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Bahasa, bhasa, basa, or phasa is the word for "language" in many Asian languages, which derives from the Sanskrit word भाषा bhāṣā "speech, spoken language". In many modern languages in South Asia and Southeast Asia which have been influenced by Sanskrit or Pali, bahasa and cognate terms are used to mean "language" in general.

The term Bahasa is sometimes mistakenly used in reference to the Indonesian and Malaysian varieties of the Malay language.


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The word "Bahasa" in English is sometimes used to refer specifically to the Malay language (especially its Indonesian variety), usually by Western expatriates and their English-speaking Malaysian-Indonesian associates. This usage is of colonial origin, has never gained scientific currency and is considered incorrect by some.[1] When Malaysian or Indonesian speakers refer to other languages, the non-capitalized word "bahasa" ("language") is used; for example, English and Italian are called bahasa Inggris and bahasa Italia respectively.

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