mutually intelligible though, but I get the feeling Bahasa Indonesia is more vibrant and still changing and evolving, especially informal and slang speech.

Been learning Bahasa Indonesia on and off, but its tricky as there are very few opportunities to learn it in the UK. I might take it up if/when I move back to the Netherlands, as there are more speakers there and easier to find a course.
Love the language though, and the accents Heart
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