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.

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