Featured article photo: Bali, Indonesia by Skitterphoto (CC0 Licensed)
Saya / Aku (I)
Both Saya and Aku mean I. Saya is used in polite and formal settings, whereas Aku is used in a more casual setting. However, note that using Aku in the wrong settings can come off as rude and arrogant, so it's safest to use Saya instead.
Kamu / Anda (You)
Kamu is neutrally polite and is used to refer to "You" in most social settings. Anda is formally polite and is used only in formal situations, such as in TV interviews or promotional broadcasting. Don't use Anda in usual social settings unless you want to sound like a weird, walking, talking robot.
Indonesian is gender neutral when it comes to pronouns, so there are no differences between saying He and She. When talking about the third person, the word Dia will suffice, whether referring to a man, a woman, or everything in between.
Kami / Kita (We)
This one is a little trickier. Both Kami and Kita mean we, and they can be used in both formal and informal settings. Pay attention to the difference between these two words:
- Kami = We (excluding the person you are talking to)
- Kita = We (including the person you are talking to)
Kami sudah makan.
Translation: We (excluding you) have eaten.
Kita sudah makan.
Translation: We (including you) have eaten.
Mereka means "They" and it can be used in all settings, formal and informal.
Ini / Itu (It)
There is no Indonesian equivalent for the word "It". When referring to animals or inanimate objects, whether singular or plural, the word Ini and Itu is used, which correspondingly mean "This / These" and "That / Those".
So that's good news, instead of learning 5 corresponding words to "It, This, These, That, Those", you only need to learn 2: Ini and Itu.
Ini (This / These)
The word Ini means "This" or "These". It doesn't matter whether you are referring to a singular or plural object(s), refer to whatever that's physically close to you as Ini.
Example: Ini adalah kucing. (It / This is a cat.)
Itu (That / Those)
When referring to a singular or plural object(s) that are physically far from you, use the word Itu.
Example: Itu adalah anjing. (It / That is a dog.)
Want More Practice in Indonesian?
- IndonesianPod101 offers audio and video lessons with native speakers to help you learn Indonesian effectively from Beginner, Upper Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced levels to practice on listening, vocabulary lists, and grammar pointers to fast track your goal in becoming a pro in Indonesian!
Spark A Conversation
Got questions or wanna share some thoughts? Leave them in the comment section below :)
About the Writer
Wanna say hi? Feel free to send me a message here, or leave a comment in this page.