ASILE George Quinn Plural Ppoint

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Published on August 2, 2009

Author: lauralochore

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ASILE 2009 Does Indonesia have a Plural? by George Quinn

Does Indonesian Have a Plural? George Quinn Visiting Fellow, Faculty of Asian Studies, ANU

What is “number”? Number is that feature in the grammar of a language that enables us to distinguish quantities, usually countable quantities. singular, dual, trial, plural, paucal etc. English has only singular and plural In English this seems to be a “mathematical” distinction between one and more-than-one

Number is that feature in the grammar of a language that enables us to distinguish quantities, usually countable quantities.

singular, dual, trial, plural, paucal etc.

English has only singular and plural

In English this seems to be a “mathematical” distinction between one and more-than-one

Forming plural nouns in English Add a sibilant book / books, bed / beds, house / houses Internal vowel change man / men, mouse / mice, foot / feet Words of foreign origin phenomenon / phenomena, crisis / crises Irregular forms child / children, ox / oxen, deer / deer, she / they

Add a sibilant

book / books, bed / beds, house / houses

Internal vowel change

man / men, mouse / mice, foot / feet

Words of foreign origin

phenomenon / phenomena, crisis / crises

Irregular forms

child / children, ox / oxen, deer / deer, she / they

Translate into English, please… lukisan besar Saya suka itu semua ^

How is plural expressed in Indonesian? Basically Indonesian nouns are not morphologically marked for singular or plural So they are like the English nouns sheep, deer, craft, fish and a few others By my count there are probably around a dozen different ways of expressing more-than-one in Indonesian

Basically Indonesian nouns are not morphologically marked for singular or plural

So they are like the English nouns sheep, deer, craft, fish and a few others

By my count there are probably around a dozen different ways of expressing more-than-one in Indonesian

1. Plural determiners, e.g. … Cardinal numbers tiga orang, sepuluh rumah, 30 kali Banyak, semua, bermacam-macam etc. banyak mobil semua orang bermacam-macam alasan beberapa komputer aneka bentuk

Cardinal numbers

tiga orang, sepuluh rumah, 30 kali

Banyak, semua, bermacam-macam etc.

banyak mobil

semua orang

bermacam-macam alasan

beberapa komputer

aneka bentuk

2. Pre-noun plural marker para For humans only, marking a noun as plural and referring to a particular group para mahasiswa, para karyawan, para korban Para is analogous to plural markers in other Austronesian languages e.g. Tagalog: mga as in mga bahay (houses) Tetun: sira as in uma sira (houses)

For humans only, marking a noun as plural and referring to a particular group

para mahasiswa, para karyawan, para korban

Para is analogous to plural markers in other Austronesian languages e.g.

Tagalog: mga as in mga bahay (houses)

Tetun: sira as in uma sira (houses)

3. Pre-verb plural marker pada In informal and slangy usage the word pada in front of a verb indicates that the subject of the verb is plural Pada makan yuk! Anak pada main di mana?

In informal and slangy usage the word pada in front of a verb indicates that the subject of the verb is plural

Pada makan yuk!

Anak pada main di mana?

4. The absence of a singular marker If a noun lacks a clear marker of singularity, it may well be plural, e.g. Saya pergi ke Bali untuk membeli lukisan. Here lukisan is probably plural because it contrasts with Saya pergi ke Bali untuk membeli sebuah lukisan. Saya pergi ke Bali untuk membeli lukisan itu.

If a noun lacks a clear marker of singularity, it may well be plural, e.g.

Saya pergi ke Bali untuk membeli lukisan.

Here lukisan is probably plural because it contrasts with

Saya pergi ke Bali untuk membeli sebuah lukisan.

Saya pergi ke Bali untuk membeli lukisan itu.

5. Plurals in preceding sentences A noun may be perceived as plural if it refers back to a noun with plural referents in a preceding sentence Dia membeli tiga mobil. Mobil itu diperbaiki sebelum dijual. Pak Adi membangun sejumlah rumah. Sesudah selesai dibangun, lalu dijual.

A noun may be perceived as plural if it refers back to a noun with plural referents in a preceding sentence

Dia membeli tiga mobil. Mobil itu diperbaiki sebelum dijual.

Pak Adi membangun sejumlah rumah. Sesudah selesai dibangun, lalu dijual.

6. Reciprocal verbs A verb with reciprocal meaning will have a subject that is plural Rumah yang berhadap-hadapan itu… Pendapat yang berlain-lainan itu…

A verb with reciprocal meaning will have a subject that is plural

Rumah yang berhadap-hadapan itu…

Pendapat yang berlain-lainan itu…

7. Verbs with an –i suffix A transitive verb with an –i suffix can sometimes indicate that its object is plural Dia duduk mengupasi kentang.

A transitive verb with an –i suffix can sometimes indicate that its object is plural

Dia duduk mengupasi kentang.

8. Reduplicated adjective If a noun has a reduplicated adjective adjunct, the noun may be plural Besar-besar ikan itu!

If a noun has a reduplicated adjective adjunct, the noun may be plural

Besar-besar ikan itu!

9. Semantic consistency Logic and semantic consistency often dictate that we understand a certain noun as having plural referents Orang Australia suka minum bir.

Logic and semantic consistency often dictate that we understand a certain noun as having plural referents

Orang Australia suka minum bir.

10. Social context The social context in which a conversation takes place can tell us whether a certain noun used in that conversation has singular or plural referents. (Looking at a rack of dresses) Baju ini terlalu mahal = These dresses are too expensive.

The social context in which a conversation takes place can tell us whether a certain noun used in that conversation has singular or plural referents.

(Looking at a rack of dresses) Baju ini terlalu mahal = These dresses are too expensive.

11. Pronouns that are always plural A number of pronouns are always plural i.e. they can never be singular. kalian, mereka, kita But not kami which, in certain contexts, can be singular.

A number of pronouns are always plural i.e. they can never be singular.

kalian, mereka, kita

But not kami which, in certain contexts, can be singular.

12. Reduplication Full reduplication saudara-saudara, rumah-rumah, anak-anak Partial or variant reduplication gerak-gerik, coreng-moreng

Full reduplication

saudara-saudara, rumah-rumah, anak-anak

Partial or variant reduplication

gerak-gerik, coreng-moreng

The enigma of reduplication It is sometimes said that reduplication expresses plurality or multiplicity or “more-than-one”. But is this true?

It is sometimes said that reduplication expresses plurality or multiplicity or “more-than-one”.

But is this true?

Some “non-plural” instances of reduplication Consider these instances of reduplication kuda-kuda, langit-langit orang-orangan, mobil-mobilan seorang tante-tante, seorang ibu-ibu kehijau-hijauan, kekanak-kanakan sesuatu, seseorang berjalan-jalan, bermain-main

Consider these instances of reduplication

kuda-kuda, langit-langit

orang-orangan, mobil-mobilan

seorang tante-tante, seorang ibu-ibu

kehijau-hijauan, kekanak-kanakan

sesuatu, seseorang

berjalan-jalan, bermain-main

What is the meaning of reduplication? Reduplication indicates fuzziness, lack of precision, variety, uncertain or problematic perception of something Un-reduplicated forms suggest precision, uniformity, clarity, unambiguous perception of something

Reduplication indicates fuzziness, lack of precision, variety, uncertain or problematic perception of something

Un-reduplicated forms suggest precision, uniformity, clarity, unambiguous perception of something

What does this mean for the idea of plurality in Indonesian? It may be that plurality in Indonesian is not “mathematical” (i.e. more-than-one) but rather a question of clarity of perception Singular = clear, sharp, precise. Expressed in unreduplicated forms. Plural = fuzzy, imprecise, variegated. Expressed in reduplicated forms.

It may be that plurality in Indonesian is not “mathematical” (i.e. more-than-one) but rather a question of clarity of perception

Singular = clear, sharp, precise. Expressed in unreduplicated forms.

Plural = fuzzy, imprecise, variegated. Expressed in reduplicated forms.

But… Indonesian is capable of being precise when talking about plural things So… it is possible that expressing number in Indonesian is both “mathematical” (one / more-than-one) and “perceptual” (precise / fuzzy)

So… it is possible that expressing number in Indonesian is both

“mathematical” (one / more-than-one)

and “perceptual” (precise / fuzzy)

Schematically, number may look like this… anak-anak buah-buahan langit-langit seorang tante-tante Fuzzy, variegated (reduplicated) tiga gelas banyak gelas satu gelas sebuah gelas Sharp, precise (unreduplicated) Plural (more-than-one) Singular (one)

Is reduplication becoming more frequent? In short… yes, it is. There is some evidence to suggest that reduplication is becoming more frequent, but it is not clear why. But it is not a new development. It seems to have been happening at least since the nineteenth century.

In short… yes, it is. There is some evidence to suggest that reduplication is becoming more frequent, but it is not clear why.

But it is not a new development. It seems to have been happening at least since the nineteenth century.

“ People” ( orang ) in Hikayat Raja Pasai (c.1390) Maka Sultan Malikul Mansur pun menyuruhkan orang berlengkap akan mengiringkan Sultan itu. Sultan Malikul Mansur commanded the people to arm themselves in order to accompany the Sultan.

Maka Sultan Malikul Mansur pun menyuruhkan orang berlengkap akan mengiringkan Sultan itu.

Sultan Malikul Mansur commanded the people to arm themselves in order to accompany the Sultan.

“ People” ( orang ) in Hikayat Raja Pasai (c.1390) “… dalam negeri ini badak makan anaknya.” Maka kata orang dalam jong itu, “Tiada kami tahu apa ertinya katamu itu.” “… in this town, rhinoceroses eat their young.” And the people in the junk said, “We don’t know what your words mean.”

“… dalam negeri ini badak makan anaknya.” Maka kata orang dalam jong itu, “Tiada kami tahu apa ertinya katamu itu.”

“… in this town, rhinoceroses eat their young.” And the people in the junk said, “We don’t know what your words mean.”

“ People” ( orang ) in Hikayat Raja Pasai (c.1390) Maka orang yang melihati itu pun segeralah ia kembali bepersembahkan segala kata menteri itu kepada Sultan Perlak. Maka titah Sultan Perlak, "Pergilah kamu sambut menteri itu." The people who saw this, immediately they went back and reported all the minister’s words to the Sultan of Perlak. And the Sultan said: “[All of] you go and greet the minister.”

Maka orang yang melihati itu pun segeralah ia kembali bepersembahkan segala kata menteri itu kepada Sultan Perlak. Maka titah Sultan Perlak, "Pergilah kamu sambut menteri itu."

The people who saw this, immediately they went back and reported all the minister’s words to the Sultan of Perlak. And the Sultan said: “[All of] you go and greet the minister.”

Occurrences of orang compared with orang-orang , over time Hikayat Raja Pasai (c.1390)  orang = 219, orang-orang = 0 Hikayat Hang Tuah (c.1700)  orang = 1711, orang-orang = 1 Hikayat Abdullah (1842 revised 1849)  orang = 1172, orang-orang = 540 Extracts from Warta Melaya (1935-1941)  orang = 152, orang-orang = 327

Hikayat Raja Pasai (c.1390)

 orang = 219, orang-orang = 0

Hikayat Hang Tuah (c.1700)

 orang = 1711, orang-orang = 1

Hikayat Abdullah (1842 revised 1849)

 orang = 1172, orang-orang = 540

Extracts from Warta Melaya (1935-1941)

 orang = 152, orang-orang = 327

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