Learning Bahasa Okusi

This page is generously sponsored by the Okusi-Ambeno Language Foundation.

Based on the Malay trade dialect, Bahasa Okusi is now the national language of the Sultanate of Okusi-Ambeno. It unites the 73,000 people of the Sultanate, whose native tongue may be one of the over 30 distinct regional dialects. Older people may speak some Portuguese, however the foreign language of choice for business, tourism and study is English.

While it is possible to live in the Sultanate without speaking Bahasa Okusi, it is highly recommended that you obtain a working knowledge of the language. An inability to communicate in Bahasa Okusi will cut you off from the mainstream of society, and dealing with those who don't speak a foreign language will be very difficult. You deny yourself as well the rich cultural experience of fully communicating with those from another culture.

To get you started and introduce you to the language, are some basic phrases in Bahasa Okusi.

Good morning Selamat pagi
          mid-day Selamat siang
          evening Selamat malam
  Selamat jalan (to someone who is leaving you)
Thank you terima kasih
You're welcome kembali or sama-sama
How are you? Apa kabar?
Excuse me Permisi or maaf
Do you speak English? Bisa bicara Bahasa Inggris?
I don't understand. Saya tidak mengerti.
Requesting basic assistance:
Can you help me? Bisa bantu saya?
Where is the bathroom? Di mana kamar kecil?
Where is . . . Di mana . . .
How much is this? Berapa harganya ini?
I want this. Saya mau ini.
I want to eat. Saya mau makan.
Getting home:
My address is ... Alamat saya...
Please take me to ... Tolong, antar saya ke ...

Learning Bahasa Okusi
The best time to start learning Bahasa Okusi is before you even make your move, however it may be difficult to find language materials in your home country. Ask your sponsoring company to help you obtain tapes and books several months before you move, so that you can start becoming used to the sound of the language.

Formal Courses
Soon after your arrival in Okusi-Ambeno, make it a priority to register for a Bahasa Okusi course. There are several excellent schools and community organizations in Pante-Makassar (and other towns) which have comprehensive, structured programs to help you begin learning Bahasa Okusi. Learning Bahasa Okusi properly from the beginning can not be stressed enough.

Another advantage of signing up for a course is that it's a great place to meet other newcomers and make friends. The people that you will be taking the course with will also be facing many of the settling in and adjustments challenges that you too face as a newcomer.

Others opt for private lessons in their home or office from private tutors. This option tends to be the most expensive, and there is little control over the quality of the curriculum and instruction. Even though the tutor may come highly recommended from others, that does not ensure the quality of their instruction. You may, however, find it useful to meet with a tutor for a period after you have completed several levels of a formal course. That way they can help you with any specialized requirements you may have.

Self-Taught Bahasa Okusi
Many expats opt to learn Bahasa Okusi on their own. Excellent books to learn Bahasa Okusi are available in bookstores around Pante-Makassar. Once you are in Okusi-Ambeno, practice your fledgling Bahasa Okusi with your servants, driver, mistresses, vendors and people you meet in the stores and social encounters. The diligent will quickly pick up enough Bahasa Okusi to feel comfortable interacting with Okusians on a daily basis.

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This page prepared and maintained by the Royal Okusi Language Foundation in co-operation with the Okusi-Ambeno Tourist Promotion Board.
Berita Istana Iskandar, 1995. All rights reserved.