Wednesday, 30 January 2008

More on Syllables

I would like to write more on sylables as they are very crucial to deal with when you learn how to read Indonesian words. As I said in the posting before, it is necessary to first separate the words into their syllables before you read.
The way you separate the words has to follow the general rule that I gave you in the posting before. Once you have separated a word into syllables, then read each syllable one by one from left to right until you finish the word. Words may be separated into one (rare), two (very), three (often), four (less often), even five or six syllables (very rare). For example, the following words are separated into their syllables:

Full word    Separated (number of syllable)    Meaning

dan                  dan (1)                                and (conj.)
baru                 ba-ru (2)                              new (adj.)
praktis             prak-tis (2)                          practical (adj.)
sangat              sa-ngat (2)                          very (adv.)
belakang          be-la-kang (3)                      back (adj.)
mengganggu    meng-gang-gu (3)                 disturb(ing) (v, adj.)
menggunakan  meng-gu-na-kan (4)              use (v)
pengetahuan    pe-nge-ta-hu-an (5)              knowledge (n)
perkecualian    per-ke-cu-a-li-an (6)             exception (n)

Generally, words that are separable into four or more syllables are those of derived words. In the above examples, mengganggu, menggunakan, pengetahuan, perkecualian are derived from root words ganggu, guna, tahu, kecuali, respectively. (More on derived words will be discussed later).

Now, how to read the syllables above? The key to read a syllable is the vowel included within. The general vowels are a (sounds like ah), i (pronounced as in bit), u (pronounced as in put), e (pronounced mostly as in open or rarely as in pet), o (pronounced as in often). For example, praktis contains a and i in the first and second syllable, respectively. So, you have to read it prak-tis as you would say practice, except that the vowel a sounds like a in father.

How do you find it, difficult? I am sure it will be easier later, once you have mastered it.

To test your understanding so far, please try to separate and then read the following words:

sah (valid)
syah (a sort of sultan, king, or ruler)
ons (ounce)
mekar (developed/ing)
sekarang (now)
kemarin (yesterday)
besok (tomorrow)
menunjuk (to point to)
menunjukkan (indicate)
diperkirakan (to be predicted)

That's it! You have learned how to read Indonesian words.
How do you find this post? Beneficial, too hard to follow, or else? Please give your comments.


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