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Ada-ada Aja In Indonesian Language

Halo semuanya. Apa kabar? Gimana belajar Bahasa Indonesianya? Seru? Hello everyone. How are you? How was your Indonesian language studying? Good?

This time, I wanna talk about the meaning of the phrase [ada-ada aja] in the Indonesian language. You will hear this phrase a lot if you watch a lot of Indonesian movies. As always, we're gonna watch scenes from Indonesian movies where this phrase is spoken.

Ada-ada Aja In Indonesian Language

If you want to learn Bahasa Indonesia with me, you can just join my group. You can check it out on the About Me page.

So, without further ado, let's dive in!


What Does Ada-ada Aja Mean?

 Actually, I don't know the exact word of this phrase in the English language, and it's kind of hard to find the translation for this phrase. I think I will just explain this as best I can.

We say [ada-ada aja] when we see someone who does an unexpected thing. It can be very creative or very foolish.

Later, you will see from the clip that I took from an Indonesian movie called Suara Dari Dilan so that you can have a better understanding of this phrase. I will also try to explain the situation so that you can imagine it yourself, and hopefully, you will find an English translation for this phrase.


How to Pronounce Ada-ada Aja

Let's hear how to pronounce the phrase [ada-ada aja] down below.

This time, I think I'm not going to give you example sentences using this phrase but rather just giving you lots of examples from movie scenes to see it for yourself. By doing this, hopefully, in the end, you will understand it better.


Ada-ada Aja In Movie Scenes

This clip is taken from an Indonesian movie called Milea: Suara Dari Dilan. Let's watch the clip.


The conversation in the scene with English translations is as follows.

Dilan: Bun! Bun.. Bun.. Bun. Baca Al Fatihah deh. (Mommy! Mom-- Mom-- Mom. Please recite Al Fatihah.)

Dilan’s Sister: Dih! Buat apa? (What?! What for?)

Dilan: Udah bacain aja Bun. Doain. (Come on. Just recite Al Fatihah. Pray for me.)

Dilan’s Mother: Iya, buat apa dulu? Doa ibu ngga sembarangan. (Yes, I will, but first tell me, what is it for? Because a mother's prayer is not for something bad.)

Dilan: Besok aku mau deketin cewe. Doain. (Tomorrow, I will try to get a girl to like me. I need your blessing.)

Dilan’s Mother: Amin. (Amen.)

Dilan’s Sister: Amin. (Amen.)

Dilan: Makasih, Bun. Maaf. (Thanks, mom. (*Dilan’s burping) Sorry.)

Dilan’s Sister: Pake doa ibu segala. Kaya tulisan di truk. (Just to get a girl, you use the mother's prayer. It's like the graffiti written on the truck.)

Dilan’s Mother: Tahu tuh! Ada-ada aja. (You've got the point. He's just so beyond imagination.)

I will try to explain the situation so that you will have a better understanding. Dilan has a plan to get to know the new girl in his school. Many of his friends said that the new girl who just enrolled in the school is hot, so Dilan thinks he wants to know her.


And this is the funny part of this scene. He asked his mother to recite Al Fatihah to a glass of water. By doing that, Dilan wants to have her mother's blessing so that tomorrow when he tries to get to know her, everything will be going well.

Cultural context: Recite Al Fatihah or surah from the Holy Quran to a glass of water in Indonesia is a prevalent thing to do, but usually not for this kind of thing. Usually, recite surah from the Holy Quran to a glass of water is to get rid of the djinn in someone's body, and not for this kind of thing.

That's why his mother was smiling when she heard Dilan's explanation. And his sister is kind of speechless with what her brother was doing, that is, asking for mother's prayer through a glass of water. She said this,
Kaya tulisan di truk. (It's like the graffiti written on the truck).
If you're in Indonesia, you will see that there are usually graffiti on the back of a truck. Usually, what's being written in there is funny words. Here, I googled with the keyword [tulisan doa ibu di truk], and here is what I get when I switch to images.

Images Tulisan Doa Ibu Di Atas Truk

As you can see from the images above, there are lots of graffiti on the back of the truck, right? Usually, what is being written in there are funny words. Sometimes, it can make us laugh, reading what's being written on the back of the truck.

Dilan was asking for [doa ibu] or [mother's prayer], and that's why his sister suddenly connects with the graffiti written on the back of the truck.


What Dilan just did to her mother, asking for mother's prayer only to get his mother's blessing so that everything will go well tomorrow when he tries to introduce himself to the new girl in his school, was so out of the box and beyond what everyone can think of.

That's why her mother said,
Ada-ada aja.
I hope you get the idea, and you can translate yourself to English because I still don't know how to exactly translate this Indonesian phrase into English. My translation above is the best I can do to explain the situation.

Vocabulary From the Scene

Here is some vocabulary from the scene.
[Bun] is short for [bunda]. It means mother. 
[Dih] it an interjection expressing that one felt surprised because of something.
[Baca] means to read.
[Bacain] means please read aloud for me.
[Deketin] is informal for [mendekati]. It means to get close to something or someone.
[Pake] is informal for [pakai]. It means to use.
[Cewe] means a girl.
[Doain] means pray for me.
[Tulisan] means writing.
[Tuh] = [tu] = [itu] means that.
[Tahu] means know.

So, I think that's all for now. If I find another scene where this phrase [ada-ada aja] is spoken, Insha Allah, I will update this article again so that you can understand how to use this phrase better. Thank you very much for reading my article, and I'll talk to you soon. Bye now.

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