Bali speaks many languages at once. The local language culture is inconceivable without the historical Balinese, Indonesian, and also the English language. We have created this article so that you can understand the features of the modern linguistic culture of the island.
Balinese language: why is it interesting and what is its significance today?
For ease of communication with other regions of Indonesia, local residents in Bali know Indonesian, but, as in other regions of the country, local languages and dialects are preserved here. That is why the modern oral language of Bali can be called a mixture of Indonesian and traditional Balinese.
However, the Balinese language not only plays a communicative role, but also influences the island's identity and societies.
Language is a key tool for passing on the traditions, myths, stories and wisdom of the older generations to the younger ones. It also hosts religious ceremonies. This helps to preserve the unique features of the island's culture.
This is reflected not only in the general culture of the island, but also, for example, on signs and in the historical names of areas and other attractions. For convenience, all this is translated into Latin.
High and low dialects of Balinese
The high dialect is used in formal situations such as religious ceremonies, official events, public performances. Historically, it was also used when dealing with high dignitaries.
This dialect is often used to express respect and emphasize status. It uses more formal and embellished expressions that highlight the high status of the interlocutor.
High dialect is more complex in terms of vocabulary and grammar. It has a large number of forms that may be more obsolete in the low dialect.
The high dialect is traditionally associated with older generations and the transmission of traditions. It is also used in the performance of traditional songs, religious texts and literary works.
The low dialect is used in everyday communication, among friends, family and in informal situations. It reflects the more ordinary side of life and communication.
The low dialect has less formality and embellishment, making it more suitable for communicating with friends and peers. However, this does not mean that there is no respect; just a level of formality lower.
The low dialect is less complex in terms of vocabulary and grammar. It may include more simplified forms and expressions, making it more accessible to a wider audience.
The low dialect is most often used in everyday life, at home, between friends and family. It reflects closeness and friendliness in communication.
Interesting facts about the Balinese language
• In Balinese, there is a special declension of verbs depending on the time of day. For example, one form of the verb is used for morning, another for afternoon, a third for evening, and a fourth for night. This highlights the importance of the time of day in Balinese culture.
• The Balinese language has a unique system of numerals that allows you to talk about the number of items without specifying the exact number. This is especially useful when describing large groups of objects, when the exact number does not really matter.
• In Balinese, using the interlocutor's name is considered somewhat rude in most situations. Instead, they are addressed through the word "Put" (for elders) or "Anak" (for younger ones), which emphasizes respect for the interlocutor.
• Balinese can be very concise in terms of context and abbreviations. For example, instead of "I'm going to the store," you can say "Ke toko," which literally means "To the store."
What is the importance of Indonesian and English in Bali?
Indonesian is the official language in Bali as well. Despite the fact that elements of the Balinese language are used in everyday communication, the locals mostly know Indonesian.
The Indonesian language is a kind of linguistic bridge between various ethnic groups such as the Balinese, Javanese, Sundanese and others inhabiting Indonesia. It is a common means of communication that allows different ethnic groups to communicate with each other.
English is an important element of communication in Bali, especially in the context of tourism, business and education. The good news for tourists is that more and more people in Bali are learning English to make it easier to communicate with foreign tourists and work in an international environment.
Bali attracts many tourists from all over the world. Since English is the international language of communication, many Balinese working in the tourism industry (hotel business, restaurants, shops) strive to speak English in order to provide quality service and understand the needs of tourists.
English also plays an important role in the education system in Bali. Many schools and universities offer programs in English, which helps graduates to be more competitive in the international job market and connect students from all over the world.
In addition, there are many language centers and courses on the island where you can learn English.
English is also becoming a means of communication between different ethnic groups on the island and between residents and foreign residents. It also broadens one's horizons and allows the Balinese to interact more deeply with other cultures and worldviews.
With the growth of tourism and the development of international relations, the English language is becoming an important resource for business in Bali. Many companies, especially those with business connections outside of Indonesia, prefer English-speaking employees to communicate more effectively with partners and customers.
In conclusion, we emphasize once again that the culture of Bali is unthinkable outside the history of this beautiful island. But modern trends are taking their toll: English is also studied here, which is undoubtedly useful for tourists and those who move.