Edmundo Luna

A Brief Glimpse into Balinese

Balinese is an Austronesian language of the Malayo-Sumbawan subbranch (Adelaar 2005), primarily spoken by 3.3 million people (as of 2000) on the islands of Bali, Lombok, and transmigrant communities in Sulawesi and elsewhere. In this presentation, I will discuss the ramifications of Austronesian alignment in Balinese, as even though its verbal morphology is not as robust as a Philippine-type language, strong hints are still present, especially when one considers the covariation between possible word orders and verb affixation. I will also discuss the lexical stratification present in Balinese, and the consequences that has for any potential language learners. Finally, I will introduce some basic vocabulary and phrases anyone who visits Bali will most likely hear.

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  • heatherjay94 says:

    This was very interesting to watch both as a Malaysian and a Korean speaker, seeing some of the similarities between Malay and Balinese, as well as how a stratified language with the added dimension of castes work 🙂 Thank you for the presentation!

  • ecluna77 says:

    Hai Lindsay jak Natashia! Niki luung sajan jerone ba mabali videone ken demenin. (Hi Lindsay and Natashia! It’s very good that you have watched the video and have enjoyed it.)

    As for resources, there aren’t too many in English, but if you want a good primer, one I could recommend is this:

    Spitzing, Gunter. 2002. Practical Balinese. Hong Kong: Periplus Editions Ltd. And you must have a good dictionary to go along with this – a good one in print is by the late N. Shadeg:

    Shadeg, Norbert. 2007. Tuttle Balinese-English dictionary. Hong Kong: Periplus Editions Ltd.

    But if you really want to go down the Balinese language rabbit hole, check out this grammar and dictionary from Barber, where he even has translations of Bible passages (!), which is quite incongruous considering that Bali is predominantly Hindu:

    Barber, C. C. 1977. A grammar of the Balinese langauge. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Library.

    Barber, C. C. 1979. A Balinese-English dictionary. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Library.
    Finally, there is an online source led by my friend Alissa Stern that is mostly an online dictionary (with entries from the Balinese speaking community), but has some other Balinese language resources as well called the BASABaliWiki (you can Google it). I also read the Balinese language forums on Kaskus from time to time to get updated on online forms of Balinese, esp. under the topic “Banjar Adat Bali”. A lot of it is sort of bro-ish nonsense, but you also get a sense of how young folks actually use Balinese today. I hope these help – and I’d be happy to talk more about this at a Zoom meeting if you’d like.

  • Matur suksema, Edmundo! This was really interesting. Second Natashia’s comment for further recommended resources. 🙂

  • Natashia says:

    This was super lovely! It really reminded me of reinvigorated my interest in learning Balinese instead of solely Bahasa Indonesia! Do you have any recommended resources to learn? I look forward to watching this one again!

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