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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DanielVanD18

‘A’ in Indonesian and the forms of it

I have often wondered what the forms of the word ‘a’ (the indefinite article) in Indonesian means. And I thought there was no such thing as the word ‘a’ in Indonesian, as they don’t use articles, but in the course it uses ‘seorang’ and ‘sebuah’ on and off. Could someone explain these differences? (I’d be grateful if Rick392366 came along and helped as usual :). )

July 10, 2019

11 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rick392366

'seorang' ==> used for humans.

'seekor' ==> used for animals.

'sebuah' ==> used for objects.

These are the three most frequently used classifiers/counters.
They are translated to English as an indefinite article.

There are many more classifiers/counters :

The Classifiers: Buah, Orang and Ekor.
https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/3842014


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DanielVanD18

Why is it not used sometimes and sometimes it is used?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rick392366

Most of the times the classifier can be dropped.
It's used when you want to emphasise that you're talking about a single object, instead of talking about the object in general (in plural form).

Example from the original topic :

The sentence "Ada mobil di depan rumah kita", can mean
"There is a car in front of our house", or
"There are cars in front of our house"
because every noun in the Indonesian language can be singular or plural.

In order to singularize the word you can say
"Ada sebuah mobil di depan rumah kita" -
"There is a car in front of our house".

In this example, by using the classifier, you emphasise that you're talking about one car.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DanielVanD18

Are itu and ini the only definite classifiers?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rick392366

'ini' and 'itu' are determiners (kata penunjuk).

Here is more info :
'ini' , 'itu', Tips & Notes, Addendum.
https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/31492712


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DanielVanD18

Thanks, that’s quite simple. But in the lessons I have seen seorang used for other thinks, eg. Seorang buku, seorang jeruk.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rick392366

Thanks, that’s quite simple. But in the lessons I have seen seorang used for other thinks, eg. Seorang buku, seorang jeruk.

No, that is not correct. It's not used like that.
If you see such a phrase, please post the link to the sentence discussion here.

'seorang' is a classifier used only for humans, like this :
'seorang guru', 'seorang hakim', 'seorang artis', etc....


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DanielVanD18

They must be mistakes. Grateful for your help:)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Velonisia

Rick392366 has explained it, but to me, they should be transliterated in English with "a single" or something like this. That's because "se-" is a prefix for creating "one of that [noun]" word.

So, seorang gadis = a single girl (orang = people), sebuah buku = a single book (buah = "fruit" but could also mean "item"), seekor anjing = a single dog (ekor = tail), or something like that. Forgive my English if it sounds weird for the natives though lol.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DanielVanD18

Thanks. Transliterated is normally written as translated.

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