The Meaning of Bilang

Bilang is a common verb in Indonesian. It means ‘say’ or ‘tell’ and could be followed by a clause, adverb, or a question word. Here are some examples.

Examples of “bilang” that mean “say”:

  1. Dia bilang dia bakal dateng besok. (She said she’ll come tomorrow.)
  2. Mereka bilang mau pergi kemping minggu depan. (They said they’ll go camping next week.) 
  3. Guru bilang kita harus baca buku ini sebelum kelas besok. (The teacher said we have to read this book before tomorrow’s class.) 
  4. Jangan bilang begitu! (Don’t say that!) 
  5. Coba ulangi apa yang dia bilang tadi. (Try to repeat what he said earlier!)
  6. Dia bilang apa? (What did he say?)
  7. Dia bilang kapan? (When did he say this?) 
  8. Aku kurang paham apa yang dia bilang. (I don’t quite understand what she said.)

Bilang could also be used as ‘tell’. It can be in form of ‘bilang ke’ or ‘bilangin’:

  1. Ini rahasia. Jangan bilang-bilang! (This is a secret. Do not tell anyone.)
  2. Meskipun udah ketahuan bohong, dia nggak mau bilang. (Although caught lying, he doesn’t want to tell (the truth).
  3. Bilang ke bapak saya berangkat kerja sekarng (Tell father I am leaving for work now)
  4. Bilangin temanmu dia bisa datang hari ini (Tell your friend that she can come today). 

*Note: When Bilang is repeated, like bilang-bilang, it has a function of emphasizing the meaning of the sentence. So Jangan bilang-bilang means “Do not say to anyone”.

That’s it. It’s that simple!

To clarify the use of bilang further for you, here’s a daily conversation in Indonesian that uses bilang:

Anto: Halo! Apa kabar? (Hello! How are you?)

Bayu: Hai! Baik, dong. Kamu apa kabar? (Hi! Obviously good. And how are you?)

Anto: Baik juga. Lagi ngapain di sini? (I’m fine, too. What are you doing here?)

Bayu: Lagi nge-gym. (Gymming)

Anto: Apa? (What?)

Bayu: Aku bilang, lagi olahraga di gym. (I said I’m working out at the gym.)

Anto: Oh, mantap! Abis itu, rencana mo ngapain? (Oh, great! What’s your plan after that?)

Bayu: Biasa, lah. Main bareng temen. (As usual. Hanging out with friends)

Anto: Apa? (What?)

Bayu: Aku bilang, mau main bareng temen. (I said I’ll hang out with friends.)

Anto: Oh, maaf kupingku lagi sakit, jadi rada kurang danger. (Oh, sorry my ears are aching, so I have a problem with hearing.)

Bayu: Gapapa. Ntar kalo nggak denger, tinggal aku ulang aja. (It’s alright. If you can’t hear, I’m just gonna repeat.)

Happy Learning!

By Jembatan Bahasa

Jembatan Bahasa is a professional and highly rated Indonesian language school based in Bali, Indonesia. Our teaching team is experienced and certified to teach Indonesian as a foreign language. Some of them have over eight years of teaching experience and have taught in a prestigious international school in Bali. Interested in learning Indonesian with us? WhatsApp us at +6282 145 950 737 or email at