More Indonesian Lessons

Lesson: An Introduction to the Indonesian Sentence

English Indonesian Part Of Speech Definition:
who siapa pronoun  
beer bir noun  
horse kuda noun A kind of animal. 
sick sakit adjective  
a seekor indefinite article Used as a classifier before singular nouns that refer to animals and insects 
drunk mabuk adjective  
drink minum transitive verb  
this ini pronoun  
that bahwa conjunction  

A simple sentence has two parts: a subject and a predicate. The subject tells us what or whom the sentence is about and the predicate tells us something about the subject. Here is a wonderful example:

The horse drinks beer.   Kuda itu minum bir.

This is a complete sentence. The subject is the horse and the predicate is describing the horse as drinking beer. The two parts clearly complement each other. Now, what if I wanted to exclude the predicate at the beginning of our conversation? I think it would go something like this:

Me: Horse. Kuda.
You: What do you mean horse? Apa kuda?
Me: Drinks beer. Minum bir.
You: Who drinks beer? Siapa minum bir?
Me: The horse. Kuda.
You: Oh, the horse drinks beer. Oh, kuda itu minum bir.
Me: Yes. Ya.

As you can see, without the predicate, the sentence is incomplete. It takes a long time to communicate the message.

The subject also needs to be conveyed at the beginning of the conversation; however, once established, it is often omitted in spoken language. Check this out:

Thelma is sick.   Thelma sakit.

The subject is Thelma and the predicate is “is sick”.

Me: Sick. Sakit.
You: Who’s sick? Siapa sakit?
Me: Thelma. Thelma.
You: Oh, Thelma is sick. Who’s Thelma? Oh, Thelma sakit. Siapa Thelma?
Me: A horse that drinks beer. Seekor kuda bahwa minum bir.

Thelma is the horse. The last sentence doesn't mentioned Thelma, but we know from the previous sentences that the horse is indeed Thelma. Both are subjects and both are the same.

In English, people like to put the subject before the predicate. In Indonesian, people like to put whatever is most important first. So, if you want to emphasize the predicate, then put it before the subject or visa-versa. Years ago, some language experts considered this flexibility as a weakness with the Indonesian language. Well, we say "nay" to that and so does the drunken horse.

Bobo time...I'll write more later