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Interlanguage Differences in Tense, Gender, and Noun
Thread poster: Hipyan Nopri

Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 15:36
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Mar 19, 2007

Hello Everybody,

Through this forum I would like to invite you to share our knowledge of interlanguage differences in tense, gender, and noun.

In Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia), there is no tense and gender. Verbs do not have past, present, and future tense. Similarly, there is no pronoun that refers to a man or a woman. Finally, there is no difference between singular and plural nouns.

In the following sentences, for example, the word 'membeli' (buy) is written without any changes. In addition, the word 'dia' may refer to either 'he' or 'she'. Finally, the word 'kamus' (dictionary) may be used for both singular and plural forms.

a. Kemarin, Hasan *membeli* sebuah 'kamus'. "Dia" membeli kamus itu di toko buku. (Yesterday, Hasan *bought* a 'dictionary'. "He" bought it at the bookstore.)
b. Yati *membeli* tiga buah 'kamus' setiap tahun. "Dia" ingin menjadi seorang penerjemah. (Yati *buys* three 'dictionaries' every year. "She" wants to be a translator.)
c. Besok, Hasan *membeli* sebuah kamus. (Tomorrow, Hasan *will buy* a dictionary.)

I am curious about the three topics in your languages. Thanks in advance for your willingness to share.

Best Wishes

Hipyan







[Edited at 2007-03-19 05:09]


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transparx  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:36
English to Italian
+ ...
Hi Hipyan, Mar 19, 2007

I believe you mean tense, gender, and number.

Interesting topic...
Your examples indicate that Bahasa Indonesia has fewer redundancies than many other languages and is therefore closer to logical form.

[Edited at 2007-03-19 08:47]


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Richard Benham  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:36
German to English
+ ...
Loival form? Mar 20, 2007

transparx wrote:


Your examples indicate that Bahasa Indonesia has fewer redundancies than many other languages and is therefore closer to logical form.



I am not sure what this is supposed to mean. Indonesian, like most Asian languages, has a habit of omitting obvious information. I am not sure what you mean by "logical form", but I would have thought that elements like the subject and object of a sentence were pretty essential parts of "logical form", whether or not they are clear from the context.

For example:
A: Kamu suka ikan goreng? ["Do you like fried fish?"]
B: Suka. [lit. "Like."]

Surely it is part of the "logical form" that it is B who is doing that liking and that it is fried fish that he likes?

My experience of Indonesian is that simple, expected things can be said much more succinctly, but if you want to say anything out of the ordinary it becomes very verbose. But I am not a native, of course.

Hipyan, I can only speak for English, French and German. Your English is very good; so I am sure that you are well aware of the situation in English. French and German are similar in having an array of tenses and singular and plural forms. However, many nouns sound the same in both numbers in French, and in German they are sometimes written and pronounced the same. On the other hand, some German nouns have different forms depending on their grammatical role in the sentence, and adjectives (sometimes) have endings for number, case and gender.

German has three genders, masculine feminine and neuter, which often do not coincide with the sex or animate/inanimate nature of the thing or person referred to. French only has two. masculine and feminine, and again there may be some conflict between "grammatical" gender and "natural" gender. (In contemporary French, there is a tendency to make noun genders agree with the sex of the person referred to, either by inventing new forms ("la professeure" for a female teacher) or by using the same form with a different article and different adjective endings ("ministre", which is traditionally masculine, becomes "la ministre" instead of "le ministre" if the minister happens to be a woman).


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transparx  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:36
English to Italian
+ ...
grammatical vs. logical Mar 21, 2007

Richard Benham wrote:

I am not sure what this is supposed to mean. Indonesian, like most Asian languages, has a habit of omitting obvious information. I am not sure what you mean by "logical form", but I would have thought that elements like the subject and object of a sentence were pretty essential parts of "logical form", whether or not they are clear from the context.



Elements like subject and object are grammatical relations, not logical constituents. Often behind what appears to be the subject of a sentence hides its object. Likewise, behind what morphologically seems to be an object, you may find the subject of a clause. This is a fairly pervasive fact. In addition, in languages like English, the so-called subject can be a dummy element -more technically called expletive.

What you call obvious I call redundant -following standard practice. There is no logical requirement, for instance, that in the sentence I have two dogs the [-s] be morphologically realized. I have two dog would suffice. Bear in mind that I am not advocating a change here...I'm just noting how thing are. In logical form, there is no [-s]. All you would have is a feature indicating plurality. Such feature is present in the logical form of both English and Bahasa Indonesia. That's all I was really saying.

[Edited at 2007-03-21 00:35]


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