"Astagfirullah, ada apa?"
Translation:Lord have mercy, what is it?
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It is Arabic and commonly used in Islam. Christians would not speak it normally unless they are non practising maybe. For sure a lot of Indonesians will understand it if you say it but then you will probably have to explain to them that you are not muslim as they will be excited thinking you might be. This is also very true for the phrases assalamualaikum and walaikumsallam. These are standard muslim greetings and if you use them then the next question from them will be, are you muslim or are you muallaf (converted to islam). For sure it is good to know what these phrases mean if you travel in this country but I don't know if it is a good idea to use them if you are not muslim, depends on the circumstance I guess. I will do a quick survey of my Indonesian colleagues and see what they say.
I guess it depends on area? Where are you that you have never heard it used?
I've definitely heard it used quite frequently, and I myself have used it a lot due to this. But I just wondered whether it was used at all in Bali, for example, or other areas where Muslims are not the majority. Or whether its usage has become more "mainstream" due to TV and media.
Ah, okay. Thanks for the insight. I haven't spent time in Jakarta, nor have I actually met any Indonesian Christians outside of the internet, so it's interesting to me which words are used more in different regions. Aside from the obvious dialects.
I've definitely heard "Astagfirullah" on TV and in Indonesian movies, by teen girls and headscarfed middle aged women alike lol
Why? Because language doesn't form in a vacuum devoid of anything else, whether religion or otherwise. If Indonesia is the fourth largest Muslim majority country in the world, then somebody who travels there is very likely to hear at least a little Arabic borrowed into the language.
Even if you have no interest in Islam, would you really want to cripple yourself from understanding what your Indonesian friends and neighbors are saying or why they are using these phrases? Knowing such things will help you interpret their emotional responses/reactions with more accuracy. Such words are linguistic social cues which will aid in understanding a little more about what is happening.
I don't like using "OMG" in English either, but I still find it useful to know what OMG means and how it is typically used so that I can understand other people who use it, which will enable me to respond appropriately in that situation.
If you never want to say such words yourself, that's not a problem. But wouldn't you want to understand the many other people around you who do feel free to talk that way? Language isn't separate from the people who use it, and lots of people in Indonesia identify with a religion. Ergo, references to religion will show up in how they use their language.
Language can be a game we all play, but most of the rules of it were written before we were born. While the rules do change, we have to agree (to some extent) to go along with the rules already in place, or else we can't participate in the same game with other people.