"Where does he come from?"
Translation:Dari mana dia berasal?
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Dari mana = From where (something or someone comes)
Di mana = In/At where (something is located)
-- Dari mana dia berasal? — Where is she from? (Lit: From where does she originate?) -- Di mana dia tinggal? — Where does she live? (Lit: At where does she stay?)
In Indonesian, generally, you specify the object or agent (in this case, "dia") before you state their condition (ie, location, description, state, actions). This way, you know what or whom you are talking about before you begin to describe their conditions.
In English, you state conditions first and then the object or agent at the end of the sentence. If you think about it this is illogical, since you have to wait for someone to state ALL of the conditions before you know what they are referring to. For example: "Where does the big brown angry ugly furry bear come from?" You have to wait until we get done with "big brown angry ugly furry" before you have any idea that we are talking about a bear, and not an old lady, a baby, a bottle of juice, or a UFO. In a majority of other languages, the object or agent comes early in the sentence and the conditions after—English is the weird one.
Inquisitives (who, where, what) come first in most languages. English and Indonesian are similar in this.
So: "[inquisitive] [agent or object] [conditions]" is a logical sentence structure, even if it is different from English which would be "[inquisitive] [conditions] [agent or object]."
Indonesian: Dari mana (inquisitive) dia (agent) berasal? (condition—in this case, a verb)
If you put 'dia' after 'berasal' it sounds strange - as if 'dia' somehow owns 'berasal'. Usually you put dia, kamu, saya etc after a word (object) to show that you/he/they own it. So in this case you have to specify the agent earlier in the sentence, then say what they are doing.
Imagine saying in English, instead of 'Andi is walking' you said 'Is walking Andi.' you understand what I'm trying to say, but it sounds weird.
It's the difference between saying 'From where does she come' (Dari mana dia berasal), and 'Where is her origin' (Di mana dia berasal).
You will be understood, but the first example is more active - she is coming from somewhere. The second example is more passive and focuses more on the origin than it does on the person. So the first example is better. Indonesian people would never say 'di mana' in this case, because 'dari mana' (from where) makes more sense.
I think it is implied in the ber- verbs lessons that you need a ber- verb somewhere
On the word order, i would have thought that 'dia berasal dari mana?' would work because it seems that in indonesian you can simply substitute question words where the answer would go in a normal sentence.
Yes, you can say "dia dari mana" and it still makes sense. It would not be uncommon to hear Indonesians saying it this way.
But, as Mostyn569652 notes above, this is a lesson on ber~ verbs, so in this question, if you omit the "berasal" you will be marked incorrect. You need to first practice the long forms so you can make more sense of the short forms. ;-)
No, this is like saying "Where which is he/she from?" or "Where that is he/she from?"
You would be better off saying "Dari mana dia berasal?"
You could even get away with saying, simply, "Mana dia berasal?" The "Dari" would be implied (and obvious) and you would sound like a native speaker.