Sasak: The Language of Lombok

by Nick on March 20, 2007

by Nick | March 20th, 2007  

In Lombok people speak Bahasa Indonesia like the Balinese and also have their own Sasak language. The Sasak language is spoken by the Sasak ethnic group, which make up the majority of the population. It is closely related to the languages of Bali and Sumbawa.

The language is divided into five dialects, which are not always mutually intelligible:

Kuto-Kute (North Sasak)
Ngeto-Ngete (Northeast Sasak)
Meno-Mene (Central Sasak)
Ngeno-Ngene (Central East Sasak, Central West Sasak)
Mriak-Mriku (Central South Sasak)

Here are some simple phrases.

Where are you going? (the most common greeting) – Ojok um bay?
Just walking – Lampat-lampat
I’m going to Senggigi – Senggigi wah mo ojok um bay
Where is? – Um bay tao?
How are you? – Berem bay khabar?
I’m fine – Bagus / solah
And you? – Berem bay seeda?
How many children do you have? – Pira kanak de?
See you – Yak la low
No problem – Nday kambay kambay

The numbers have a similarity to Bahasa Indonesia:
0 – Ndarak
1 – Skek
2 – Dua
3 – Telu
4 – Empat
5 – Lima
6 – Enam
7 – Pitook
8 – Baluk
9 – Siwak
10 – Sepulu

Sasak people are Muslim and therefore don’t eat pork. There’s no babi guling or lawar there. Sasak favourites include:

Ayam taliwang – fried or grilled chicken with chili sauce
Geroan Ayam – chicken liver
Lapis – Rice flour coconut milk and sugar dessert wrapped in a banana leaf.
Cerorot – Rice flour, palm sugar and coconut milk dessert wrapped in a cone shape.
Kelor – vegetable soup
Hati – liver
Beberuk – Raw eggplant and chili sauce
Gule lemak – chicken curry
Sayur Nanagka – young jackfruit curry
Satay pusat – minced beef and coconut satay
Olah olah – beans in coconut milk

In Kuta on the south coast it can be hard to get fish surprisingly. The locals aren’t big fish eaters and most of the fish caught is sold to charter boats, leaving not too much for the local warungs.

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