Friday, April 30, 2010

Simple Japanese sentence structures

For today's Japanese lesson, let us leara some simple structures.

In Japanese, the subject is indicated by a subject marker, namely は pronounced as 'wa'.

The equivalent of 'I' in Japanese is わたし (watashi). です or 'desu' is the equivalent of 'is' in English. Hence if you want to tell people that your name is Tanaka. Then you would write:

Hiragana: わたし は たなかです。 
Romanji: Watashi wa Tanaka desu.
English: I am Tanaka.

By the way, Romanji is Romanised way of writing Japanese.

Now let us use this is and that is to construct sentences in Japanese.

In Japanese, 'this is' is これ or 'kore' and 'that is' is それ (sore) or あれ (are).

Look at the following sentences.

Hiragana: これ は みず です。
Romanji: Kore wa mizu desu.
English: This is water.

Hiragana: それ は かぎ です。
Romanji: Sore wa kagi desu
English: That is a key.

Hiragana: あれ は かさ です。
Romanji: Are wa kasa desu.
English: That is an umbrella.

So much for some simple Japanese sentences.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

How to use 'antara' correctly

For today's post, I will talk about the usage of 'antara'.

The word 'antara' (between or among) can exist as a preposition or 'kata arah' (direction word).

As a preposition, 'antara' is used for non-position situations. Look at the following examples:
1 Pertandingan pingpong antara kelas akan diadakan pada hujung minggu ini.
[The inter-class table-tennis competition will be held this weekend.]
2 Antara mereka berdua, saya lebih suka bergaul dengan Hashim.
[Between them, I prefer to mix with Hashim.]
3 Kerjasama antara negara amat penting demi kebaikan bersama.
[Co-operation among neigbouring nations is important for their common good.]
4 Antara cerpen dengan novel, saya lebih suka membaca cerpen.
[Between short stories and novels, I like reading short stories more.]

Note that when two parties are involved, 'dengan' is used after 'antara'. For example, 'Perhubungan antara Ali dengan Muthu amat baik.' [The relationship between Ali and Muthu is good.]
However, when three people are involved, 'dan' is used instead. An example is:
Antara Ali, Bakar dan Chandran, Bakar paling gemuk.
[Among Ali, Bakar and Chandran, Bakar is the fattest.]

As a directon word in combination with prepositionn 'di', i.e. 'di antara', position is involved. Look at look at a few examples below:
1 Kedai ubat itu terletak di antara kedai guning rambut dengan kedai runcit.
[The pharmacy is situated between the barber shop and the sundry shop.]
2 Adik duduk di antara ibu dengan bapa.
[My brother sat betweem my mother and my father.]
3 Kuala Lumpur terletak di antara negeri Perlis dengan negeri Johor.
[Kuala Lumpur is situarted between the state of Perlis and the state of Johor.]

I hope after the explanation and the examples, readers can use 'antara' and 'di antar' correctly.

So much for 'antara' for today.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Japanese words about the face and related parts

In today's post on Japanese, we will learn 10 words about our face. Here they are:

1 あたま[a ta ma] = head
2 かお [ka o] = face
3 くび [ku bi] = neck
4 まゆげ [ma yu ge] = eyebrow
5 め [me] = eye
6 まつげ [ma tsu ge] = eyelashes
7 はな [ha na] = nose
8 くち [ku chi] = mouth
9 みみ [mi mi] = ear
10 かみのけ [ka mi no ke] = hair

I hope you will try to write out the Japanese words and read them as well remember their meanings.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How to scan with Canonscan LiDE 20 in Windows 7 64-bit

This is how I got around not having scanner driver for my Canoscan LiDE 20 since my Windows 7 64-bit OS is unable to access this scanner.

I download VueScan which can access my scanner when it runs. Then I use it to can my text as jpeg files. After that I use my old faithful FineReader 6 to scan the jpeg as text and copy to clipboard. From clipboard, I copy it to my Word to do the processing for my need.

I begin to like VueScan as I need only to preview my document to be scanned once and I can crop any part I want to scan and save to a file. After that I press preview to go back to the same image, select the part I want to crop, then press scan. I can then save this second part to a new file.

Monday, April 26, 2010

This completes the 50 basic vowels of Japanese

In this post, I will list the rest of the basic vowels or sounds of the Japanese language. These are:

ま み む め もん [ma mi mu me mo]
や ゆ よ [ya yu yo]
ら り る れ ろ [ra ri ru re ro]
わ を [wa wo]
ん [n]

ま [ma] is pronounced as mo in mother
み [mi] is pronounced as mi in missing
む [mu] is pronounced as moo in moon
め[me] is pronounced as may in May
も[mo] is pronounced as mo in more

や [ya] is pronounced as
ゆ [yu] is pronounced as
よ[yo] is pronounced as

ら [ra] is pronounced as ra in rather
り [ri] is pronounced as re in repeat
る [ru] is pronounced as ru in rule
れ [re] is pronounced as ray in rayfish
ろ[ro] is pronounced as ro in roll

わ [wa] is pronounced as wo in won
を[wo] is pronounced as wa in wall

ん [n] is pronounced as n

Try to remember all the 50 vowels given in this blog and you will enjoy reading Japanese then. Of course, there are other sounds such as g, z, d, b, and p. They are formed by adding straightened right inverted commas on the right upper sound of k for g sound, s for z sound, t for d sound, h for b sound. However, you add the degree sign to h for p sound.

Here they are:

g sound: が ぎ ぐ げ ご [ga gi gu ge go] pronounced as [gargle, guitar, good, gay, god]

z sound: ざ じずぜぞ [za ji zu ze zo] pronounced as [beza(Malay), Jill, zoo, zay, zo]

d sound: だ じずでど [da ji zu de do] pronounced as [radar, Jill, zoo, day, doll]

b sound: ば び ぶ べ ぼ [ba bi bu be bo] pronounced as [bar, bee, book, bay, bore]

p sound: ぱ ぴ ぷ ぺぽ [pa pi pu pe po] pronounced as [part, pee, put, pay, pore]

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Another Internet Scam

I just received an e-mail from 'Public Bank' telling me that my e-banking has been blocked and I have to go to a site indicated to key in my ac number, user id and password. I knew it was an Internet scam.

However, I clicked the site to see what it looked like. My good browser or my genuine windows 7 Internet securities tells me that it is a fake site and refused to take me there. Anyway, should readers come across such an email, do not respond to it or your money will be syphoned by the syndicate.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The next 10 Japanese vowels

These are the next 10 Japanese vowels to be memorised to master the Japanese language. Here they are:

な に ぬ ね の [na ni nu ne no]

は へ ふ へ ほ [ha hi fu he ho]

な [na] is pronounced as na in nasty.

に [ni] is pronounced as ny in many.

ぬ [nu] is pronounced as noo in noodle.

ね [ne is pronounced as na in naked.

の[no] is pronounced as no in nor.

は [ha] is pronounced as ha in harmony.

へ [hi] is pronounced as he in he( is a boy)
ふ [fu] is pronounced as foo in foolish

へ[he] is pronounced as hay as in hay

ほ[ho] is pronounced as ho hollow

Friday, April 23, 2010

How to use 'adalah' correctly

As promised, here is the post on the correct usage of 'adalah'.

'adalah' (is) is often wrong used when 'ialah' should be used. Now, let us see how to use 'adalah' correctly.

'adalah' is used in front of 'frasa adjektif' (adjectival phrase) and 'frasa sendi nama' (prepositional phrase). The following examples will make this rule clear to readers.

1 Kereta yang dibelinya itu adalah terlalu mahal dan saya tidak mampu memilikinya.
[The car that he bought is too expensive and I can't afford to own it.]
In the above sentence, 'terlalu mahal' is an 'frasa adjektif' or adjectival phrase.

2 Surat yang saya baca ini adalah daripada sahabat penaku.
[The letter I am reading is from my pen-pal]
'daripada sahabat penaku' is 'frasa sendi nama' or prepositional phrase.

3 Hadiah ini adalah untuk adikmu.
[This present is for your younger brother.]
The prepositional phrase here is 'untuk adikmu'.
Note that 'untuk' here is considered as a preposition because it is used in front of a noun (adik).
It can be a conjunction if it is used in front of a vcrb. For example, the 'untuk' in the sentence below is not a preposition but a conjunction:
Dia pergi ke kedai itu untuk membeli ubat.
[He went to the shop to buy medicine.]

4 Peraturannya adalah sepert yang berikut.
[The rules are as follows.]
In the above sentence, 'seperti' is a preposition.

I hope the above explanation is clear to readers as to how 'adalah' should be used.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How to use 'ialah' correctly

For today's post, I would like to benefit learners of the Malay language. I will talk about the correct usage of 'ialah'.

In most Malay newspapers, 'adalah' is used when 'ialah' should be used. The correct usage has been put in Tatabahasa Dewan, the official Malay grammar reference for writers and teachers and those who use Malay.

Look at the rule:
'ialah' (is) is used in front of a noun phrase.

1 Dia adalah ahli sains yang terkenal. [wrong]
Dia ialah ahli sains yang terkenal. [correct]
[He is a famous scientist.]
[ahli sains yang terkenal is a noun phrase and should be preceded by 'ialah' instead of 'adalah' which I shall deal with in my next post]

2 Jambatan Pulau adalah yang terpanjang di Asia Tenggara. [wrong]
Jambatan Pulau ialah yang terpanjang di Asia Tenggara. [correct]
[The Penang Bridge is the one that is the longest in Southeast Asia.]
[yang terpanjang di Asia Tenggara is a noun phrase. Usually, a phrase that starts with 'yang' is a noun phrase, e.g. yang putih itu ialah baju saya. 'Yang putih itu (The white on)' is a noun phrase that begins with 'yang']

So much for the correct usage of 'ialah' for this post.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How to write sushi in Japanese

These are the next ten Japanese sounds to be learned for this post.

- sa, shi, su, se, so

- ta, chi, tsu, te, to

[sa] is pronounced as sa in ‘Lisa’.

[shi] is pronounced as shi in ‘shilling’.

[su] is pronounced as soo in ‘soothing’.

[se] is pronounced as say

[so] is pronounced as ‘so’ in ‘solely’.

[ta] is pronounced as ‘ta’ in ‘Rita’.

[chi] is pronounced as ‘chee’ in ‘cheetah’.

[tsu] is pronounced as ‘tch’ in ‘catch’

[te] is pronounced as ‘tay’ in ‘stay’.

[to] is pronounced as tow.

Out of these ten sounds, you can form すし [sushi] , a type of Japanese food.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Good after sale service

Whenever I reformat my hard disk, I need to trouble the Name Technology staff to help me reactvate my registration.

It happened again when I installed Dewan Eja Pro into my new PC. Again, I could not register. Hence I emailed Mr Ahmad, an engineer with The Name Technology and he always helps me to reactivate my registration so that I can register again. Without registration, my Dewan Eja Pro, a Malay Spelling Checker can only work for 60 days and it will not work unless I register it online. It is a way to prevent pirated copy from being registered.

I have to give a pat to the staff of The Name Technology for their good after sale service. Thank you again Ir Ahmad.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The first 10 Japanese vowels

In this post, I shall introduce the ten Japanese vowels and their pronunciation. I am able to input Japanese thanks to the NJStar Japanese Word Processor which I downloaded from the Internet.
As I have just started learning the vowels, I will share the experience with readers of this post as I go along. I took the trouble to memorise all the 50 sounds by reading and writing repeatedly every day. Hence you should just contend yourself with this ten sounds first. There are 40 more to come if you are interested.

あ い う え お か き く け こ

あ [a] is pronounced as AH as in 'are'.
い [i] is pronouced as 'i' as in 'idiot;,
う [u] is pronounced as 'oo' in 'wood'.
え [e] is pronounced as 'a' as in 'able'
お [o] is pronounced as 'au' as in 'auto'

か[ka] is pronounced as 'ca' as in 'car' but hard 'c'
き [ki] is pronounced as 'ki' as in 'kitten' but hard 'k'
く [ku] is pronounced as 'ku' as in 'coo' as in 'coolant' but hard 'c'
け [ke] is pronounced as 'ca' in 'cater' but hard 'c'
こ [ko] is pronounced as 'co' in 'coincident' but hard 'c'

The above are the rough equivalent of the sounds of the vowels. To listen to the accurate pronuncatiation, go to any free online Japanese website and you will be able to listen to the correct pronunciations.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dewan Eja Pro and me

As a Malay tutor, I need to key in text in Malay and check the spelling too. The best Malay spelling in Malaysia is Dewan Eja Pro. I have used it since 2007 after having tried it for three months. Nowadays the Name Technology which produces this software allows users to try it for a period of two months only.

The best part of the software is the 4th edition of Kamus Dewan. Whenever I need to confirm the meaning of a certain, I just key in the word in the space provided. The bar is always there for you to use. If you add another RM30, you can have your Kamus Peribahasa too. Hence you pay RM180 for the full Dewan Eja Pro that comes with Kamus BM to English, Kamus English to BM, Kamus Istilah and Kamus BM-Cina.

All Malay teachers and writers should benefit from this software. No pirated version works because the registration is online. I have to trouble the Name Technology whenever I reformat my Hard Disk because you won't be able to register it anymore unless they reset the setting for you to register again.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Getting used to my PC

My computer works faster than the one I owned earlier. According to my son, my set should run faster because the processor uses 64-bit to do its work.

As I do a lot of scanning of photos and text for my work as a tutor, I find it troublesome to have to use two software when I could use just used FineReader for my task. Anway, something is better than nothing, as the saying goes.

Though VueScan can't send text to Word, it can send it to notepad as I experiment with it a few times. Of course, I need to do quite a lot of reformating of the text to make it look neat.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A way out to access my scanner under 64-bit Windows 7

My new PC looks really slim. I had a hard time trying to install my Canoscan Lide 20 scanner driver for about 10 times without any success. I download the drivers from the Internet, all different sources hoping to get one correctly installed so that my PC could access my scanner but to no avail.

Finally I found out why all the drivers could not work. My Windows 7 Home Basic is of 64 bit and all existing drivers that I had including the ones downloaded could not work in this 64 bit OS environment.

Eventually I found one software called VueScan that could work in this 64-bit environment. It can only scan images and could not do OCR. Hence I can my text with this software and save the jpg files in my folder. It is back to my Finereader to scan it using the option 'scan from file'. Until I use this method my scanner would be an white elephant.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Looking forward to the arrival of my PC

I placed an order for my Dell 560s Inspiron PC on the 8th through the Internet. Initially, I thought that it would arrive three weeks later because I had a conversation with the customer service of Dell some time before Chinese New Year and the lady attending to me informed me that it would take about three weeks. According to her, their order is tailored which means the factory will make the set particulary for you only and it will be manufactured in China and airlifted to their destination after it has been manufactured.

Today I received an SMS telling me that my PC set will arrive between noon and 5.00 p.m. tomorrow. I am looking forward to my new computer although the notebook loanded from my son served my purpose well.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Reinforcement is another key to language learning

I have made up my mind to study Japanese but I kept forgetting the 50 basic hiragana sounds. For the last few minutes, I have been writing them out again and again. I still do now. I find that reinforcement in this helps. At least, I am able to write most of the 50 sounds from 'a i u e o' until 'wa o n'

Besides I learn Japanese online too as I get to listen to the correct pronunciation by native speakers. One freeware I have installed in my pocket PC helps me to remember hiragana too. It is something like a quiz where the computer shows the letter and you press the right sound to match it. All these boil down to reinforcement.

Hence reinforcement is another key to language learning.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The difference between 'kecurian' and 'pencurian'

Students of Malay often use 'kecurian' to mean 'theft' when 'pencurian' is the correct word to be used. Let me explain the differenc in meaning between both words.

'Pencurian' is 'perbuatan mencuri' or the act of stealing whereas 'kecurian' is 'dimasuki pencuri' or burglared. Perhaps the following two sentences will make this difference stands out by itself.

1 Pencurian sering berlaku di taman perumahan ini.
[Theft often occurs in this housing estate.]

2 Rumah Pak Ali kecurian semalam dan banyak barang bernilai dilarikan oleh pencuri itu.
[Pak Ali's house was burglared last night and many valuables were taken by the thief.]

So much for the difference between 'kecurian' and 'pencurian' in the Malay language.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Reading does help one to improve one's English

I read with interest a letter to the editor written by De Jing in the Sunday Star yesterday. He described how as a boy he was unable to understand English and was punished by the teacher to stand behind the class or outside the classroom. Then one day while he was standing outside the classroom as punishment, a girl handed him a book. He took it and started to read. I supposed the book had illustrations and texts and he got interested in the book and continued reading. He came across many words whose meaning he did not know of, but with the help of the illustrations, he could follow the story. Later, the same girl gave him other books. As he read on, more words registered in his mind. The best part was the sentence structures became so familiar with him that he could remember them and words made sense to him. His English began to improve.

The above live example shows that reading does help a student to improve in his English. I have always advocated reading as a way to master a language. My personal experience bears testimony to this fact. Besides Enid Blyton, I did read illustrated books such as School Boys series where a story was told in words and pictures. I do not know whether such types of reading materials are available for students who are weak in English.

Another aspect in mastering a language is the interest in the language. You must be interested in a particular language so that you don't feel bored studying it.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

SMS Scam

In my earlier post, I talked about e-mail scam where a certain person asks for your account number to be deposited a very large sum of money as part of the fortune left by a deceased without any relatives and you are supposed to claim as his next-of-kin for the said money to be transferred to your account. If you believe the e-mail sender then you are in for trouble because he may ask you to deposit some money into his account for processing and this sum will be gone forever because it is a scam.

In this post, I will talk about an SMS scam. The SMS came to me saying that my SIM card has won a prize of RM17.000.00 and I was given a contact number so that I could get in touch with this person to claim the said sum. I knew it must be a scam because the very figure in money given was faulty as a period is used after 17 and not a comma. It can mean only RM17.00 will be given to you after you have given the man say one thousand ringgit for processing fees. If you ever come across such an e-mail, just ignore it. Don't be greedy. There is no free breakfast in this world, as a saying goes.

So much for SMS scam for this post.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Common mistakes in Malay 3

The third installment of 'Common mistakes in Malay' will be my focus in this post.

Here are four more errors in the Malay usage.
1. Duplicating compound words (kata majmuk).
a) Pelajar diminta membawa alat tulis - alat tulis sendiri. [wrong]
Pelajar diminta membawa alat-alat tulis sendiri. [correct]
[Students are asked to bring their own statinery.]

b) Wakil rakyat-wakil rakyat berada di Parlimen sekarang. [wrong]
Wakil-wakli rakyat berada di Parlimen sekarang. [correct]
[The people's representatives are in Parliament now.]

2. Duplicating nouns and adjectives together in a sentence.
a) Anak-anak Encik Lim pandai-pandai. [wrong]
Anak Encik Lim pandai-pandai. [correct]
Anak-anak Encik Lim pandai. [correct]
[All the sons of Mr Lim are clever.]

b) Penghuni-penghuni di kondominium di sana kaya-kaya. [wrong]
Penghuni di kondominium di sana kaya-kaya. [correct
Penghuni-penghuni di kondominium di sana kaya. [correct]
[All residents in the condominium there are rich.]

3 Duplicating the nouns after words denoting plurality.
a) Persatuan pengguna-pengguna itu melindungi hak konsumer. [wrong]
Persatun pengguna itu melindungi hak konsumer. [correct]
[The consumers' association protects the right of consumers.]

b) Lelaki itu mengumpulkan daun-daun kering lalu memerunnya. [wrong]
Lelaki itu mengumpulkan daun kering lalu memerunnya. [correct]
[The man gathered dry leaves and burnt them.]

4 Duplicating nouns after 'antara'.
a) Kerjasama antara negara-negara jiran amat penting demi kebaikan bersama. [wrong]
Kerjasama antara negara jiran amat penting demi kebaikan bersama. [correct]
[Co-operation between neighbouring countries is vital for their common good.]

b) Pertandingan badminton antara kelas-kelas akan diadakan pada hujung minggu ini. [wrong]
Pertandingan badminton antara kelas akan diadakan pada hujung minggu ini. [correct]
[Inter-class badminton competition will be held this weekend.]

So much for four more of the common errors in the Malay usage for today.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Please be a man

In this post, I intend to discuss the words that should be behind 'Please be'.

If you want to know what words should follow 'Please be', you must realise that it is the same as the ones that go after am, is, are, was, were, will be, and so on. In other words, what goes after a verb-to-be.

They are nouns, adjectives, ing-verbs, and past participles.
Here are some examples:
a) I am a man. [noun (a man) is behind 'am']

b) She was smart when she was small. [adjective (smart) is after 'was']

c) They were returning home when it rained. [returning (ing-verb) follows 'were']

d) It will be written on the board. [written (past participle) is behind 'will be']

Hence you can have nouns, adjectives, ing-verbs and past participles after 'Please be'.
Look at the examples given below:
a) Please be a man and fight him. [noun (a man) stays behind 'be']

b) Please be punctual when you come for the meeting. [adjective (smart) is after 'be'.]

c) Please be moving as we don't time to idle any minute.[ing verb (moving) is behind 'be']

d) Please be informed that the meeting will be postponed to a date to be fixed later.[informed (past participle)follows 'be']

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Common Mistakes in Malay 2

I will continue with common errors in Malay in this post.

1 Using penjodoh bilangan with abstract nouns.
a) Dia mengemukakan dua buah cadangan dalam mesyuarat itu. [wrong]
Dia mengemukakan dua cadangan dalam mesyuarat itu. [correct]
[He put forward two suggestions in the meeting.]

b) Ketiga-tiga buah pendapat amat bernas. [wrong]
Ketiga-tiga pendapatnya amat bernas. [correct]
[All his three opinions are solid.]

2 Using 'pada' after affix 'ber_kan'.
a) Dengan berdasarkan pada maklumat yang dikumpulkannya, dia membuat kesimpulan ini. [wrong]
Dengan berdasarkan maklumat yang dikumpulkannya, dia membaut kesimpulan ini. [correct]
[Based on the information he had collected, he formed the said conclusion.]

b) Dengan berpandukan pada peta itu, dia berjaya mencari tempat itu. [wrong]
Dengan berpandukan peta itu, dia berjaya mencari tempat itu. [correct]
[Guided by the map, he succeeded in finding the place.]

3 Leaving pendodoh bilangan when they are required to be grammatically correct.
a) Dia membeli dua buku di kedai itu. [wrong]
Dia membeli dua buah buku di kedai itu. [correct]

b) Kedua-dua pelajar itu dihukum oleh guru disiplin. [wrong]
Kedua-dua orang pelajar itu dihukum oleh guru disiplin. [correct]
[Both students were punished by the disciplinary master.]

4 Errors in passive voice for first and second personal pronouns.
a) Buku ini pernah dibaca oleh saya. [wrong]
Buku ini pernah saya baca. [correct]
[I have read this book before.]

b) Ibu bapamu harus dihormati oleh kamu. [wrong]
Ibu bapamu harus kamu hormati. [correct]
[You should respect your parents.]

So much for second instalment of common errors in Malay usage for today.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Common mistakes in Malay 1

As we learn by imitation, we tend to make mistakes when the one we imitate do so. This is true in languages, and Malay is no exception.

Let us look at a few common errors in Malay.

1 Leaving prefix meN (me, mem, men, meng, meny, menge)in transitive verbs in statements.
a) Saya terima sepucuk surat daripada sahabat penaku. [wrong]
Saya menerima sepucuk surat daripada sahabat penaku. [correct]
[I received a letter from my pen-pal.]

b) Dia gunakan tangan kiri semasa menulis sesuatu.[wrong]
Dia menggunakan tangan kiri semasa menulis sesuatu. [correct]
[He uses his left tangan when he writes.]

2 Leaving kata sendi nama (prepositions) when they must be present.
a) Kanak-kanak suka gula-gula. [wrong]
Kanak-kanak suka akan gula-gula. [correct]
[Children like sweets.]

b) Aminah sangat sayang anak tunggalnya. [wrong]
Aminah sangat sayang akan anak tunggalnya.[correct]
Aminah sangat sayang kepada anak tunggalnya. [correct]
[Aminah loves her only child very much.]

c) Saya tidak tahu namanya. [wrong]
Saya tidak tahu akan namanya. [correct]
[I do not know his name.]

d) Dia lupa alamat baru kawannya. [wrong]
Dia lupa akan alamat baru kawannya. [correct]
[He forgot the new address of his friend.]

3 Using kata sendi nama 'di' for time when 'pada' should be used.
a) Rumah Minah didatangi kawan-kawannya di Hari Raya Aidilfitri. [wrong]
Rumah Minah didatangi kawan-kawannya pada Hari Raya Aidiltri. [correct]
[Minah's house was visited by her friends on Hari Raya Aidiltri (the Muslim's New Year after fasting for a month.]

b) Johari banyak menerima hadiah di hari jadinya. [wrong]
Johari banyak menerima hadiah pada hari jadinya. [correct]
[Johari received a lot of presents on his birthday.]

4 Using 'dalam' in front of concrete objects with space in them.
a) Dompet saya tertinggal dalam teksi itu. [wrong]
Dompet saya tertinggal di dalam teksi itu. [correct]
[My wallet was left in the taxi.]

b) Banyak dokumen yang penting disimpannya dalam laci itu. [wrong]
Banyak dokumen yang penting disimpannya di dalam laci itu. [correct]
[He kept many important documents in the drawer.]

c) Adik saya masih belajar dalam perpustakaan itu. [wrong]
Adik saya masih belajar di dalam perpustakaan itu. [correct]
[My brother is still doing his studies in the library.]

So much for today's post. I shall discuss more common mistakes in Malay in my future posts.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Floating on Sungai Salang

When I was small, I used to play on the beach, picking seashells and chasing waves. My father was very strict and he told me not to swim in the sea. Believe it or not, I followed his advice. That explained why I did not how to swim although I lived near the sea. It was in the teachers' college that I joined the swimming club and learnt how to float. This training really helped me when I was teaching in Jerantut, Pahang because I used to go to Sungai Salang (I can't remember the correct name, anyway) with my colleagues. There I enjoyed floating more that swimming because my breast stroke was hopeless as I could not propel myself to go forward. I had to contend myself with my dog swim, that is, paddling with both hands to move forward.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Making sentences to fetch good marks in Malay

In this post, I would like to show readers how a sentence should be constructed in Malay so as to get full marks.

If you are given an idiom, say 'anak emas' which means the apple of one's eye and you construct a sentence such as 'Aminah ialah anak emas keluarganya.' you will not get full marks because I may not know what you mean if I do not know the meaning of 'anak emas'. However, if you elaborate further to give a clue as to what it means, you will get full marks. For example you can improve on the above sentence by writing 'Aminah ialah anak emas keluarganya kerana ibu bapanya sangat sayang kepadanya.' [Aminah is the apple of her parents' eyes because they love her very much.' The following is a picture of how marks are awarded for the above two sentences.

Aminah ialah anak emas keluarganya. [1/2 mark or 0 mark]
Aminah ialah anak emas keluarganya kerana ibu bapanya sangat sayang kepadanya.[1 mark]

Let us take another example. If you are given an idiom 'tak kering gusi' to make a sentence with, you will be awarded marks according to how well you construct your sentence to convey the actual meaning of 'tak kering gusi'. Now I am not going to give you the meaning of this idiom. Can you understand its meaning in the following sentence?

Kami pun tak kering gusi apabila melihat telatahnya.[0 mark]

I am sure you can't make head of tail of the above sentence. However, if you elaborate on it, the picture will be different. Let us look at the improved sentence below:

Kami tak kering gusi apabila melihat telatahnya kerana gerak-gerinya memang lucu. [We could not help laughing when we saw him because he acted comically.] [1 mark]

By the way, 'tak kering gusi' means 'in stitches' or 'can't help laughing' or 'laughing continuously'.

Here is a very difficult idiom to make a sentence with. The idiom is 'dua kali lima'. To construct this sentence, you have to do it in a conversational style.

Compare the marks given for the two sentences below:

1 Kamu berdua memang dua kali lima sahaja. [0 marks] (Assuming we do not know what 'dua kali lima' means]

2 'Kamu suka mengatakan bahawa Hashim malas orangnya tetapi pada pendapat saya, kamu berdua memang dua kali lima sahaja kerana kamu pun malas juga," kata Ali kepada Abu. [1 mark]
The above sentence means 'You like to say that Hashim is lazy but to me both of you can be termed 'the pot calling the kettle black' because you are lazy, too.' said Ali to Abu.

The idiom 'dua kali lima' means 'two people whose characters are the same, usually bad ones.

So much for sentence-making in Malay for this post.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Who is whom?

The confusion between who and whom often occurs in my students' written assignments. Hence I will deal with their difference in this post, hoping to be of help to other leaners of the English language.

The relative pronoun 'who' refers to the subject in front of it. These are some examples of how to use 'who' as a relative pronoun.
a) She is the girl who often helps me when I am in difficulty. ['who' here refers to 'the girl', the subject in front of it.]

b) Those who win who get their prizes in cash. ['who' in this sentence refers to 'those', the subject in front of it.]

c) The man who cheated my neighbour is still in town. ['who' in this case refers to 'The man', the subject in front of it.]

As for the relative pronoun 'whom', it is just the objective case of 'who'. In other words, it refers to the object instead of the subject. Let us look at a few examples to see how 'whom' is correctly used.
a) He was the man to whom I gave my application letter. ['whom' here refers to the object 'the man'. The sentence comes from two sentences, that is, 'He was the man.' and 'I gave my application to the man.']

b) She was the girl with whom I travelled from Perlis to Johor Bahru. ['whom' here refers to the object 'the girl'. Here again, the sentence comes from two sentences, that is, 'She wsa the girl.' and 'I travelled with the girl from Perlis to Johor Bahru.']

c) He was the officer from whom I obtained this information. ['whom' here refers to the object 'the officer'. The two sentences that are combined to form the above sentence are 'He was the officer.' and 'I obtained this information from the officer.]

So much for the different usage of 'who' and 'whom'

Saturday, April 3, 2010

How to express the same sentence differently

In writing, we do not want our readers to get bored after reading our works. To avoid this from happening, we have to vary the way we write our sentences. We should not stick to one sentence pattern. Hence, it is worth experimenting with various ways of expressing the same intended meaning in a sentence. I shall elaborate this point with a few examples.
Sentence 1: We had a picnic near the beach.
We can express this sentence in two more ways, that is:
a) We went for a picnic by the beach.
b) We were picnicking on the beach.

Sentence 2: The boy looked very thin.
This sentence can be rendered in other ways such as:
a) The boy was a bag of bones.
b) How skinny the boy was!
c) The boy had a skeletal look.

Sentence 3: Occasionally, we were scolded by our parents when we were up to our mischief.
You can express the above sentence differently as:
a) Sometimes, our parents told us off when we were naughty.
b) Once in a while, we got a telling-off by our parents for being mischievous.
c) For our mischief, at times we were reprimanded by our parents.
d) Our parents sometimes told us off when we were mischievous.

Sentence 3: His comic look triggered off our laughing machine for quite some time.
A few sentences of the same meaning can be made out of the above sentence.
a) We could not help laugh when we looked his funny face.
b) His comic face had us in stitches.
c) We laughed incessantly because of his funny look.

You can try our hand at making sentences with almost the same intended meaning. With practice, you can surely coin unique sentences in your writing.

Friday, April 2, 2010

How to win a free laptop

Sometimes we like to get something free of charge. In this post, I will tell readers how to get a laptop free of charge. This laptop is to be given away by Dell. The model is Dell Inspiron 14. It is powered by a Intel Core 2 P7450 processor. With 3GB’s of DDR2 800mHz ram and a 250 G Hard disk, it is sufficient for normal use. If you want to copy disks or files to disks this laptop also comes with a DVD burner.

To find out how to win this laptop, go to the following url for details.

So much for give-away for this post.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Speaking the language one learns

As I was trilingually educated, I was taught three languages when I was in school. Mandarin is my mother tongue while English and Malay are the two extra languages which I learnt besides Mandarin.

I find that one has to speak the languages to be able to master the language. From my personal experience, I had a lot of chances speaking Mandarin but I was only able to speak English and Malay during language classes for both languages. Hence, I joined the English Literary and Debating Society and Malay Society to have more chances of speaking the languages. I used to take part in Elocution contests in English and Malay.

When I was with the English and Debating Society, I enjoy the impromptu Speech activities organised by the society. We were given a topic on the spot and were asked to speak after five minutes. It was through such sessions that one realised the need to have the appropriate vocabulary to express well.

After graduating from a teachers' college, I was posted to Pahang where I spoke the three languages daily. There was one Mandarin teacher who spoke Mandarin most of the time and I talked to him using this language. Most of the colleagues were Malays and I got the chance to speak to them in Malay. As for outstation teachers, they were mostly English-educated and I conversed with them in English. Besides, I was teaching Integrated Science in English and Malay at that time.

Hence I believe strongly that one has to speak the language one learns to be able to master it better.