Semantic adaptations of the Arabic loanwords in the Indonesian language

Ali Ahmed Julul, Nabilah Myrrha Rahmawati, Deny Arnos Kwary, Ni Wayan Sartini

Abstract views = 1792 times | downloads = 1410 times


This paper investigates the adaptation of Arabic loanwords in the Indonesian language semantically. The data were taken from Kamus Basar Bahasa Indonesia (KBBI) fifth edition. 1,870 words are listed in the KBBI as Arabic loan words. The definitions of these words were compared with their original Arabic definitions found in Almaany Arabic dictionary (2019) to determine the semantic adaptations. The analysis shows that most of the Arabic loanwords in the Indonesian language have retained the same meanings as their originals in the Arabic language. However, there have been semantic adaptations in which eighteen words have been narrowed, nine words have been extended, and seven words have gone through the shifting process. The narrowing was due to absorbing of only one meaning of a word that had many meanings in Arabic ,  borrowing the old meanings of the words that have been extended recently due to the advent of technology, filling any existing gap or borrowing of new words along with cultural concepts. The extending was due to overgeneralizing some Arabic affixes and forms ,leaving one form of a word to represent the meanings of the others or assigning names to things by the way people perceive them by their five senses . The shifting occurred mainly because of borrowing of new words along with cultural concepts, assigning names to things by the way they are perceived by the five senses or overgeneralizing of forms that occurred in Arabic loanwords.It is hoped that the findings of this study will be useful to researchers interested in semantic adaptation of loanwords.


Arabic loanwords; extension; narrowing; semantic adaptation; shifting; the Indonesian language

Full Text:



Abdullah, A., Wekke, I. S., & Barat, P. (2018).Origins of Islam in Indonesia. International journal of pure and applied mathematics 1. 119(18), 1149–1179.

Akhbar Dirburun (2018). Alharisah Alati tugam fi yaum alashir min muharam. Retrieved from

Akidah, M. A. (2013). Phonological and Semantic Change in Language Borrowing (The Case of Arabic Words Borrowed into Kiswahili). International Journal of Education and Research, 1(4), 1-20.‏

Almaani dictionary online. (2019). Retrieved from &العهن/

Anwar, F. (2017). Semantic Change in Language Borrowing: The Case of Arabic Borrowed Words in Urdu. Language in India. 17(2) 107-124.

Bahumaid, S. (2015). Lexical Borrowing: The Case of English Loanwords in Hadhrami Arabic. International Journal of Language and Linguistics, 2(6), 13-24.‏

Danzaki, M. (2015). Semantic change in Arabic loanwords in Hasua. The-Proceeding of the 2nd International Conference on Arabic Studies and Islamic Civilization. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

De Saussure, F. (1916). Course in General Linguistics. NY, USA: Columbia University Press.

Devianty, R. (2016). Loanwords in Indonesia. Vision, 9 (9).

Hardini, T. I., & Grangé, P. (2016). An overview of Indonesian loanwords from French. Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 6(1), 155-171.‏

Hasan, M. (2015). Semantic change of words entered into another language through the process of language borrowing: A case study of Arabic words in Bengali. PEOPLE: International Journal of Social Sciences, 1(1).‏ 1375:1390.

Hashemi, E. S. (2014). Phonological Adaptation of Arabic Loan Words in Persian: Consonants. International Journal and Humanities and Social Science, 4(6), 1.‏ 225-236.

Haspelmath, M. & Tadmor, U. (2009). Loanwords in the World’s Languages : A comparative handbook. Berlin,Germany : Walter Wiegand.H.

Hickey,R.(2010).The handbook of language Contact. Singapore : Blackwell Publishing.

Hoffer, B. L. (2002). Language borrowing and language diffusion: An overview. Intercultural communication studies, 11(4), 1-37.‏

Indonesian mixed corpus collection (2013) retrieved from https://corpora.uni-

Jones, R. (1984). Loan-words in contemporary Indonesian. JWM Verhaar (Ed.).‏Retrieved from

Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia(5thed)online.(2019) version 2.5. Retrieved from

Khan, I.A. (2014). Lexical borrowings from Arabic and Semantic change in Urdu: A cross linguistic analysis. Hope Journal of Research, 2(3) 47-66.

Khrisat, A., & Mohammad, M. S. (2014). Language's borrowings: The role of the borrowed and Arabized words in enriching Arabic language. American Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2(2), 133-142.‏

Koin (Korpus Indonesia) (2018). Badan Pengembangan dan Pembinaan Bahasa, Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan Republik Indonesia retrieved from

Lubat aldabus -Almuritaniah (2019) . Ragsah shabiyah yihadidaha alihmal alrasmi bilindithar Retrieved from

Matras, Y.(2009). Language contact. NY, USA: Cambridge University Press.

Miller, R.(2015). Trask’s Historical Linguistics, (3rd,ed ).NY,USA: Routledge.

Murphy, L. & Koskela, A. (2010). Key terms in semantics. NY,USA : Continuum.

Oxford Dictionaries Online. (2019). Retrieved from

Pavlou,P.Y. (1993). The semantic adaptation of Turkish loanwords in Cypriot-Greek. The First International Conference on Greek Linguistics. Reading, United Kingdom

Sapir. E. (1921). Language : An introduction to the study of Speech, Taipei: Rainbow-Bridge.

Shariq, M. (2013). Exploring the semantic changes in Persian loan words: Used in Brass Industry of Moradabad. Language in India ,13(3) 371-380.

Stanzy, P. (2005). Encyclopedia of linguistics. New York :Taylor & Francis Group.

Stevens,A.& Schmidgall-Telling, A.(2010). A comprehensive Indonesian -English dictionary, (2nd ed ). USA: Ohio University Press.

Takamura, H., Nagata, R., & Kawasaki, Y. (2017). Analyzing semantic change in Japanese loanwords. In Proceedings of the 15th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Volume 1, Long Papers (pp. 1195-1204).‏ Valencia, Spain.

Thomason, S. G., & Kaufman, T. (2001). Language contact. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.‏

Torstensson, B. (2014). Semantic change in words loaned to Swedish : A Comparison of metonymy and metaphor (Bachelor Thesis).Lund University.

Traore,M. & Natalia, S. (2016). Niger-Congo borrowings to English: Semantic changes and grammatical adaptation. Journal of English and Literature,2(2) 12-22.

Trauth, G. & Kazzazi, K. (2006). Routledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics. London, Britain : Routledge.

Van Dam, N. (2010). Arabic loanwords in Indonesian revisited. Bijdragen tot de taal-, land-en volkenkunde/Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia, 166(2-3), 218-243.‏

Waladabah, M. (2019) The Muritanian Dabus Game. Retrieved fromلعبة-الدبوس-الموريتانية-رقصة-شعبية-يهددها-الإهمال-الرسمي-بالاندثار

Wiegand,H.(2004). Sociolinguistics, (2nd ed ). Berlin, Germany: Walter Wiegand.

Zaidan, N. A., Zailaini, M. A., & Ismail, W. M. (2015). Absorption of Arabic words in Malay language. OIDA International Journal on Sustainable Development, 8(6), 51-58.‏


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Ali Ahmed Julul, Nabilah Myrrha Rahmawati, Deny Arnos Kwary, Ni Wayan Sartini




Free counters!

View Mozaik Stats

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.