Language | Wednesday 9 December 2009 | sundanesecorner.org
Since Islam is a religion of the majority of West Java resident, it is common for Sundanese people to greet each other with “assalamu ’alaikum” (an Arabic word that literally means “may peace be upon you”), which can be replied with “wa‘alaikum salam” (and may peace be upon you too). These greetings are exchanged among people in any private and public sphere.
Over past few years, as concerns to local cultures are growing, some Sundanese communities have tried to (re)-vitalize the traditional expression: sampurasun, and the reply to it: rampes (it’s all right). The word sampurasun is derived from sampura (forgiveness) and the archaic sun [soon] (my; mine). They try to share these expressions in public gatherings. However, as being described in Hardjadibrata’s dictionary, the word sampurasun is traditionally expressed just to ask for permission to say something or excuse oneself for not knowing anything, also to ask permission to enter someone’s house—just like pardon and excuse me in English.
It may sound a little bit odd that in Sundanese daily life people do not exchange the expression of good morning or good afternoon or good evening, except in some formal situations, e.g. in radio or television programs. Well, if you are willing to express these greetings in Sundanese, you can say wilujeng enjing [we loo jeng en jing] for “good morning”, wilujeng siang [see ang] for “good afternoon”, and wilujeng wengi [wengi] for “good evening”.***