The Portuguese and Dutch influence
This impassioned, up- and downward sliding intonation of the word has a slightly familiar Latin-American ring to it. This is not surprising, since Manadonese has strong influences of Portuguese within its vernacular, this is why a lot of loanwords can be traced back to these colonial roots.
For example: a shoe is a sapatu, a hat is a topi (from capéo), and Indonesia’s red & white flag is a bendéra.
A real local language
With under 1 million native speakers, Manado is so unique, even Javanese have a hard time understanding it. This is because it’s just too fast and furious a language. From Wikipedia:
Manado Malay is a creole of the Malay language. It differs from Malay in having a large number of Portuguese and Dutch loan words as a result of colonisation and having traits such as its use of “kita” as a first person singular pronoun, while “kita” is a first person inclusive plural pronoun in Malay. Simple Manado Malay sentences can be understood by speakers of standard Malay, albeit with varying degrees of difficulty.Wikipedia
Another reason why it’s such a tongue twister for Javanese, is because Manadonese love to shorten everything.
For example: dia punya is a possessive pronoun, meaning his or hers in basic Bahasa Indonesia. But in Manado, they simply shorten it to the first two letters: depe. So it’s literally dee-pee or DP if you will.
Here’s another fun one: celana dalam. Celana means “trousers” and dalam means “inside”, so if you put two and two together: underwear. Guess how Manadonese say it.
Right, it’s cede. That it to say: CD. Now, if you put both terms together: his/her underwear would be dia puny celana dalam in Indonesian. But in Manadonese, it becomes depe cede. Isn’t that hilarious?
Due to the colonial history, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Dutch loanwords are embedded in Bahasa Manado. For example:
There are a ton more examples of this, and if you speak Dutch. Imagine my hilarity when I noticed the following word on a shop sign:
It took me a while to find out, but apparently Klappertaart is simply a local delicacy. Taart is the Dutch word for tart or pie, and Klapper is a bastardization of Indonesian Kelapa, which means coconut. So to summarize: a delicious coconut pie you should really try when you’re here.
Learn some basic Manadonese
Some of our colleagues were happy to provide a few more phrases as well! For a few examples, check out the video.