Expressing Future Tense In Indonesian

Future Tense in Indonesian

Hallo Leute! I have been learning German for the past few days, but don’t worry, we’re not going to talk about German. This post will discuss none other than Indonesian. I have talked about how to express Progressive Tense in Indonesian, and now I am going to talk about how to express Future Tense in Indonesian.

As you know, Indonesians do not express tenses in the form of verb inflection. Indonesian use words to describe the context of the situation instead of changing the verbs. So, how does future tense is expressed in Indonesian then?

Time Markers

Words used to point a certain time in the future (as well as in the past) help set the context of when the event occurs. ‘Kemarin’ (yesterday), ‘besok’ (tomorrow), ‘hari ini’ (today, lit. this day), ‘nanti’ (later today), ‘tadi’ (earlier today), are names of specific points in time. Other than those, we also use: ‘bulan lalu‘ (last month), ‘tahun depan‘ (next year), ‘lima hari yang lalu‘ (five days ago), ‘tujuh minggu lagi‘ (in seven weeks), ‘ten years later‘ (sepuluh tahun kemudian).

Kami berangkat ke Papua enam minggu lagi. (We will leave for Papua in six weeks.)

Akan

This word is the equivalent word of ‘will’. Despite being the counterpart of Indonesian ‘will’, this word is also used to express any kinds of future tense which includes “to be going to” and Present Progressive Tense for Future Arrangements.

A: When are you teaching today? (Jam berapa kamu akan mengajar?)

B: Ah, I’m teaching at three. What about you? (Aku akan mengajar jam 3. Kalau kamu?)

Another example:

We are going to visit him soon. (Kami akan segera mengunjungi dia.)

(Un)fortunately, we can often drop ‘akan’, especially  when the context is clear or we use time markers.

Mau

Another (un)fortunate phenomenon in Indonesian language is that ‘mau’ (want) can be used to express future tense. The logic is, when you are about to do something or will do something, you basically want to do it. This is colloquial Indonesian, and can sometimes creates confusion especially with those who haven’t been exposed to ‘street’ or colloquial Indonesian.

I had a student of Indonesian who was taken aback by a question asked by a staff in our school, ‘mau ke mana, pak?’ (lit. where do you want to go, sir?). The student was surprised because he thought the staff was quite nosy. ‘Why does she want to know where I want to go?’ he said. The staff was actually asking him where he was going to go.

Bakal

This word basically means ‘something that will become’ or ‘candidate’ (bakal suami, ‘future husband’).

Kalau kamu bohong, aku tidak bakal percaya kamu lagi. (If you lie, I will not believe you anymore.)

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Kinship Terminology in Indonesian

Kinship Terminology In Indonesian

What makes kinship terminology in Indonesian different?

From English, of course. Well, suffice to say that Indonesian kinship terminology is heavily based on ‘seniority’ instead of gender, even though gender does affect the terms to some extent. But what makes kinship terminology in Indonesian a little bit more complicated is the influence of local languages. Kinship terminology in Indonesian is colored with local elements.

Our siblings

Let’s start with sibling. The Indonesian word for sibling is saudara. It’s gender neutral. Putting laki-laki (male) or perempuan (female) after saudara will make it into brother or sister, respectively. However, many Indonesians use the word saudara not only for siblings, but also anyone related to them, such as cousins and other relatives. Indonesians usually prefer adik and kakak when referring to siblings; adik for younger siblings and kakak is for older siblings. Once again, putting laki-laki and perempuan after the words makes them more gender specific, and as you can see, Indonesians distinguish (blood) siblings based more on how old they are relative to you instead of their gender.

There are some alternatives of calling kakak (not that many with adik, presumably because Indonesians tend to pay more attention to words they use for older people rather than to the younger ones) in some local languages and many are gender specific. In Javanese, mas and mbak are used for older brother and sister, respectively, while in Sundanese they have aa/akang and teteh. In Minang language, they have uda (older brother) and uni (older sister), while Malay Indonesians have abang and kakak; yes, the same kakak used in Indonesian language is actually older sister in Malay.

Parents and their siblings

If you know Indonesian, you probably know that bapak means father and ibu means mother. Do you know that Indonesians also use other terms? Ayah, papa, abi, babe, are all alternatives for bapak. The word papa is from the influence of Romance languages, abi is Arabic, and babe is Betawi language (influenced by Persian?). Meanwhile bunda, mama, ummi, and emak are alternatives for ibu. Of course different local cultures will use different words.

Parents’ siblings in Indonesian is actually simple. Aunt is bibi (Malay) or tante (Dutch) and Uncle is paman (Malay) or oom (Dutch). They seem to be gender specific, but not age specific, right? Well, that’s true, but don’t forget, some Indonesians use local languages with more specific terms. In Sundanese, your parents’ brother and sister are mamang and bibi, but your parents’ sibling is just uwak. In Javanese, your parents’ older brother is pak de and your parents’ older sister is bu de, while your parents’ younger brother is pak lek and your parents’ younger sister is bu lek.

At least in Indonesian, Javanese, and Sundanese, our parents’ siblings are distinguished based on the gender and (to a certain extent) age relative to the parents. However, in other languages of Indonesia, they also distinguish whether the sibling is from the father’s side or mother’s side.

Kinship terminology for?

Indonesians use kinship terminology not only to call relatives. We extend the use of the terms for people who are not family. You might know from this post and this post that these terms are also used as pronouns.

“I” in Indonesian

I In Indonesian

In the previous posts, I mentioned the intricacy of “you” in Indonesian (here), as well as the two Indonesian words for “we” (here). After talking (writing :p) about these pronouns, I’m going to talk about “I” in Indonesian. Is it going to be as intricate as “you” or “we”?

Saya and Aku

Unfortunately, yes. Even though translating or using “I” in Indonesian is not as difficult as it is with you, this is still important to know that there is definitely more than one word for “I” in Indonesian.

“I” is commonly translated as saya and aku. Saya is a bit formal. I say a bit because you can actually use this word in many situations, not only in formal ones, unlike Anda, which sounds very formal; however, this can indeed sound quite distant when a person uses it with his family members. Aku on the other hand sounds less formal. Some Indonesians avoid using this with their family members due to it being very direct, especially when it is used to talk to older people. They have other alternatives.

Other Indonesian words for I

In Jakarta, many young people use the indonesianized Hokkien word “gue” (or “gua”). In the Moluccas (especially in Ambon) they use their own Ambonese Malay dialect word “beta”. In West Sumatera Province, they have the Minang word “awak”. Other areas have their own version of I and, as you might guess, many ethnic groups will likely not use these words exclusively without conversing wholly in the local languages.

Despite these words, some Indonesians also use salutations to address themselves. Look at this example:

Mother : “Ibu mau pergi ke pasar. Kamu mau ikut?”

Anak : “Iya, bu. Ibu mau beli apa?”

In this example, the word “ibu” is used by the mother to address herself and the child use it too to address her mother. The same thing happen with other salutation words, like bapak, mas, mbak, kakak, etc.

As it is with Indonesian “you”, some people also address themselves by using their names. Don’t be surprised when you find an Indonesian addressing herself using her name; she’s not talking about another person with the same name!

 

Richard Ariefiandy

Room : Kamar and Ruang

Room

Hi, readers and Indonesian learners alike! Today we’re going to be talking about Indonesian word for room… or words?

In Indonesian, the word room is translated as both kamar and ruang but we will mostly see room translated as kamar, and this is not without reason. However, we don’t say meeting room as kamar rapat.

Kamar

This word originates from the Dutch word kammer. This word can be translated as chamber or room. We know that chamber of commerce in Indonesian is kamar dagang, and to show consistency of this explanation, I would like to point out that the Indonesian translation for Harry Potter’s Chamber of Secrets is kamar rahasia. This word is also used for rooms with more sense of privacy, such as bedroom and bathroom; kamar tidur and kamar mandi, respectively.

Ruang

Ruang actually means space. So, time and space means ruang dan waktu and retrobulbar space is ruang retrobulbar (a medical term). However, ruang is also used as room. For rooms without a sense of privacy, such as waiting room or meeting room, we use ruang; ruang tunggu and ruang rapat, respectively.

Kamar or ruang?

What is a guest room in Indonesian? Interestingly, it can mean both kamar tamu and ruang tamu. It is ruang tamu if it refers to a room (space) in a common Indonesian house where you entertain your guests and talk with them. For some reason, you don’t take them to the living room unless they are close to you personally. It can also mean kamar tamu if it refers to a specific room where your guest is staying; a bedroom you might say, but for a guest.

The Two Indonesian “we”

The Two Indonesian WeFor some people, this topic is a very basic topic covered in their first few meetings of Indonesian lessons, but for some, this is something they haven’t thought before. For those who have learned this, this article is a good reminder of how unique Indonesian “we” is, so keep reading this. Perhaps you’ll find something new. 😉

When a person says “we will go there tomorrow”, you can’t really tell whether you’re in that “we”, and we have to ask for clarification. Is the person talking about himself and other people or with you included? In Indonesian, there are two specific ‘we’s. Let’s take a look at both words.

Kita

When we say KITA, we include the person we talking to; KITA includes ‘you’. That’s why KITA is also known as we-inclusive. When someone says to you “kita akan pergi ke sana besok”, you know exactly that you are included. When you talk to a person “kita sudah tahu berita itu”, the person you’re talking to knows that he/she knows the news as well.

Kami

KAMI is the exclusive we, meaning ‘we’ that excludes the person you’re talking to. Using the same English example, when a person says “kami akan pergi ke sana besok”, you know that you won’t go there with the person saying this to you. That person will go with some other people. The same goes when you say this to a person; you don’t include the person you’re talking to.

Kami vs. Kita

For practicality reason, a lot of Indonesians nowadays prefer to use KITA only as ‘we’ (first person plural); KITA is more popular in usage and KAMI is losing its place as KITA’s counterpart. Whenever I use KAMI in a sentence (written or spoken), some of my friends say that I’m being very formal. In fact, I read an Indonesian language article on the internet saying that KAMI is the formal form of KITA!

Of course, on the bright side, English speakers no longer have to think which one to say whenever they want to say ‘we’; however, KITA and KAMI are two of many words that render Indonesian unique. If we lose KAMI, we’re losing what makes Indonesian pronouns special.

Thanks for reading, and tell me what you think in the comment section below.

Richard Ariefiandy

Progressive Tense in Indonesian

Progressive Tense in IndonesianAs I have explained earlier, concepts in English are often represented by words in Indonesian. A very common example is the concept of TENSES. Indonesian doesn’t recognize verb conjugation to express this concept; however, we have special vocabulary that we use to represent them. I wrote how SUDAH is used to represent the PERFECT TENSE of English. Do you still remember? You might want to check again here.

In this post I will be discussing the word SEDANG. We use this word to express PROGRESSIVE actions, thus representing the English PROGRESSIVE TENSE. Look at the example:

They ARE studyING for her exam tomorrow.

(Mereka SEDANG belajar untuk ujian dia besok.)

When I went to her house yesterday, she WAS watchING a movie.

(Waktu saya pergi ke rumahnya kemarin, dia SEDANG menonton film.)

It’s very easy, right?

Everytime you want to describe progressive (ongoing) actions, just remember to use sedang.

There is an important note, though…

The thing is, PROGRESSIVE TENSE in English has many functions. The concept can be used to describe ongoing actions (we use SEDANG for this one) as well as future actions (which requires a different word other than SEDANG and will be discussed in a different post). Aside from those two functions, PROGRESSIVE TENSE is also used to express annoyed feeling by adding the word ALWAYS between the TO BE and the verb-ING. In this case, we will not use SEDANG, but rather SELALU as a direct translation of ALWAYS. Look at the example below:

She IS always watchING tv. I don’t like that.

(Dia selalu menonton tv. Saya tidak suka itu.)

So, to wrap up, the concept of PROGRESSIVE TENSE is represented by the word SEDANG in Indonesian. However, not all functions of this TENSE will use SEDANG. Progressive tense that refers to future actions and progressive tense that express annoyed feelings are the exceptions.

PS: There will be further discussion of the word SEDANG on my future post, talking about expressions using SEDANG but is not necessarily represented by PROGRESSIVE TENSE.

Richard Ariefiandy