Countable Noun vs Uncountable Noun

CN_UN

Postingan kali ini akan membahas salah satu isu penting di Bahasa Inggris, yaitu Countable Noun dan Uncountable Noun (ada buku yang menamai ini dengan count noun dan noncount noun). Ini merupakan isu penting karena seringkali kesalahan mengenali countable atau uncountable berakibat pada kesalahan dalam memakai artikel (a/an, the), kebingungan apakah suatu kata benda bisa jamak atau harus tunggal (plural atau singular), dan kesalahan dalam memakai verb (verb-1 biasa atau ada akhiran -s; do atau does). Teman-teman tidak perlu khawatir, postingan ini khusus membahas perbedaan kedua jenis kata benda ini dan bagaimana menentukan apakah sebuah kata benda countable atau uncountable dengan memakai logika sederhana. Pembahasan tentang konsekuensi countable dan uncountable ini kita bahas di postingan lain.

Untuk memahami perbedaan antara Countable Noun (selanjutnya disebut CN) dan Uncountable Noun (selanjutnya disebut UN), kita harus tahu dulu kenapa mereka disebut countable dan uncountable.

Waktu kita dulu belajar Bahasa Inggris di sekolah, kita dihadapkan dengan dilema serupa, dan guru-guru selalu siap membantu kita menjelaskan perbedaan antara CN dan UN. Kita diajarkan untuk selalu melihat CN sebagai benda yang bisa dihitung sedangkan UN adalah benda yang tidak dapat dihitung. Benar begitu?

Uncountable Noun

Kita tahu bahwa air adalah UN karena tidak bisa dihitung; namun dengan seiring berjalannya waktu dan semakin banyak kita belajar, seharusnya kita pertanyakan definisi ini. Benarkah air tidak bisa dihitung? Tanya saja orang dan mereka akan menjawab, bisa. Lalu bagaimana? Mudah saja. Kita bisa hitung air memakai satuan seperti kilogram atau liter atau bahkan tetes. Satuan standar (kilogram atau liter) ataupun tidak standar (gelas atau tetes) membuat air tetap bisa dihitung. Lantas apa definisi UN?

Bayangkan sebuah meja kayu. Bentuknya bisa apa saja asalkan meja dan terbuat dari kayu. Sekarang pertanyaannya, apa material meja itu? Jawabannya kayu. Material adalah UN. Lihat di sekeliling kita, apa saja material pembuat benda? Plastik, kayu, kaca, air, dll. Semuanya adalah material dan material bisa dihitung.

Masih ingat postingan tentang Bahasa Thai sebelumnya yang membahas classifier di sini? Satuan seperti kilogram, liter, gelas, dll adalah contoh classifier. UN bisa dihitung dengan classifier tersebut. Kita ambil contoh a glass of water atau five kilograms of plastic.

Countable Noun

Bagaimana dengan CN? Teman-teman masih ingat tentang ilustrasi meja kayu tadi? Kita tahu bahwa materialnya adalah kayu (jadi kayu adalah UN). Nah, sekarang objek meja kayu tadi apa? Tentu saja objeknya ada meja. Apapun bentuknya, objeknya tetapi meja yang fungsinya adalah menaruh peralatan (makan atau kerja). Objek adalah CN. Bagaimana kalau material kayu itu kini kita ubah menjadi tempat untuk duduk? Kalau demikian material (UN) kayu tadi berubah menjadi objek (CN) kursi. Bayangkan kita punya pulpen yang terbuat dari karet. Pulpen adalah objek dan dengan demikian pulpen adalah CN, sedangkan karet adalah material dan dengan demikian karet adalah UN.

CN mendapat nama countable karena bisa dihitung tanpa perlu memakai classifier; berbeda dengan UN yang harus memakai classifier untuk bisa dihitung. Ini berarti kalau CN yang muncul di kalimat jumlahnya hanya satu, kita bisa pakai a/an atau one seperti they have a car.

CN atau UN?

Beberapa benda bisa menjadi CN dan UN tergantung pada apakah benda itu berfungsi sebagai material atau objek. Bingung? Kita bayangkan ilustrasi berikut.

Bayangkan sebuah apel; merah, bentuknya sedikit bulan tetapi khas, dengan sedikit tangkai dan sehelai daun. Apel itu adalah objek dan kita bisa bilang an apple untuk benda itu. Sekarang kita potong apel itu tipis-tipis. Apa yang kita dapatkan? Apakah benda itu masih bisa disebut apel? Tentu saja masih bisa disebut apel karena kalau kita makan potongan-potongan itu kita kenal rasa dan aromanya sehingga kita tahu itu adalah apel. Akan tetapi apel ini bukan objek apel yang kita kenal. Apel ini adalah potongan apel atau slices of apple. Apel adalah material penyusun dan sekaligus objek, dan karenanya apel bisa menjadi CN maupun UN.

Berbeda dengan apel, kayu adalah material. Kayu bisa muncul dalam berbagai macam objek, mulai dari pohon sampai meja, tetapi kayu hanya material dan tidak bisa menjadi objek. Dengan demikian  kayu (wood) adalah material saja dan bukan objek.

Mudah bukan?

Mungkin teman-teman ada yang bertanya-tanya, bagaimana dengan konsep-konsep dan kata-kata abstrak? CN atau UN? Kita akan bahas lebih lanjut dan mendalam tentang kedua jenis kata benda ini di postingan berikutnya di SERI NOUN. Ditunggu, ya. Subscribe juga boleh, lho.

Richard Ariefiandy

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(Indonesian) Sentences Without A Subject

Sentences Without A SubjectHello fellow readers! The post today will discuss Indonesian sentences that often occur without subjects. Have you ever faced difficulty understanding what a native Indonesian says because they often omit the subject when talking? Or perhaps you have been in Indonesia for quite a while that you’re accustomed to how they talk. Nonetheless, I hope this post helps you figure out why this happens and in what situations you may find this, and if you’re a student of Indonesian and have been studying Indonesian, you can share your experience here.

English sentences

In English, whether you realize it or not, sentence construction is always Subject + Verb. Even if you don’t really want to talk about an action, you still put TO BE as the substitute of the verb. “You are beautiful” doesn’t contain any action, and you can’t say “you beautiful”, since beautiful is not a verb, so you need to put are.

Indonesian sentences don’t require a TO BE

In Indonesian, sentences usually contain a subject and a verb. This is true if we’re talking about an activity. Let’s say we want to say “I took a cab last night”, which is “tadi malam saya naik taksi” in Indonesian, and the verb is naik. But if we want to describe a condition, let’s say “this place was cold”, it translates into “tempat ini dingin”. As you can see, was is not translated and not needed.

Subject is understood

Besides not translating (not needing) a TO BE, often there is no subject in an Indonesian sentence. This happens mostly because the subject is understood. For example, you talk to a person and say “mau makan sekarang?”, you will say that “do you want to eat now?” in English. Indonesians refrain from saying Anda (you) because it’s understood in the context. Sometimes people don’t really say you to avoid being too direct.

Impersonal it

Indonesian sentences don’t use subject because the subject itself doesn’t exist. In “It’s impossible to go out tonight. It’s too cold.”, what does the word it refer to? This impersonal it exists because a sentence must contain a subject. In Indonesian, this it doesn’t translate. In Indonesian, the sentence above is translated as “Tidak mungkin untuk pergi ke luar malam ini. Terlalu dingin.

Any comments and questions? Wanna give some more examples from what you encountered in real life? Please write in the comment section below, or send an email to richard.ariefiandy@gmail.com.

Thanks!

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

In a blink of an eye

Inspiration can come through years of journey and traveling, but it sometimes comes in a blink of an eye. Tonight, after taking someone to a train station, I just experienced the latter.

When I was walking out of the station, someone, while laughing, hit me on the arm. I was actually going to stare at him responding to his direct hitting which I consider as impolite. It changed, however, when I suddenly recognized the face of the person. He’s a coworker. Well… he’s not actually a coworker in that he works as the security officer in my place. Nonetheless, I consider him as one because we work at the same place.

When I realized that he was actually my coworker, I smiled and we chatted. I just knew that besides working as a security officer in our office, he also works as a motor taxi driver (in Indonesia we call motorcycle taxi as OJEK). In an instant, I became aware of something I don’t usually think much. I remembered all motorcycle taxi drivers who offered me to ride the motorcycle whom I refused without concern, sometimes without showing any kinds of gratitude for the offers. I imagined that the taxi drivers could be my coworker, or even on of my relatives. Offering this kind of service can sometimes be upsetting when the offer is not responded nicely. He might also receive this kind of treatment from other people.

Showing compassion is what makes us human. What would you feel if you receive rude treatment from other people? We know that if we want to be treated nicely, we have to be nice, but how many people really act upon this?

This Week’s Keyword: Collaboration

Have you heard something called “the law of attraction”? I believe you have… And this week it has been proven…

Two days ago (December 26, Thursday), my friend and I met Pak Imam Subhan, one of the founders of Akademi Berbagi (Sharing Academy), where everyone can learn everything from anyone else, for free… Well, actually our visit was part of our (EsForEs) program… Errr… I think I should explain what EsForEs is…

Esfores (S4S = Soul For Society) is actually a small community where we try to help people to live according to their passion and potential. By helping ourselves, we help others. How do we help ourselves? By having “teachers”… who teach us about life… I’m sure they don’t want us to call the teachers (gurus), but, they ARE teachers for us, indeed 🙂

Pak Imam is one of them. Our chat with pak Imam, apparently, has enlightened us… For the past few months, we have been facing problems, internal problems, concerning our programs. Even though pak Imam didn’t really address our problem, and we didn’t really tell him about what has been happening in EsForEs, I know deep down inside that what Pak Imam said has truly touched the very essence of our (EsForEs) establishment.

EsForEs was a community that helps others by helping itself… first. And this is exactly what Wahyu (the inisiator of EsForEs) did… He established a community, a small one, for us to learn something from each other, to share, to help ourselves. And from this community, we also share ideas how to help other other people. The problem is… we’re too small, and it seems that we’re not doing anything lately, because we’re busy with “helping others” programs, and we ignored the need to help ourselves first.

Pak Imam said that, in order to develop ourselves, we have to collaborate. This is what happens with Akademi Berbagi. They collaborate! They coordinate, people with people, people with organizations. Who wants to learn something, and who wants to share ideas… Collaborating, expanding, can also help us to share ideas with other members who have the same concern. What pak Imam said, in that instant, inspired me to do more for our small community.

One day later (December 27), I went to a cafe to drink juice with my Parkour friends (for those of you who don’t know what Parkour is, read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkour ). Actually, we didn’t intend to go there, but because one of them was going to participate in a carbon-reduction campaign, we accompanied him. And suddenly, we got involved. This campaign, arranged by 350, a community with a focus on carbon reduction, is actually a collaboration of different communities in Jogja (including JUMPalitan; a parkour community in Jogja).

And tonight, I just attended a performance from Deaf Art Community (some of them in the community are my friends when I learned sign language few years ago) to celebrate the 8th anniversary of the community. When I was there, I was quite surprised… I mean, I haven’t seen their performance, not even once, but…it was more than just a regular performance. It was a collaboration of the community and other communities. There were Jogja Beatboxing community, BBoy Community, and Freestyle Basket Community. It was more than just awesome! It was a place where everyone learned something from each other, between the deaf and the hearing, among different communities.

Those things made me think… Collaboration is truly a very powerful thing. It’s like, we’re just one big family with a lot of difference! And this week… my target is, to expand, to collaborate, for me, for EsForEs.

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!