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

Grammar in Speaking – Part II: grammar learning

Grammar is important in speaking
Grammar is important in speaking

For some people, learning grammar can be discouraging. Some others tend to go through the grammar to get the whole idea of how a language is used. Whatever method you’re using, grammar is not a negligible part of language learning. The problem is not about whether learning grammar or not, but rather how grammar learning is presented.

If you’re a student easily discouraged when hearing the word “grammar”, then it’s a good thing to learn language directly from listening materials. Extensive drilling is also an important component for speaking practice. However, when writing becomes necessary, then you need to sharpen your intuition. You need to realize that certain words appear before or after certain other words. You also need to know the function and position of the words. Because you learn language through listening materials extensively, the instinct of pairing words and putting them into sentences won’t be difficult.

There is an easier way to learn to speak correctly without being afraid of “grammar” discouragement notwithstanding. First, find the similarities between the sentence pattern of the target language and of your language. With simple words, try making simple sentences. Repeat the sentence until you feel that the sentence is not that different from your language. At the same time, find also differences such as verb forms (inflection), noun forms (declension), the usage of particles and articles, and others. In this phase of learning, it is not important to know how the verbs/nouns are changing, or in what situations you should use them, as long as you can make simple sentences useful for you. When you you’re used to making simple sentences like this, it is hoped that you have already mastered at least ten verbs, and twice the number for the nouns. Make sure you choose important and useful words for you that you’d encounter in your daily life, and make sure you know exactly what and how the native speakers use the words.

Then move on to making noun phrases and put them into the sentences that you’ve been learning. Noun phrases, including possessive patterns, are quite tricky to master. Get yourselves used to this before you move further.

By the time you master noun phrases, you basically have mastered simple sentence pattern. Now, to make your speaking skill better, you need to master conjunctions to make your sentences less simple. From this point, you can start using more complex expressions using different verb forms and learn when you should use it.

When learning a foreign language becomes easier you mustn’t forget to always do a listening practice to drill not only the pronunciation, but also your ability to recognize situations and context. As you master the language, you will also know your weakness. You should be able to tackle this to perfect you foreign language mastery.

How to learn a foreign language (II)

Reading (literally; not intended to comprehend the text fully) aloud is important in that it helps us develop fluency, literacy, and automatisation concerning patterns of a sentence. Reading a conversation text is equally important with listening to it. We will not only know how a word is pronounced but also how it is written.

Regularly repeating sentences in the language you are learning wherever you are helps you with automatisation. Of course it should be a dialog, instead of a monolog. For example a dialog of 2 people introducing themselves, or someone asking directions.

Doing the above practice will improve your conversation ability, especially if you have at least a partner to practice. Without partner, however, it is also possible to be done. Anytime you have a chance to speak alone, on the street, at home, in your room, anywhere, just do it!

Lastly, don’t forget to review what you have learned regularly. If you have a penpal from another country or if you can find a foreigner near you, you can ask for his/her opinion of your foreign language mastery. A good feedback is important for your progress. It will motivate you.


How to learn a foreign language (I)


When people realize that I can speak some foreign languages with good pronunciation, they started to ask “how?”; how I did that, and what people should do to master a foreign language.

First of all, learning language is a complex mental challenge on its own. If you don’t like learning it, you will be frustrated and won’t get satisfying result. So first, you have to like languages. That’s inevitable, at least for me. Some like certain languages and dislike the others. Some like all languages, but they have preference towards certain languages. Whatever language you choose to learn, make sure you start from the language that you like or at least need for now.

The second one is that you may learn languages by focusing on one skill at a time. But I suggest you start from listening skill. Why? Listening is a method that we use when we were babies; when we tried to grasp what adults say. In my opinion, it’s actually a natural way of learning a language. When doing this, don’t forget to try to mimic the pronunciation as closely as you can.

If you’re a Japanese or Korean, you might not be able to distinguish /l/ sound from /r/ sound. If you’re Hawaian without any prior knowledge of English, you would probably have difficulty with certain vowel sounds and consonantal sounds which exist in other languages, due to the fact that the language has very simple sounds. But don’t worry. Work hard to overcome this. Try to realize that language has a lot of sounds. Some may be able to be distinguished, and some are just plain hard. Practice a lot. If you’re learning a language not to be a linguist, slight mistakes in pronunciation is understandable.

Next, because reading materials in foreign language is inevitable, you may want to review the writing system. Learn it well. If it’s written in Roman Alphabet, it’s easy to read, but you have to develop automatisation in reading the materials. Try to get used to reading it within a normal pace.

…(to be continued)

The Quad Squad

It was on November 25, 2011 that all of us was officially accepted as an English teacher in ELTI. Even though we became acquainted with each other before we signed the contract, it was when we got accepted and are undergoing training sessions (which will last until next week), we became closer. And now, I have found 3 new great friends. This post is dedicated for them.

Tinus Eska

He was born in Kupang, and has lived in many places in Indonesia, including the U.S. for around 8 years, that’s why he developed his pronunciation well. We nicknamed him “the serious one”, but even though he might looked quite serious, actually he often shows himself as an open and funny person. He is also very creative when it comes to class activities, and quite resourceful. I often feel emotionally closer with him because, among the four of us, we both came from non-English majors. He loves public transportation, and that’s why I bumped him often on my way to ELTI.

Wahyu Riyadi Herjito

He has never left Jogja (province) all his life. He was born in Bantul, and has lived almost his entire life there. Wahyu is a helpful and funny friend. Tinus described him as someone whom you’ll look for if you arrived in a room full of strangers, referring to his friendly appearance and easy-going personality. Well, I have to agree with Tinus. Wahyu is also the only one who shares unusual interests with me, except for Dangdut, which I don’t quite like, yet apparently he enjoys very much.

Andita Rahmaliliana Ekaputri

Andita was born in Lampung, but actually she is of Javanese descent. She’s the only woman in our group, while also the only women in our batch. Considering that ELTI seems to need more male teachers, we hit the right composition. Andita looks very mature, calm, and patient, which might be resulted from her new marriage (among us, she’s “the married one”). She is also very resourceful. We ask her questions regarding English grammar, especially when I and Tinus have questions about it (since we both didn’t come from English major). She went to the same college with Wahyu.

On the other hand, they describe me as a cheerful, patient, funny, passionate, energetic, and playful guy. Hmm… 🙂

One surprising fact is that all of us are of the same age!

Teaching Demo @ ELTI – First Day

old pic - friend taken photograph

Today will be my first day of teaching demo at ELTI, as a part of the whole recruitment process. I have prepared three lesson plans for my successive three days of teaching demo on Saturday and Sunday (I literally used those two full days to prepare the lesson plans). Today, I will be teaching General English class for High School Students.

So, wish me luck guys (and girls)… This might as well the path to make my position firm in language and linguistics.

My Journey: Will I Stand Out as an English Teacher?

This is my first time interacting with english teachers in ELTI. I can’t believe that I’m here right now, looking at them interacting each other, making jokes and laughing. Well… I need to get acquainted with the whole environment before I can really be part of this place.

Being an english teacher is actually one of my baby steps to have a firm position in language and linguistics. Besides, this is also my passion, and I’ve survived most processes so I guess I just need to bear this one last stage.

I’m wishing myself luck 🙂