Coah! A unique word from my village

Before moving to Surabaya and finally establishing Probahasa in Pasuruan, I spent several years of my childhood in Paciran, a fishing village in the district of Lamongan, East Java. What I notice amongst Paciran people is that they use the emotive coah a lot.

Not all Javanese people, especially those who live in Western part of Java, have coah in their everyday conversation. Coah is common in certain places in East Java, and it has at least two functions: to emphasize things and to show a surprise.

In Paciran, when you talk to a person, either young or adult, you may often hear him say things like Panase, coah and Suwi temen, coah (each means “It’s bloody hot” and “What on earth took you so long?”). These two examples remind you of the Indonesian emotive sih, which serves as an emphasis to a point, such as: Lama banget, sih.

Although the sih and coah are both used for stressing something, the two are slightly different in terms of usage, and they must be used sparingly; you cannot, therefore, add sih or coah to every sentence. People use coah in an informal situation, and when it is used for showing amazement, it often gives an impression of humor instead of a mock. A good example of this is the expression of Lemune, coah (“He is so fat”).

Coah is also used when you want to express a surprise, wonder and admiration such as Suarane enake, coah! (“What a sweet voice!”).

Coah itself is the emphasized form of cah, which translates as “kid” or “boy” like in Ape rendi, cah? (“Where are you going, kids?”). People in Paciran intensify their message by adding a diphthong to the verbs or adjectives, rather than saying the words bener, sanget or banget.


Mlayune banter banget (standard Javanese)
Mlayune buanter (Paciran diphthong)
Baksone enak banget (standard Javanese)
Baksone uenak (Paciran diphthong)
Mrene genyo, cah
Mrene genyo, coah

The emotive coah, however, does not normally occur on speech when you talk to people in Blimbing, a village of about two kilometers from Paciran. In Blimbing, diphthong is most preferred, particularly when it comes to adjectives.

And for now, it’s time to say, “I have to stop writing, coah.”

Contributed by David Khoirul and Edited by ProBahasa Team

By Probahasa Translation Posted in Info

One comment on “Coah! A unique word from my village

  1. we truly live in a rich country, even we are not living with a high rate of Income per Capita (actually we are going toward it, aamiin) at least we have plenty of culture and variety language 😀

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