How to Say We in Indonesian? Kami and Kita.

Hi guys! Today is the Heroes Day in Indonesia. So, this time we want to introduce you two words in Bahasa Indonesia. Do you know what is "we" in Indonesian? If you looked up in the dictionary you might find "kami" or "kita". Well, you know, if you want to translate those two words to English you can just translate them as "we". But what if we want to translate "we" to Indonesian? Actually "kita" and "kami" aren't totally interchangeable. Those words are used in different situation and the conversation would sound weird if we use the wrong one. So what should we use? Nah, we'll teach you how to sound more natural in Indonesian. Interested?

Let's start with "kami". "Kami" is pure 1st person (the person who is speaking) plural pronoun. Basically, we use it when someone mentions himself/herself plus someone else other than who he/she is talking to. The next word, "kita" is representing the 1st person plus the 2nd person (the person who is someone speaking to). In short, we use it when someone mentions himself/herself plus the one he/she is talking with. Technically said, "kita" is an "inclusive we" and "kami" is an "exclusive we".

Includes the addressee?
Yes No
the speaker?
Yes  kita (inclusive we)   kami (exclusive we) 
No  kamu/kalian (you)   mereka (they) 
Adapted from
"Kita" (left) and "Kami" (right).

Still confused? Let's imagine this situation example to grasp the feeling! :D

Let's say that Jessie and James are going somewhere. Because Jessie don't know where they are now, she ask James about it. Jessie would say: "Where are we?" in English - notice that "we" here means Jessie who is talking plus James who she is talking to. So in this case, since the "we" is including James who Jessie is talking to, in Indonesian Jessie would say: "Di mana kita?"

Let's assume that James also don't know where they are. Jessie call Meowth on their headquarter, have  Meowth to track their location and ask, "Where are we?" - notice that "we" here is not including Meowth who Jessie is talking to. Jessie says "we" because she is representing James too (I + someone else, but not including Meowth who Jessie is talking to). In this case, Jessie would say: "Di mana kami?"

Not summarizing, just a good news. ;)

If you don't know what to say, just say "kita". People use "kita" colloquially for both "kami" and "kita". Moreover, in some place especially Sulawesi island people even use it for "saya/aku (I)". :D

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