Speak Indonesian Like a Sundanese: téh
If you ever learn bahasa (Indonesian) you might have noticed that colloquial Indonesian is very diverse, influenced by local dialects. As a person who was born and grown up in Bandung, I didn’t know what makes Sundanese dialects different from Jakartanese, Medanese, Balinese, Javanese, or other dialects. Yet somehow, hearing non Sundanese tried mimicking Sundanese dialect often sounds funny. So here I want to share some tips on how to speak informal Indonesian like a native Sundanese speaker.
We will begin from the famous particle téh. Probably because of a milk TVC featuring two kids, with one has Sundanese dialect and the other has Javanese dialect.
S: “Ini téh buat saya, Bu?” (Is this for me, Mom?)
J: “Bu, Bu, susu kok dibilang teh?” (Mommy, why did he call milk tea?)
J: “Itu susu ‘kan?” (That’s milk, isn’t it?)
S: “Iya, ini téh susu.” (Yup, it’s milk.)
J: “Mana tehnya?” (Where’s the tea?)
S: “Yey, ini téh susu!” (What? It is milk!)
The word “téh” here doesn’t literally mean “tea”. It is a particle commonly used in Sundanese grammar to indicate a subject in a sentence.
Here is the formula:
Subject + téh + (Verb)
|Ini adalah susu.||Ini susu.||Ini téh susu.||It is milk.|
|Di manakah sepatu saya?||Sepatu saya di mana?||Sepatu saya téh di mana?||Where are my shoes?|
|Saya membeli lima buah buku.||Saya beli buku lima buah.||Saya téh beli buku lima biji.||I bought five pieces of book.|
|Dia pergi ke pasar.||Dia pergi ke pasar.||Dia téh pergi ke pasar.||He is going to the market.|
|Buah dipotong tipis-tipis.||Buah dipotong tipis-tipis.||Buah téh dipotong tipis-tipis.||The fruits are sliced thinly.|
|Ada apa dengan dia?||Kenapa dia?||Kenapa dia téh?||What happened to her?|
See. If you have learned colloquial Indonesian, you could easily put the particle téh right after the subject. That’s it!
Next, we will discuss about another particle with similar functionality: mah. See you next time!