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  5. "Brains do not have bones."

"Brains do not have bones."

Translation:Otak tidak punya tulang.

August 17, 2018



Is there a method to learn which plural Indonesia words are said twice and which aren't? Example, the above "Otak" and "tulang" are both only said once when singular or plural. While "Paru" is said twice to make it plural. Any ideas for how we can tell which words to say twice or not would be appreciated. Thanks


Gets even more confusing when it's not just nouns you can reduplicate for pluralisation, but you can also reduplicate adjectives and adverbs like "keras-keras", "besar-besar", or "main-main", "datang-datang" for emphasis. You can reduplicate anything! Just a matter of which ones sound natural to...


I think generally, based on my observation alone, it seems that anything that's like... a concept or not physically observable is usually not said twice. For example here, the sentence is saying that brains don't generally have bones. Not pointing to any particular brains and stating that those brains don't have any bones.

Please correct me if I'm wrong!


From my understanding the 'rules' are:

Nouns don't have plural, so they can mean both - tulang can be both bone or bones

When it does not matter, you don't reduplicate - like in this case, it does not matter if you say 'a brain does not have bones', 'the brain does not have a bone' or any variations of these, since you are basically saying that generally speaking brains don't have bones

When it matters but it's clear whether you are using singular or plural, again, you don't reduplicate (we know how many objects there are, either from the sentence or from context)

When it matters and you want to emphasize the plural aspect, you reduplicate

It's not wrong to reduplicate in neither of the cases when using plurals, but it might sound overly pedantic or awkward maybe.

For short, nouns mean both singular and plural. You only reduplicate if it's necessary for meaning or emphasis.


There are some translations for this sentence in Indonesian, and they are - "Otak tidak punya tulang." - "Otak tidak bertulang." - "Otak tidak memiliki tulang."


Should be Otak-otak as it's written Brains


Otak-otak is actually a type of food. Indonesians and Malays don't use it as a plural for brain.


No, the word "otak" itself can be singular and plural. When you reduplicate this word, the meaning will be ambiguous. So better just say "otak"


It's confusing and tricky to write "brains" and propose "otak" twice... As the right answer is "otak"


That's only because in English we can use "brains" both as a word for the substance and for more than one brain. Although, "brains" as the substance may be more of a pop culture adoption from zombie movies. Each person only has one brain, of course.

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