Categories: Culture

10 Indonesian Portmanteaus (Two Words Combined To Make A New Word)

Indonesians are perhaps the most prolific users of portmanteaus in the world.

So what’s a portmanteau? The chances are you’re familiar with the concept but never knew there was a specific word for the phenomenon.

A portmanteau (pronounced as if it rhymed with “sport-fan-cow”) is a linguistic blend of words, in which parts of multiple words, or their sounds and meanings, are combined to create new words.

Here are a few examples in the ever-evolving Bahasa Indonesia…

Kijang

Kerjasama Indonesia-Jepang

(Indonesia-Japan Cooperation)

Golput

Golongan putih

(Voters who abstain from voting, meaning “white” or “blank” party)

Jagorawi

Jakarta, Bogor and Ciawi.

(A motorway linking the cities of Jakarta, Bogor and Ciawi)

Jabodetabek

Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, Bekasi

(An official and administrative definition of the urban area or megacity surrounding Jakarta)

Asbun

Asal bunyi

(Carelessly speaking)

Mafia

Matematika, fisika, kimia

(math, physics, and chemistry, three school subjects that are often related)

Caper

Cari perhatian

(Attention seeker)

Ropang

Roti panggang

(Toasted bread)

Suramadu

Surabaya and Madura

(In the context of the Suramadu Bridge, which connects the two cities)

Malari

Malapetaka 15 Januari

(A social riot that happened on 15 January 1974)

Comment below if you can think of any others…

WowShack Team

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