Friday, August 07, 2009

Bahasa Oke

I wrote a couple of articles on Wikibooks a while ago, but no one seems to have added to them... In hindsight, perhaps they work best as blog posts, thus, I reproduce them here. If you want to add to the Wikibook, the link is here.

Unbeknownst even to many native Indonesian speakers these days there is a subset of the Indonesian language derived from a peculiar form of a language game popular in the 1980s and often still used today.


The words you will learn in the following lesson are most definitely encompassed within what is known as Bahasa Prokem (itself a Bahasa Oke word as you will see below) and as such should probably not be used in polite company.


Language games and gibberish in Indonesian

Like English, Indonesian has its own Pig Latins and Ubbi-Dubbis, such as "Bahasa G." Simliarly, these language games are used code a message for specific parties in a crowd and are usually rarely used out of the schoolyard. A notable exception is "Bahasa Oke" and the words which have endured are the sorts of words that speakers would not want authority figures to understand.

How it works

To create a Bahasa Oke word the rules are by no means hard and fast, the rules are bent to create words which have more of a ring to them, but in general the following rules are applied. One takes the first syllable of a normal Indonesian word and replaces the vowel with oke, oka or oki. Usually the 'e', 'a' or 'i' is chosen to be the same vowel replaced but that is not always the case.
Now, let's get to the examples.



WordRoot WordMeaningComments
ProkemPremanCrook, thug n.Many people do not realise that Bahasa Prokem itself is actually a Bahasa Oke word. So literally, Bahasa Prokem is the language of the criminals and thugs. Good motivation for anyone to learn it.
GokilGilaCrazy adj.Used rather like the English 'cool', still in limited usage, but only really in Jakarta as a throwback to the 80s. Rather like the ironic usage of 'groovy', 'rad' and so on by English speakers these days.
BokerBerakShit v.Commonly used in major cities throughout Indonesia
TokaiTaiShit n.Often used as in the same manner as the English 'Bullshit', not particularly common these days.
NgokarNgerokokSmoke cigarettes v..Not particularly common these days.
CokinCinaChinese personThis is an offensive term for Indonesians of Chinese descent, that said, you still sometimes hear it on the streets of Jakarta. Interestingly, some people even feel that the linguistically correct term, Cina, has too much of a racist ring to it and you will often hear them referred to by the English word Chinese.
BokapBapakFather n.Extremely common, and although it doesn't really have a proper root, the term Nyokap is used just as commonly for Mother n. probably derived from Nyi, Nyonya or something like that as Bunda, Ibu, etc. don't really create words with much of ring to them. People often refer to their parents as 'Bonyok', short for 'Bokap, Nyokap'.
PembokatPembantuHelper, maid n.Not particularly common these days.
BokepBF c.f. Blue FilmsPornography n.The 'f' is changed to a 'p' as 'f' is not particularly commonly used in Indonesian. This has actually become the standard word for pornography in Indonesia and is now used to refer to all forms rather than just pornographic films. As noted above, many Indonesians are not even aware of its root.

This is far from a complete list of Bahasa Oke words but should help you on your way to gaining a more sophisticated understanding of the language of contemporary Jakarta.

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