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JackMonday 17th of January 2005 10:14:38 PM
Titles Question - Hey Bennylin, fantastic work you have put together here! Just a quick question:

Say you were out at the market or buying something. What do you usually call the shop keeper. e.g in Australia we may say 'mate' and when I was in Malaysia it was common to use 'abang' (lit: brother) or 'bos' in an informal situation. Would you use 'mas' and 'pak'?

Thanks so much.

bennylinWednesday 19th of January 2005 12:50:48 PM
- good question, I hope I can answer it correctly.

In Australia and other English speaking country, or generally a country that has only one widely spoken language, there's not so many word for a thing, like how to call a shop keeper with familiar words.

The problem is Indonesia doesn't have only one widely-spoken-language, it has several. for example, in Java island (Jakarta, Surabaya, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Solo, etc) we do use "mbak" or "bu" for "ma'am" (lit. 'mbak' = sister, 'bu' (for older woman) = mother) and "mas" or "pak" for "mate", "pal", "bro" or other masculine words (lit. 'mas' = brother, "pak" = sir). Those words came from Javanese language/dialect which is widely spoken in Java island.

There are also another languages/dialects in Java alone, let say Sundanese, several version of Javanese, and the speaker of those language usually have different words for calling a shopkeeper, calling a friend, calling their parents, calling their siblings, etc.

Outside of Java, i cannot tell how do we call a shopkeeper, but one word still remaining the same throughout the nation, "pak" (or "bu"). There's a small chance that people who do not finish their 9th year of school (many of those you can find inside a, let say, traditional market) cannot reply your questions or basically cannot use Indonesian Language properly.

for me personally, i'd rather use "pak" or "bu" for any seller when i'm gonna buy something. but if the seller is not older than me, i'd use more "eartly" calling, like "mas", or "mbak".

"abang" usually used for 'becak' driver in Indonesia. barely hear that word outside Jakarta.
there is a place called 'Tanah Abang' (lit. brother's land/property) in Jakarta. Ask Jakarta's people to tell the joke about 'Tanah Abang', it's famous :D

"bos" is informal, usually the person you're speaking with is regarded as a person with a higher status (compare to most of the people) like a shop-owner, but don't use it to call a shop-keeper, a 'warung'(small, very small restaurant)-owner/keeper (usually the same person) and dont' ever use it to call a seller in a market (it's not wrong, it just sounds funny ;P)
JackTuesday 08th of February 2005 09:23:10 PM
- Many thanks bennylin, you are an asset to this discuss.
bennylinWednesday 09th of February 2005 12:23:38 PM
- you're very much welcome.
i'm just part of this language society. so i guess you're an asset too