SMS-Style Text Culture

Hello! Halo! Bonjour! Hola! Olá! 你好? 안녕하세요?

This is the first time we made a real article for you. We don't want the blog be a boring site which only contains lyrics. So, we hope you'll enjoy this one. ^^

You know, I-pop isn't just about Indonesian pop music, but also pop culture that's happened here. This time I want to introduce you something interesting. It's SMS-style Text culture! Some of you might have encountered some Indonesian chat with each other, their Tweets, or even their status updates on Facebook. While you could learn Indonesian and even speak Indonesian fluently in matters of weeks, I'm sure you won't totally understand those Indonesian text. You'll find words like "dgn", "yg", "mkn", "gt" that maybe you can't even figure out how to pronounce it, or words like "ciyus" and "miapah" which you won't find those on any muggle dictionaries.

ps. If you have friends who use those kind of words that I mentioned last (ciyus/miapah), you've got my permission to "kiss" them for me or... Avada Kedavra! ;)

This kind of kiss. ;)

Okay, back to the topic. Those words actually a normal Indonesian words, but you know, Indonesians have this personality that have been passed on from generation to generation. We cut words MERCILESSLY. Yeah, pretty cold-blooded. Since the old times people tend to cut words short, even in formal occasion or important things. For example, do you know the most famous landmark in Jakarta? It's Monas - derived from Monumen Nasional (National Monument). I bet most of Indonesian know "Monas" better than "Monumen Nasional". Whenever you said "Monas", people will immediately think of a landmark in Jakarta. But if you said "Monumen Nasional" there'll be split second until they realize that "Monumen Nasional" is "Monas" - Even if you talk with knowledgeable Indonesian - thus they won't answer right away. Try it!

Another extreme example is "Supersemar" from "Surat Perintah Sebelas Maret" (Order of March 11th). This one is pretty funny since Semar is a famous Wayang Kulit (Shadow Puppet) character. He's a mystic, powerful figure, and the guardian spirit of Java. Almost all Javanese know about him because popularity of Wayang Kulit. Woohoo... You're right man, Semar is super!

Monas and the mighty Semar

In this millennium  this habit isn't even faded. Indonesian blood is colder when dealing with texts. In the early 2000s the one of the GSM services - the Short Message Service - was booming here. Yes, yes, I know. We were underdeveloped and retarded. ~It's really hurt me to admit that~ T.T

At that time SMS was quite expensive for Indonesian, maybe around 350 IDR. Moreover, SMS was limited to 160 characters. So people started to cut words more brutally so that they could write more words. Very brutal... Most of the times, only the consonant remains in the clipped word. This habit spread widely and still commonly used until today in text based conversations.

Have you eaten yet? If you haven't eaten, hurry up, eat! If not, you'll get sick.

Sdh mkn blm? Kl blm cpt mkn! Nnt km skt.
See? Not even one vowel there but a real Indonesian will understand those sentence 100%. Not even a single muggle dictionary could help you understand those words.

Sdh mkn blm? Kl blm cpt mkn! Nnt km skt.
Sudah makan belum? Kalau belum cepat makan! Nanti kamu sakit.

40 characters SMS-style vs 61 characters colloquial Indonesian. They're all in dictionary, but Google Translate won't translate it well.

Sdh mkn blm? Kl blm cpt mkn! Nnt km skt.
Sudah makan belum? Kalau belum cepat makan! Nanti kamu sakit.
Apakah kamu sudah makan atau belum? Kalau belum makan, cepatlah makan! Kalau tidak, nanti kamu bisa sakit.
40 characters SMS-style vs 61 characters colloquial Indonesian vs 106 characters standard Indonesian. Now, try to Google Translate it!

Now because I'm aware that you're not a mere muggles, I'll share you some useful spells contraction. These ones are the most commonly used. Don't forget to wave your wands!

tetapi / tetap
hati-hati di jalan
kamu / kami
(adjective particle)
have ... (already)
haven't ... (yet)
no (colloquial)
but (formal) / still
fast, hurry
be careful on your way (A pun of "Titi DJ". She's a famous pop singer)
father, sir
you're welcome, you too
you / we

So, now you don't have to use Specialis Revelio to guess it, do you?

As you can see, some contractions could be ambiguous. It's a guessing game. The real word is depending on the context. But don't worry, usually the context is very clear thus we could guess what's the real word right away.

Many Indonesian language teachers loathe this kind of culture in the written texts since some students actually use those contraction everywhere even on their exam papers!

"Why you write it like that? You couldn't even pronounce those words! Now, can you pronounce it?"
-A language teacher, after a student wrote SMS-style contractions on the blackboard.

"How could those are words? Not even a vowel? How to pronounce it?"
-A Bulgarian, after saw Indonesians chat in IRC

As for the last type of words that I've mentioned on the top, although those are contractions, those words isn't originated from SMS-style Text culture. It came from alay culture. Another Indonesian pop culture which covers wide array of styles, not just text style. It show the Indonesian habit of cutting words mercilessly. I call it as the tacky culture. :p

seriously? = serius?
► srius? (First, we omit "e", because if "serius" pronounced fast the "e" vowel is almost unheard.)
► cius? (Then try to imitating a little kid. They tend to pronounce "s" as "c" and can't pronounce "r" well.)
ciyus? (Lastly, we add "y" to make the pronunciation smoother.)

for what's sake? = demi apa?
► miapa? (First, take a Guillotine and decapitate the "de" part.)
miapah? (Some people unconsciously prnounce glottal stop as "k" or "h". Here we add  the "h".)

On those examples, the 3 syllables serius (se-ri-us) became only 2 syllables ciyus (ci-yus) and the 4 syllables demi apa (de-mi a-pa) became 3 (or even 2) syllables miapah (mi-a-pah/mia-pah).

Maybe we'll cover about alay culture more in the another article. ;)

How about your country? Do you have culture like this too? Do you have another examples?
Leave us comments! Repello Muggletum! ;)

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