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INTRODUCTION – PERKENALAN (Dialogues) Posted by on Sep 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

In Indonesia, when you are introducing yourself, or you are being introducing by someone, usually, you are expected to say your name. Then, at the same time, for men, it is customary to shake hands by taking the other person’s hand in a light, bland-clap and a slow and deliberate manner. However, when you are introduced to someone who is older or in authority, to bow a little or to give a nod is necessary to show respect. On the other hand, when a man is introduced to a woman who is wearing a Muslim headdress known as “jilbab” or “kerudung”, allow her to initiate the handshake. If not, a man just nods, smiles and greets with words. In Islamic customs, it is regarded as improper for a man and a woman to touch each other physically, unless they are husband and wife, or considered unmarriageable, such as mother and son, brother and sister. In a social situation, it is proper to introduce a younger one to an older one, and a person of a lower rank to a higher rank, regardless of gender.

not touching handshakehandshake touching chest

Those who are left-handed may need to adjust to using their right hand more. Indonesians consider the left hand unclean, so whenever possible, it should not be used to give or receive items, or to shake hands.

Last but not least, don’t forget to smile and perform a handshake in a slow, deliberate manner, as a hurried introduction can be perceived as disrespectful. Unless you have a close relationship with an individual, always address others using the formal “Mr.” or “Ma’am/Mrs./Ms.,” even if the encounter is informal.

Let’s practice with the following dialogues.


Introducing yourself – Memperkenalkan diri

Dialogue 1: Informal

The conversation takes place at a super market in Jakarta.

How to Say It in Indonesian  How to Say It in English
Joko: Apa ini Pak James Adiknya Pak Alexander?James: Betul, siapa ya?Joko: Saya Joko, teman Pak Alexander.James: apa kita pernah bertemu?Joko: Ya. Alexander memperkenalkan kita di pesta ulang tahun dia.

James: Wah maaf saya lupa, sudah lama sekali.

Joko: Tidak masalah. (Anda) tinggal di mana sekarang?

James: Saya tinggal di Bali sekarang. Saya punya agen perjalanan. Sudah hampir 4 tahun ini.

Joko: Wah sukses ya. Baiklah saya harus pergi. Salam untuk Alex, Ya.

James: Ya, terima kasih.

Joko: Are you James, Alexander’s brother?James: Yes, I am. May I know whom I am speaking to?Joko: I am Joko, a friend of AlexanderJames: Did we meet before?Joko: Yes, Alexander introduced us at his party.

James: I am sorry. I don’t remember. It was quite some time ago.

Joko: That’s ok. Where do you live now?

James: I live in Bali now. I have a travel agent for almost four years now.

Joko: I am glad your business is thriving. I am sorry I have to leave now. It is nice to see you again. Could you please say hello for Alexander from me?

James: Sure.



In an informal situation, it is acceptable not to use a complete sentence. You can drop the subject in a sentence, the prefix, and the suffix (“memperkenalkan” or “perkenalkan” became ‘kenalkan’) as it is understood.


Dialogue 2: Formal

The conversation takes place in between coffee breaks of a business meeting in Jakarta.

How to Say It in Indonesian  How to Say It in English
Sumarna: Selamat siang, Pak. Kenalkan, saya Sumarna.Andi: Selamat siang. Saya Andi.Sumarna: Anda menginap di mana?Andi: Saya menginap di Hotel Indonesia Kepinski di Jalan Thamrin.Sumarna: Hotel kita berseberangan; saya menginap di Hotel Grand Hyatt.

Andi: Anda naik apa ke rapat besok?

Sumarna: Saya naik taksi.

Andi: Kita bisa pergi bersama ke rapat besok.

Andi: Itu ide yang baik. Saya tunggu besok di depan hotel jam 08.00 pagi.

Sumarna: Baiklah. Sampai besok, ya.


Sumarna: Hello. I am Sumarna.Andi: Andi! Nice to meet you.Sumarna: Nice to meet you, too. Where do you stay?Andi: I stay at Hotel Indonesia Kempinski in Jalan Thamrin,Sumarna: Our hotel are across the street from each other. I stay at Grant Hyatt Hotel.

Andi: How will you go to the meeting tomorrow?

Sumarna: I will take a taxi.

Andi: I drive my car. We can go together to tomorrow’s meeting.

Andi: That is a good idea. I will wait for you in front of the hotel at 08:00 am.

Sumarna: Great. See you tomorrow.



Did you see the difference? How is the introduction is started? Indonesians use greetings, like “selamat pagi” instead of saying, “It is nice to meet you” or “It is nice to meet you, too.”


Introducing others – Memperkenalkan orang lain

Dialogue 1: Informal

The dialogue takes place at a gathering of friends.

How to Say It in Indonesian  How to Say It in English
Sumarni: Rit, kenalkan, ini teman baik dan teman kerja saya, Hasan.Rita: Rita!. Apa kabar? 1)Hasan: Baik-baik saja, terima kasih. Teman di mana?Rita: Kami teman kuliah.Hasan: Oh, apa Rita orang Bandung juga?

Rita: Tidak, saya asli Jakarta.

Hasan: Wah, kita sama-sama orang Jakarta, ya. Jakartanya di mana?

Rita: Di daerah Menteng.

Hasan: Kita bertetangga rupanya.

Sumarni: Ya, mungkin Anda berdua bisa jalan pagi bersama.

Hasan and Rita: Kenapa tidak?


Sumarni: Rit, this is my good friend and colleague, Hasan.Rita: I am pleased to meet you.1)Hasan: Pleased to meet you too. Are you and Sumarni know each other long?Rita: We are friends from college.Hasan: Oh yeah? Are you from Bandung too?

Rita: No. I am a native Jakartan.

Hasan: Well, it seems like both of us native Jakartan. Where do you live?

Rita: In Menteng.

Hasan: We are neighbors, then.

Sumarni: Yeah, both of you could do your morning walk together.

Hasan and Rita: Why not?


1) Apa kabar? Or “What is news?” is similar to “I am pleased to meet you in English.”

2) In Indonesia, sometimes people use your first name as a substitute of “you” rather than using pronouns, like “Anda” and “Saudara”. We can also address someone with “kamu” for a second person, but it is considered rude or disrespectful if you just met. You can use “kamu” if you are close friends or you know someone well.


Dialogue 2: Formal

The dialogue takes place at a Seminar in Jakarta, Indonesia.

How to Say It in Indonesian  How to Say It in English
Sumarni: Selamat siang, Bu Rita. (per)kenalkan initeman baik dan rekan kerja saya, Dr. Hasan Sadily.Rita: Selamat siang, Pak; apa kabar? Saya Rita (extend her hand first for a hand shake).Hasan: Hasan!. (Extend his hand to shake her hand), baik, terima kasih.Rita: Apa Bapak juga* berasal dari Bandung?/Apa bapak berasal dari Bandung juga*?

Hasan: Tidak saya asli Jakata

Sumarni: Bapak dan Ibu, mari kita masuk, sesi kedua sudah akan dimulai.


Sumarni: I would like you to meet my good friend and colleague, Dr. Hasan Sadily.Hasan, this is Ms. Rita. She is a friend from college.Rita: Rita!. Nice to meet you; how are you?Hasan: Hasan! I am fine, thank you, and you 1).(Rita: I am fine thank you) 2)

Rita: Are you from Bandung too? (Sumarni is originally from Bandung, West Java).

Hasan: No. I am a native Jakartan.

Sumarni: Sir, Ma’am, let’s get inside, session two will start soon.


*Juga or “too” can be placed before the verb or at the end of the sentence.

1) Indonesians do not say ‘and you’ as it is in English. Compare the similar line in ‘how to say it in Indonesian’

2) In general, only the person who is introduced to is the one who ask “how are you?”





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About the Author:asimonoff

I’m an Indonesian language instructor, instructional material developer, reading test developer, and interpreter. I have been teaching Indonesian to adult students for 15 years, and have been teaching students from many backgrounds, such as private, military and diplomatic service employees. I’m Indonesian, but am living in the US now; my exposure to different cultures in my home country and in the US has enriched my knowledge in teaching Indonesian as a second language. I approach the teaching of the Indonesian language by developing students’ critical cultural awareness and competence. This method of teaching has been proven to be a key to the success of my students. Students become conscious of the essential role culture plays in the language.

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