Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Speak like a native in 20 easy lessons!

or something. We're tentatively planning to visit our family in Jakarta over the summer. Now I've been trying to get my dearly beloved to teach me his native language for going on a decade now. With very little in the way of results. So I took matters into my own hands and borrowed Pimsleur's "Indonesian I" CDs from my local library.

I've come to the conclusion that:
  • The powers that be at Pimsleur haven't ever BEEN to Indonesia
  • The "native speakers" are so "precise" in their diction that they don't resemble ANYONE I've ever interacted with before, not even the newscasters on local TV
  • Whoever is writing the scripts is OBSESSED with booze and food.

Lesson 1: Hi! Howzya doin'?

This lesson centers on the ubiquitous "Do you speak English". Which, if you're in Jakarta or Bali, the answer would be YES for the most part if you're in places where tourists actually go. The only time the answer would be NO is if you're acting like a jerky tourist. I've seen this in action and it's quite hysterical.

"Ibu menggerti Bahasa Inggris?"

"Tidak, bapak."

If one is actually in Jakarta, it would look more like

Ibu is the polite form of address for a woman and Bapak is the polite form of address for a man.
Bu menggerti Inggris?

Ngga, 'pak.
Tidak is the uber polite form of "no" but ngga is Jakarta street slang. Guess which version my husband and his family use...

Skipping ahead to the second half of the lessons (8-20) which center on food and beverages.

Yo! Wanna get some grub?
Ibu mau makan?
Ya, bapak.
Ibu di mana mau makan?
Tidak di tempat.Saya mau makan di restoran.
Ibu mau makan di restoran Gadja Madah?

Eh, lu mau makan?


Di mana?

Kantin Laris? Nyonya Whatsherface with the Ayam Mbok Berek?

Ok-la. Eh, Ma! Lu mau ayam mbok berek? Anton? Lu mau? Prapto di mana? Eh 'to! Mobilnya...
OK is the same there as it is in the 'States.

No one uses the formal "Saya" referencing themself. Usually it's dropped and inferred OR the slang term "gue" is used if you're a Jakartan. Lu is the extremely informal "you" and is used between immediate family and close friends.What's even funnier is that there seems to be but one restaurant in Indonesia - Restoran Gadja Madah. The chapter on directions to and fro gives it as reference point.

Moving on from word choice, food choices... Since wine and beer seem to be the ONLY things that Pimsleur-folk know how to order, I feel it's really important to note that most Indonesians don't guzzle the booze... Why? Many Muslims don't partake of alcohol and so it's really funny to see such an emphasis on wine and beer... Indonesia is primarily Muslim... Moving on to what most people drink...

Air - Water
Teh - Tea
Teh Panas - Hot Tea
Es Teh - Iced Tea
Es Teh Manis - Sweet Tea (a close second to Southern Sweet Tea)
Es Jeruk - Iced Orange Juice
Susu - Milk
Teh Botol - my favorite beverage of all time. It's made by Sosro and is a type of sweet Jasmine tea. You can buy it stateside in tetrapaks, but it doesn't taste the same as the ones that come in glass bottles. I can drink a case of it in short order.
Green Sands - now this is allegedly alcoholic according to my husband and his brother, but I swear the formula was changed since they were kids. It's a fizzy drink with grape juice and other stuff. Reminds me a bit of Vernors, but without the kick.
Kopi - Coffee.
Starbucks - Yes, there is Starbucks in Indonesia. I've been to a few in Jakarta and one in Bali. It's my goal to visit every Starbucks in Indonesia before I die. There's some competition for Sbux in the way of "The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf", but seriously? Sbux is BETTER.
If the conversation were to take place within our family, it would look something like this:

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