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Midnight Malarkey

a peek inside the poetic freak

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Language

I’ve seen the light. Now I know how great acronym slang is! It doesn’t matter how negative something is. Just add “lol” and it’ll automatically become positive.

— Monokuma

English & Bahasa Indonesia

I’ve decided to make this post bilingual for some (or maybe a few) reason(s) I myself don’t even know. But whilst having the same main topics, they each convey different information. No, I’m not asking you to read both. It’s just for your information.

So the other day after Dad got out of the shower he randomly came up to me and told me I should speak with my sister in English from time to time. You know, to help her get used to it and understand it better. The “request” bugged me for some reasons I’ll explain in a minute or two. But I just nodded and started telling him about how some friends at my school asked why I don’t speak English.

Then he snapped. It was sudden, but not that surprising. He said I wasn’t willing to help my sister. That I’d always let the family down. That there’s no use putting hope in me.

No, no, no. That wasn’t what I was trying to do. I was just telling a story, for the love of chocolate sprinkles!

But it’s not just my parents. My friends too. When I write something it’s a normal thing to see some curious faces glancing. A few who read what I write sometimes nag “Why didn’t you write it in English?” or something along that line. And when I ask people, “Should I write in Bahasa or English?” they usually answer “ENGLISH!” and some even go one step further and talk about how disgustingly mushy words in Bahasa sound. I know, some are like that. But did they have to do me a favor and point that out? I. Think. Not.

do read, watch, and write more in English, but that’s all because some things are easier said in English than Bahasa. Since I don’t speak English most of the time, it also keeps my passable skills in check. I’m not all that fluent. I don’t need what I know to start degrading. As for my writings (poems in general, to be exact) I just write them and use either Bahasa or English according to my mood and the circumstances. I’d rather buy expensive books in the original English text than buy cheaper translated versions. The ambiance’s different, and to be frank I’ve rarely spotted a translated book that could really satisfy me.

Bahasa Indonesia is and always will be my first language. Just because I get good grades in English or maybe someday move to some other country doesn’t mean I have to throw that fact away. Sometimes people ask why I don’t speak English. Sometimes it’s hard to hold back the urge to ask back.

“It’s my first language, and yours too, I might add. Why do you see Bahasa as something that’s disgusting or cheesy? Why do you constantly persist to use English even when you’re not good at it and don’t even want to try and learn proper English?”

Maybe I should print that out. Then anytime someone “right” asks I’d just hand them a card and walk away. I’d rather be mistaken for a jerk than be prodigal towards my own country’s official language.

And it’s true, really. There are a lot of us who use English or another foreign language to make ourselves sound more official, more important. Then we make mistakes. And we don’t even bother to correct them when someone points them out. Even if it’s annoying, it’s kind of a kind gesture. They care about how we use language though if it’s for their eyes’ comfort.

I don’t know why being able to speak English is “cool”. Being able to speak in more than one language is cool. Abandoning one for the other isn’t. It’s not like we have a limit to how many languages we could actually learn if we have the time and will. You could still learn English while managing to improve your language skills in Bahasa (and other languages) as well, though if you’re learning three or more languages simultaneously you deserve a big bowl of ice cream from time to time.

I like something a friend said. Basically she said people should learn their first language properly before learning a second. That’s true. I have fairly decent grammar. I know basic vocabulary and punctuation. But what about all those times I need a dictionary to go with the book I’m reading? All those times my eyebrows crunch together because I’m not sure if I’ve spelled a word right?

I’m still learning Bahasa.

And they want me to just focus on English just because it seems cooler in their eyes? To minimize using Bahasa because English is a more popular language?

Geez. Get real, people.

*    *    *

Untuk suatu (atau mungkin beberapa) alasan yang gue sendiri gak tahu, gue memutuskan nge-post post ini dalam dua bahasa. Dan ini bukan permintaan buat baca keduanya. Hanya sekedar informasi. Soalnya ada yang berbeda di masing-masing versi.

Belum lama ini bokap gue dengan tiba-tiba meminta gue ngomong sama adik gue memakai Bahasa Inggris. Buat bantuin dia ngerti aja sih penggunaan sehari-harinya. Sebenarnya gue males abis, tapi gue bilang iya aja daripada kena celotehan panjang lebar. Terus gue mau cerita ke bokap tentang beberapa orang yang pernah ngomong ke gue juga, “Shan, kenapa lo males ngomong Inggris, sih?”

Tiba-tiba dia marah. Bilang gue gamau bantuin keluarga, gak bisa diharapkan, blablabla… intinya gue anak gak tau diri yang gak berguna buat keluarga gitu, deh. Padahal gue cuma lagi mau cerita loh. Dan ortu gue bisa bingung kenapa gue males banget cerita ke mereka. Nanti kapan-kapan gue suruh baca post ini deh, kayaknya.

Memang kenyataannya gue males ngomong dalam Bahasa Inggris. Sehari-hari pun gue cuma make beberapa istilah atau kata yang memang udah bagai kata serapan. Di pelajaran Bahasa Inggris sendiri (dan les dulu) teman-teman gue sebagian berusaha ngomong Inggris, dan gue, baik tau ataupun gak tau apa yang harus gue katakan, berkali-kali kena teguran guru karena bersikukuh memakai Bahasa Indonesia.

Nah, kalau kasusnya begitu, gue terima aja deh. Secara, emang seharusnya gue make Inggris kalau pelajaran. Kalau di luar kelas, gurunya mau ngomong Inggris gue tetap memakai Bahasa Indonesia, gak salah, dong?

Tapi bukan begitu doang skenario yang makin lama makin kerap gue temui. Mulai dari chat, dunia sosmed, bahkan dunia nyata, makin banyak orang yang menganggap Bahasa Inggris itu kelasnya lebih elit daripada Bahasa.

Kalau gue lagi iseng mau nulis sesuatu dan bingung mau pake bahasa mana, kebanyakan orang yang gue tanya langsung jawab “INGGRIS!”, dan di chat lengkap dengan huruf kapital serta sederet tanda seru di belakangnya. Beberapa bahkan menambahkan komentar tak perlu tentang seberapa menjijikkannya kata-kata tertentu dalam Bahasa Indonesia.

Sejujurnya, gue memang lebih memilih menggunakan Bahasa Inggris di media sosial. Tetapi itu karena kebanyakan orang yang secara rutin berinteraksi dengan gue memang tergolong fasih berbahasa Inggris, atau memang menggunakannya sebagai bahasa utama/kedua mereka.

Untuk buku-buku yang bahasa aslinya memang Inggris pun gue cukup rela merogoh kocek yang membuat keuangan defisit ketimbang membeli edisi terjemahan yang bisa dua atau tiga kali lipat lebih murah. Tetapi itu pun dikarenakan kualitas terjemahan yang ada masih mengecewakan, dan gue lebih memilih membolak-balik kamus atau menggunakan Google Translate ketimbang gusar melihat hasil terjemahan yang membuat sesuatu menjadi rumit. Lagipula, walau karyanya sama, hasil terjemahan dan hasil tulisan asli sang penulis bisa memiliki nuansa yang berbeda.

Film-film yang gue tonton gue usahakan tak memakai subtitle, baik dalam Bahasa Indonesia maupun Inggris. Kecuali film tersebut memakai bahasa asing lain, atau ada tokoh dalam film dengan aksen yang terlalu kental sehingga gue nggak mengerti apa yang ia katakan. Dan itu berfungsi sebagai latihan mendengar gue.

Khusus untuk segala jenis rima yang gue buat, bahasa yang gue gunakan tergantung pada suasana hati dan keperluan (dan terkadang opini teman kala gue benar-benar bingung mau memakai bahasa apa).

Lalu mengapa gue begitu malas berbicara dalam Bahasa Inggris? Mengapa gue, melawan opini-opini yang diberikan dengan begitu “murah hati”, masih tetap menulis dalam Bahasa Indonesia?

Gue nggak mau melupakan bahasa utama dan terutama gue.

Ini adalah bahasa yang pertama kali gue pelajari. Kemungkinan satu-satunya bahasa yang gue ketahui selama tiga-empat tahun pertama hidup gue. Bahasa Nusantara. Dan sekarang tren yang ada—bahkan orang tua gue yang biasanya tak terlalu mengikuti pun tahu—seolah ingin mendoktrinasi generasi untuk meninggalkan bahasa sendiri.

Oh. Astaga.

Gue setuju dengan seorang teman yang berkata bahwa kalau lo mau belajar Bahasa Inggris dengan baik dan benar, kuasailah Bahasa Indonesia terlebih dahulu. Gue bahkan belum lancar mengenali kata baku. Apakah gue harus membiarkan bahasa utama gue terdampar begitu saja? Rasanya tidak.

Bayangkan mempelajari Bahasa Inggris dan tidak mengerti suatu kata. Tentu semalas-malasnya seseorang pasti sesekali ia akan bertanya. Lalu bagaimana jika arti tepatnya adalah kata yang bahkan belum pernah ia dengar? Bagaimana jika ia mencari lewat kamus dan menemukan kata yang lebih asing lagi walau kata itu dalam Bahasa Indonesia? Secara pribadi, gue menganggap itu seperti bencana.

Setiap kali jalan-jalan dan mendengar sekelompok orang Indonesia (yang bisa berbahasa Indonesia) memutuskan berbicara menggunakan Bahasa Inggris (oh, ini tak mustahil diketahui. Bisa saja mereka memesan makanan memakai satu bahasa dan mengobrol dengan bahasa yang lain.), bokap gue biasanya memperhatikan sejenak. Terkadang ia berkomentar.

“Hebat, ya.”

Dan gue berkata hal yang sama dalam hati.

Dalam nada penuh ironi.

BevZvlYIIAAkBSfThis is taken from the movie “Dead Poets Society”. And one I find inspiring. We could all use a little more vocabulary, couldn’t we?

 

59 More Slang Phrases From The 1920s We Should Start Using Again

Thought Catalog

I learned a couple things from the response to my article on slang phrases from the 1920s. Number first: The Roaring Twenties really did have the coolest vernacular ever. However, I also found out that the internet loves the 1920s as much as I do  — except for the overt racism, ban on alcohol and regressive gender politics, of course.

In terms of vocab, the 20s got all of us beat. For all you 20s junkies, here are 59 more great slang phrases from the decade that keeps on giving. Let’s bring this shit back.

You should like Thought Catalog on Facebook here.

1. Absent Treatment: dancing with a shy person, inexperienced dancer or awkward partner.

2. Air Tight: extremely desirable or attractive. (Note: A “sheik” is an attractive male.)

3. Ameche: a phone. (Also use for telephone: “blower.”)

4. Baby Vamp: a very popular young…

View original post 684 more words

“You can tell from the language we use. Language always gives you away.”
– George Carlin

Terry Moore: Why is ‘x’ the unknown?

Connotations

This may sound like I’m a stuck-up know-it-all kind of person. Well, sometimes, I am. Oh well.

You know how the morally burdened people like to encourage hopeless friends? Let’s say that I’m entering a competition where I know I’m going to lose to the other amazing participants. Or I’m facing an exam that I know I’m going to fail (just assume that I haven’t studied at all as usual and the teacher’s already given a heads-up that if you don’t study you’re gonna flunk unless you have photographic memory or telepathic abilities or something).

“You can make it, you know. Nothing’s impossible.”

See? That common line. That cliche. Designed to make you feel better about the odds. But I don’t really find it helpful. It calms me down, yes, but it doesn’t in any way make me more confident. “Nothing’s impossible” means I can lose or win, pass or flunk. It’s just a matter of which one’s more probable. But why does the sentence itself sound so optimistic? You rarely hear someone say it when a good citizen turns out to be a serial killer, for example. It’s because of how society is used to context it into a particular situation and/or meaning.

It’s the same reason that my mom scolds me if I say “rest in peace”. Well, I say it in Bahasa. “Mom, you should find some rest and get peace,” or something along those lines. Then she starts up and gets angry at me. I’m not wishing for her death–far be it, who’ll take care of my food and stuff?

Sometimes I agree so much with George Carlin’s words “it’s the context that counts!”. I mean, if I really do want someone to have a peaceful rest, then how should I say it? “Rest in peace” is the shortest and most direct way to do so. Yeah, I also feel like I’m wishing death for someone, but I don’t really mean it. Does that mean I’m the one at fault? Just because I don’t fall into (all of) society’s like-mindedness in interpreting words, does that mean I should give up this little dose of individuality (if you can call it that) just so I can fit in? Even if you do think that way, I don’t. And, I won’t.

I wonder why I’m stressed out about this, though. I’ve always cared about diction and stuff, but I realize that I myself am still nowhere near proper.  But I do wish that people don’t get so touchy about how I talk. I usually mean well. Yes, it’s my fault for being insensitive, but it’s not my fault if they don’t take the effort to try and understand the connotations I mean when talking in a vulgar way.

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