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Balinese lessons

Posted: 2010-05-05, 17:33
by unzum
There is an 18 lesson Balinese course in Japanese which used to be available at this address: バリ語教室, but the link now seems to be dead. Luckily there is an Internet Archive version which has all the pages and much of the sound files preserved.
Since there is not much material on Balinese available in English on the internet I thought I'd try translating the lessons here.
This translation will be as close to the original text as possible, but will also be fairly rough. I haven't tried learning Balinese before (it is, however, a language I hope to learn in the future) so I probably won't be able to help that much with any questions about the language, but if you need any clarification regarding the translated lessons I will try and help as much as possible.


Posted: 2010-05-05, 17:46
by unzum
Original Japanese version

Balinese is one of many regional languages of the multiethnic country Indonesia. For the purpose of co-existing with the national language Indonesian, the status of the Balinese language in the island of Bali differs from, for example, the status of English in the United Kingdom.

Balinese is a language with a complex system of politeness levels, and depending on the situation and the person you are speaking to, the vocabulary will change accordingly.

We will introduce in simple terms the sociolinguistical features of the Balinese language.

(1) The Balinese language in Indonesia

Balinese is spoken by 3, 800, 000 people (according to SIL and Ethnologue) throughout the entire island of Bali and neighbouring islands (Nusa Penida & the western parts of Lombok).
Indonesia is a multiracial country of around 300 enthnicities. With the forming of the Constitution of Indonesia, the language Indonesian, originating from the Malay language, was established as the sole national language for use as the official language of politics, education etc. Even in Balinese speaking areas, education is carried out in Indonesian starting from elementary education. At the present time, almost all Balinese speakers are also bilingual in Indonesian (Malay).

However, the Balinese language still holds the firm position of being the first language of overwhelming numbers of Balinese people in Bali. Excepting discourse in official bodies, the Balinese language is the sole language used in most situations at home and in the community, and is the first language of many Balinese children.

(2) Balinese honorific language
*The following explanation may become slightly complicated but please try to read through it from beginning to end.

1. Balinese honorific vocabulary

Balinese vocabulary is split into two groups, respectful and not respectful (usual, all-purpose) vocabulary.
The honorific words are then further split into two sub-groups, respectful and normal class. The respectful class is then again split into three groups, polite language, honorific words (used to show respect to another person), and humble language (used to lower your own status). Please refer to the diagram below:

I-----Respectful vocabulary-----------------------------Respectful class-----Polite language
III---Honorific language
III---Humble language
II-----Normal class
I-----Not respectful vocabulary (usual, all-purpose)

The respectful class of vocabulary (polite, honorific and humble) forms different 'honorific sets' along with the normal class of vocabulary, like so:
Normal class--Polite language
Normal class--Honorific language
Normal class--Honorific language--Humble language

There are no respectful synonyms in the 'not respectful vocabulary' group.

I-----Respectful vocabulary-----------------------Respectful class-----Polite language~~~~I
III------Honorific languageI~~~~I~~~~I
III------Humble languageII~~~~I
II-----Normal class~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I~~~~I~~~~I
I-----Not respectful vocabulary (usual, all-purpose)

So what 'honorific set' a word is part of shows what politeness levels are possible to show with that word. Let's take a look at examples of these various types:

Meaning'Honorific set'Normal classPolite languageHonorific languageHumble language
to comeNormal-Polite

In the Normal-Polite type of the 'Honorific set', there are two politeness levels possible; the normal class word 'ibi' is used for usual situations and the polite language word 'dibi' is used for polite situations.
However, in the second Normal-Polite example of the 'Honorific set', the single word 'rauh' can be used for three functions (polite, honorific and humble) which the word 'teka' is used for usual situations.
In the third example the word 'gelem' is used for usual situations and in humble language (speaking about your own illness or the illness of a member of a group you are part of), and 'sungkan' is used as respectful language.

2. Balinese grammar

What type of honorific language you use depends on the situation and the social position (caste and social class) of the speaker, the listener and the person you are talking about.
For example, if you wanted to say 'He was ill yesterday', you could construct a number of different sentences differing in politeness level, depending on your choice of words from the 'Honorific set': 'ia-ida-ipun' (he/she), 'gelem-sungkan' (ill/sick) and 'ibi-dibi' (yesterday).

Casual style: Ia gelem ibi - He/She was ill yesterday (using the normal class for all three words)
Polite style: Ida sungkan dibi - He/She (honorific) was ill (honorific) yesterday (polite)
Polite style: Ipun gelem dibi - He/She (humble) was ill (normal) yesterday (polite)

Looking at the above three sentences, you can see that there are two types of politeness levels, Casual style (Biasa) and Polite style (Alus). The first sentence is in the casual style, and the second and third are in the polite style. The casual style is made from vocabulary from the normal class and/or not respectful vocabulary (usual, all-purpose), and the polite style is made from vocabulary from the respectful class, namely polite, honorific and humble language (humble also includes not respectful vocabulary [usual, all-purpose]).

I-----Respectful vocabulary----------Respectful class-----Polite language-----I
III------Honorific language-----I---->Polite style
III------Humble language-----I
II-----Normal class---------------------------->Casual style
I-----Not respectful vocabulary (usual, all-purpose)-------------------------------------->Casual style, Polite style

Simply put, the casual style is mainly used among people with a close relationship, such as friends and siblings, or by superiors when talking to subordinates/inferiors/juniors; and the polite style is used amongst strangers and by inferiors when talking to superiors. Who is inferior or superior has until now, mainly been decided by caste, but recently elements such as age and position in the community, area or workplace are taken into account. In other words, strangers not belonging to a caste will generally both use the polite style.

Furthermore, elements such as the situation (whether it is public, private, official etc) and the object particular vocabulary is referring to all play a role in the decision of what style to use.

These materials mainly focuses on the polite style, which foreigners in Bali can use without risk of offending.

Lesson01: Greetings 1

Posted: 2010-05-05, 17:53
by unzum
Original Japanese version

Lesson01: Greetings 1

Here we will learn about Balinese greetings.

The W♪ and R♪ symbols on the original website stand for the type of audio files, WMA and Real Player audio.

(1) Greetings used in everyday life, originating from the Indonesian language

Selamat pagi - Good morning
Selamat siang - Hello, good day
Selamat sore - Good evening
Selamat malam - Good night
Selamat tidur - Good night
Selamat datang - Welcome
Selamat jalan - Take care (said to someone leaving and who will later come back)
Selamat tinggal - I'm off (said by the person leaving [the house etc], with the intention of coming back)
Selamat! - Congratulations! That's great

(2) When enquiring about someone's health/state

[Polite style(P)]

How are you? - Sapunapi?
How are you? - Napi ortinE?
How are you? - Sapunapi ortinE?
I'm fine - Becik-becik
Same as usual - Biasa kemanten

[Casual style(C)]

How's it going? - KEnkEn?
I'm good - Luung
Same as usual - Biasa dogEn

(3) Formal greetings
Om Suastiastu - Good day (Commonly used at community meetings, religious ceremonies etc)

Re: Balinese lessons

Posted: 2010-05-05, 18:04
by unzum
Original Japanese version

Lesson02: Greetings 2

Note: The casual and polite style will be indicated by (C) and (P) from now on.

(4) Expressions of thanks

Thank you - Matur Suksma (This is a fairly polite expression)
You're welcome - Sami-sami
You're welcome - Sareng-sareng

The following Indonesian expressions are also often used in everyday life:
Thank you - Terima kasih
You're welcome - Sama-sama

The above Indonesian expressions said in Balinese style are also often used:
Terima kasih nggih - Thank you (P)
Makasih nah - Thanks (C)

(5) Other expressions used as greetings

Where are you going? - Jagi kija? (P)
Where are you going? - Lakar kija? (C)
Have you already eaten? - Sampun ngajeng? (P)
Have you already eaten? - Suba madaar? (C)
Have you bathed already? - Sampun masiram? (P)
Have you bathed already? - Suba manjus? (C)

Lesson03: Pronunciation

Posted: 2010-05-05, 18:08
by unzum
Original Japanese version

Lesson03: Pronunciation

Here we will learn about Balinese pronunciation. Please check the original website for the sound files.

(1) Vowels
There are 6 vowels, a, i, u, E, o & e.

jati - really, seriously
sabat - to throw

ipun - he, her (polite level)
dini - (at) here
bedik - a bit

ukir - to carve
bubu - bait (for fishing)

E (similar to the e sound in 'elephant')
Eling - to remember
sEmEr - water well

ombak - wave
nomplok - to break

e (corresponding to the 'ǝ' shwah sound in English)
embung - sprout (of a tree etc)
empas - (a small) turtle/tortoise

An 'a' at the end of words is pronounced as 'e':
apa [apǝ] - what (casual level)
bapa [bapǝ] - father

(2) Consonants
There are 18 consonants: h, n, c, r, k, d, t, s, w, l, m, g, b, ng, p, j, y & ny.

layah - tongue
sahsah - to spread (out), extend, be spread etc

nasi - meal
lan - let's~
baan - depending on

ica - to laugh, smile
cangkem - to taste

taru - tree
rasa - taste

lElE - catfish
puntul - dull (referring to a knife)

kapok - stubborn, obstinate
pakpak - to chew, bite

dadong - grandmother
tukad - rive

telu - three
pat - four

sampi - cow
kutus - eight

wEdang - coffee
bawi - pig
bawang - red onion

mati - to die
mata - eye
berem - rice wine

girang - to be happy, delighted
belog - to be stupid
munggah - to ride, get on

bE - meat, fish
mengkeb - to hide
ongkeb - humid

nguling - to bake, grill, burn
bunga - flower
baang - to give
sanggah - a shrine in someone's house

padi - rice-plant
tekep - cover, lid

jakti - truly, really
kija - where (to)

yuyu - crab
bayu - energy

nyak - to want to~
manyi - rice harvest
munyi - sound, voice

Lesson04: What is this?

Posted: 2010-05-06, 3:04
by unzum
Original Japanese version

Lesson04 - What is this?

Key Points
Niki buku - What is this?
Niki buku basa Bali - This is a Balinese book (in the Balinese language)
Napi nika? - What is that?
Niki nenten buku basa Bali - That is not a Balinese book

Skit 1
A: Napi niki? - What is this?
B: Nika buku - That is a book
A: Buku napi? - What kind of book is it?
B: Buku basa Bali - It's a Balinese book

Skit 2
A: Buku nika buku napi? - What kind of book is that book?
B: SanE cEn? - Which (book) is this?
A: SanE ring duur mEja - The one on the top of the desk
B: Niki buku basa Bali - This is a Balinese book
A: Dados cingak? - Is it okay if I look?
B: Dados - It's fine (to look)
A: Nika buku basa Bali taler? - Is that also a Balinese book?
B: Ten. Niki nEnten buku basa Bali. Buku niki buku basa IndonEsia - No (you're wrong). This is not a Balinese book. This is an Indonesian book

Grammar notes

(1) Sentences with nouns

In Balinese there is no word corresponding to the English verb 'to be'.
The sentence [A is B] is constructed by arranging two nouns or pronouns together.

(2) Demonstrative pronouns and interrogative pronouns

Polite style (P)Casual style (C)
Interrogative pronounsnapiapa
Demonstrative pronouns (this)nikienE
Demonstrative pronouns (that)nikaento

(3) Adjectives, words modifying nouns

The order nouns and their modifying adjectives is 'noun' + 'adjective', the opposite of English.

buku niki - this book
buku nika - that book
basa Bali - Balinese language
buku basa Bali - Balinese language book 

(4) The negative nEnten

Niki nEnten buku basa Bali -This is not a Balinese book

The negative word 'nEnten' is placed before the predicate.

Nika nEnten tEh - That is not tea
Tiang nEnten mahasiswa - I am not a university student

(5) The adverb 'taler' (also)

Nika buku basa Bali taler - That is also a Balinese book
Titiang mahasiswa taler - I am also a university student
Ipun anak Jepang taler - He is also a university student

Lesson04: Vocabulary

Posted: 2010-05-06, 8:37
by unzum
Original Japanese version

Vocabulary list (Nouns)


Casual stylePolite styleTranslation
buluanranbutan fruit
sumagamandarin orange
tuungeggplant, aubergine
payabitter melon
sEla, kesElasweet potato
seraa paste made from femented prawns
bawangred onion
tabiacapsicum, pepper
serElemon grass
darang nasiaccompaniment for rice dishes
satE jatahkebab
lawarlawar (Bali salad)
pEsanminced or sliced fish or meat with vegetables or grated coconut, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed
tumminced meat wrapped in banana leaves and steamed
bE gulingulam gulingwhole roast pig
kuudcoconut juice
tuaksajengpalm wine
araka distilled liquor made from palm oil or rice
beremalcohol made from glutinous rice

Animals, nature

Casual stylePolite styleTranslation
ubuhan; ubuh-ubuhanlivestock, domestic animal
cicing; kulukasudog
mEng; mEongcat
kebowater buffalo
lelipi; lipiulasnake
cekcekgecko; house lizard
katakgreen (tree) frog
pucuk hibiscus
taru; punyatree
punyan nyuhwit kelapapalm tree
binginlime tree
pulo; nusaisland
matan aisuryasun
purnamafull moon
tilemnew moon
yang lalah; biang lalahrainbow

Clothes, accessories

Casual stylePolite styleTranslation
udengdestar (honorific)cloth that men tie around their head, part of men's uniform'
kebayawoman's blouse, part of national costume
antengkampuhbelt/sash, part of national costume
sabukpepekek (honorific)woman's belt/sash
saputkampuhcloth for wrapping over loincloth, part of men's uniform
jalErtrousers; pants
anting-antingdangling earrings
pupurwedakface powder
suahsuri (honorific)comb

Furniture, daily necessities, kitchenware

Casual stylePolite styleTranslation
pasarEan; pasirepanpakoleman (honorific)bed
kasurtilam (honorific)mattress
damar; lampusuarlamp; light
listrikelectric lamp, light
ubad legumosquito coil
laptea towel; dish cloth
kopersuitcase; trunk
suratsEwala patraletter
tipcassette tape
gelas; lumurglass
blakaswide blade knife
panguligan basastone mortar for grinding seasonings
batun panguligangrindstone for grinding seasonings
jalikankitchen range; cooking stove
komporportable cooking stove

House and buildings

Casual stylePolite styleTranslation
umahjero (honorific); puri (honorific); geria (honorific)house
balEa building without walls
balE dajabedroom
paonpawaregan (honorific)kitchen
kamar mandibathroom
pintu; jelananlawang (honorific); lawangan (honorific)door
sEmErwater well
warungcart selling food and other goods
bank; bangbank
kantorcompany; office
kantor pospost office


Casual stylePolite styleTranslation
motor; montorpalinggihan (honorific)motor-bike; vehicle
mobilpalinggihan (honorific)car; vehicle
bEmotandem bicycle
prau; jukungboat (human powered e.g. sailboat or rowing boat)
kapalboat; ship (with engine)
kapal terbangairplane

Parts of the body

Casual stylePolite styleTranslation
awakraga (honorific); angga (honorific)body
sirah; duurprabu (honorific)head
bokrambut (honorific)hair
muaprarai (honorific)face
aliswimba (honorific)eyebrow
mata; paningalanpanyingakan (honorific); pangaksian (honorific)eye
kupingkarna (honorific)ear
cunguhungasan (honorific)nose
bibihlambE (honorific)lip
gigiuntu (honorific)teeth
layahlidah (honorific)tongue
baongkanta (honorific)neck
limatangan (honorific)hand
jerijibahu (honorific)finger
batiscokor (honorific)leg
tangkahdada (honorific)chest
basangweteng (honorific)stomach; abdomen
bangkiangmadia (honorific)waist; lower back
jitsilit (honorific)buttocks
tundunungkur (honorific)back
nyonyosusu (honorific)breast
kukunaka (honorific)nails
kulitpamula; carmaskin

Re: Balinese lessons

Posted: 2010-08-14, 4:22
by Struthiomimus
Cool. Thanks so much for this. :silly:

Re: Balinese lessons

Posted: 2010-10-28, 2:38
by Karavinka
Pardon me for hijacking this thread, but I found a quite useful Balinese textbook: Everyday Balinese: Your Guide to Speaking Balinese Quickly and Effortlessly in a Few Hours by I Gusti Made Sutjaja from Tuttle. I was just browsing a local bookstore in Seoul (!) and I was very surprised they carried a book like this.

The other Everyday X series from Tuttle are basically phrasebooks, but this one turned out to be different. Everyday Balinese actually contains lessons - 23 in total - with sentences, vocabulary and grammar(!). All lessons are given in casual and polite speech (which are very different from each other in Balinese) in near-perfect parallels, both in conversations, vocabulary and grammar.

All sentences and vocabulary are accompanied with English and Indonesian translations, which makes it easier to draw structural parallels between Basa Bali and Bahasa Indonesia. The grammar is a bit sketchy, but assuming you have some grasp of Indonesian, it should still be usable.

I'm looking forward to get クタ・アルダナのバリ語会話 (Kutha Ardana's Conversational Balinese) as well, and it looks like it'd take a while to get it shipped. (Um... wait, wasn't I learning Indonesian at the moment? Must...resist...expugitis! :silly: )

Re: Balinese lessons

Posted: 2010-11-23, 21:34
by unzum
Thanks for the info Karavinka!
Yeah, I've had my eye on 'Everyday Balinese' for a while now. If I ever learn a bit of Balinese (someday!) this will be the main resource I'll use, although クタ・アルダナのバリ語会話 looks good as well, and it comes with a CD which is a bonus. Let me know what you think of the Japanese book.
So are you planning on visiting Bali or is it just linguistic curiousity? ;)

Re: Balinese lessons

Posted: 2010-11-24, 0:07
by Karavinka
unzum wrote:Thanks for the info Karavinka!
Yeah, I've had my eye on 'Everyday Balinese' for a while now. If I ever learn a bit of Balinese (someday!) this will be the main resource I'll use, although クタ・アルダナのバリ語会話 looks good as well, and it comes with a CD which is a bonus. Let me know what you think of the Japanese book.
So are you planning on visiting Bali or is it just linguistic curiousity? ;)

Please note that the CD for Kutha Ardana's book is sold separately. I didn't think twice and I have the book without the CD. Still, the phonetics doesn't seem to be too different from that of Indonesian (though accentation is quite different.)

Everyday Balinese, like I said in the previous post, has parallel sentences first in Common Balinese and then in High Balinese. I think this kind of layout can be useful in acquiring the distinctive vocabularies for each register - but regarding when to use which type or when to mix different registers to get a decent "middle" level Balinese, the book falls a bit short. The book has either all-Common or all-High.

Kutha Ardana's book doesn't tell you to say things exclusively (or almost exclusively) in either Common or High Balinese. Rather, it follows some kind of "middle road" where the Common is given first and it suggests you where you can substitute High vocabulary in various contexts. Since this book is in Japanese, a lot of Common-High pairings are linked to Japanese Teineigo-Keigo, although I don't know if this makes it easier or more difficult.

And no, I'm not planning an immediate visit to Bali.

Re: Balinese lessons

Posted: 2018-02-03, 9:39
by atalarikt
These lessons are very comprehensive. A bit ashamed because I'm gaining more fluency on my another native language from a course originally made by a Japanese :oops: , but kinda glad to see foreigners interested in Balinese as well. :D

Also, since the thread starter is no longer active since circa 2012, would anyone fluent in Japanese like to continue translating the lessons from the archived site?

Re: Balinese lessons

Posted: 2018-02-10, 23:11
by vijayjohn
I happen to have Everyday Balinese, too. I was learning some a few years ago because I found it at a bookstore and one of my colleagues in graduate school was Balinese, so I used to talk to him a little bit in Balinese. :)

Re: Balinese lessons

Posted: 2018-02-11, 10:19
by księżycowy
I've eyed that book from time to time on Amazon. How good is it?

Re: Balinese lessons

Posted: 2018-02-16, 5:21
by vijayjohn
I like it! It doesn't teach all that much since it only has like ten lessons or something, but it's still something. It reminds me of Everyday Indonesian, which I also have.

Re: Balinese lessons

Posted: 2018-02-16, 11:17
by księżycowy
Maybe I'll buy it then, when/if I ever get around to Indonesian.

Re: Balinese lessons

Posted: 2018-02-22, 6:56
by vijayjohn
I think it's worth it. :)

Re: Balinese lessons

Posted: 2018-02-22, 9:01
by Karavinka
Karavinka wrote:Wait, but how did you use that? I didn't know you knew Japanese... or maybe because you could look at only the Balinese parts and figure out what was dealt with?

The English translation of Lessons 1 to 4 is above. The rest remains untranslated until now. :doggy:

atalarikt PM'd me for having edited this post instead of quoting it. No worries, this can happen. I'll try to remember what I wrote but I'm not sure what I said.