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Jakarta Post

Experts propose inclusion of Papuan word into Indonesian language dictionary

  • Nethy Dharma Somba

    The Jakarta Post

Jayapura, Papua   /   Tue, May 8, 2018   /   06:14 pm
Experts propose inclusion of Papuan word into Indonesian language dictionary Preserving tradition: Local women, colloquially called 'Mama mama' in Papua, peel tubers. (JP/Vembri Waluyas)

Linguists have suggested that epen, a Papuan word, be included in the Great Dictionary of the Indonesian Language of the Language Center (KBBI).

Epen, which is widely used by the people of Papua, is actually an abbreviation of a two word phrase, emang pentingkah? (Is it so important?).

Epen is used to reject an attempt to encourage someone to do or believe in something he or she does not consider as something important from the very beginning.

“For example, when someone doesn’t want to talk with a person he or she doesn’t trust, they will say: ‘Is it epen [so important for me] to talk with him or her?’” said Nunung, a linguist who participated in a language enrichment dissemination program held by the Papua Language Center in Jayapura.

Nunung said epen was widely used not only by native Papuans but also by people outside Papua who had visited the province or become acquainted with Papuan people.

In addition to epen, trada is another Papuan word that has been recommended for inclusion in the Great Dictionary of the Indonesian Language. “Trada is used by everyone in Papua. It means ‘no’. It’s getting rarer for people in Papua to use tidak. They often use tra or trada,” said Lita, another dissemination program participant.

“We, from the Papua Language Center, have proposed 1,000 Papuan words to be included in the KBBI, but only 384 words have been approved,” the agency’s head Toha Machsum said.

To enrich the Indonesian language, the Education and Culture Ministry in Jakarta has developed an application at kkbi.kemdikbud.go.id.

“The application makes it easier for people to propose words for inclusion from their respective regions into the KBBI. Our selection team will assess whether their proposals can be approved,” said Toha. (ebf)