A basic course in the Malaysian and Indonesian languages in 64 lessons  ©pgoh13
This course is copyrighted and is not to be reproduced under any circumstances.

Lesson 13  Belum (Not yet)

Click to listen  

A second reading (by Michelle Nor Ismat, a native speaker)

Saya belum makan.
Dia belum datang lagi.
Saya belum mandi.
Abang saya belum kahwin.
Bapa saya belum balik.
I've not eaten yet.
He/She has not come yet.
I've not bathed yet.
My elder brother has not married yet.
My father has not come home yet.

For those who want to know more:
Although belum is often used in conjunction with lagi (not...yet) it is perfectly all right to use it alone. Thus Saya belum makan is the same as Saya belum makan lagi.
In the sentence Abang saya belum kahwin above it is evident that "abang" means one's elder brother, just as kakak is one's elder sister. However don't be surprised if you hear a woman calling her husband abang. If you are wondering why this is so, read Zaidel Baharuddin's interesting article entitled Why Malay husbands are called "Abang" here.
When the sibling referred to is younger than oneself the word is adik and if it is necessary to mention if it is one's younger brother or younger sister the term to use is adik lelaki and adik perempuan respectively.
Incidentally the youngest child of a family is called anak bongsu while the eldest is called anak sulung (the word anak alone means "child").
By the way you have absolutely to know the following two terms as they always come up in conversations. I might have already introduced them, in which case there is no harm repeating since we are on the subject of anak. The two terms are:
anak lelaki for "son" and
anak perempuan for "daughter".
Simple, when you know that orang lelaki means a man and orang perempuan means a woman.
Though there is a specific word for each child's rank up to the seventh child (called anak hitam) it's unlikely that you will ever hear them being used. What you are likely to hear though is anak yang kedua (for "second child"), anak yang ketiga (third child), anak yang keempat (fourth child), anak yang kelima (fifth child), anak yang keenam (sixth child) and anak yang ketujuh (seventh child). If you remember, ordinal numbers have already been explained in Lesson 5.
Since all the above terms start with anak it might be useful (if you can still take it) for me to introduce more terms starting with anak. Thus anak angkat means an adopted child, anak haram means an illegitimate child, anak kembar means twins, anak tiri means a stepchild, anak yatim means an orphan and anak tunggal means an "only child".
But watch out for anak kunci. It has nothing at all to do with a child! It actually is the same as kunci alone which is the Malay word for a key.

Some common uses of the word "yang"

The little word yang, just like another little word pun, can be quite troublesome to students. I will try to explain its most common uses here:
(1) As we have seen above yang is used to turn a cardinal number (two, three, etc.*) into an ordinal number (second, third, etc.) To do this you need only put the number after yang ke
two (dua) second (yang kedua)
three (tiga) third (yang ketiga)
10 (sepuluh) 10th (yang kesepuluh)
50 (lima puluh) 50th (yang kelima puluh)
*But as there is often an exception to the rule, note the exception in the case of "first" (you CANNOT say "yang kesatu"). You have to say: yang pertama
one (satu) first (yang pertama)

(2) As the equivalent of "who" for people and "which" for things eg. "the one which is on the table" is yang di atas meja itu or Kereta yang merah itu dia punya. meaning "That red car (or the red car which you see over there) is his." When used for people it is the equivalent of "who" eg. orang yang kena tangkap itu (the person who was caught) or Perempuan yang sedang memasak itu adalah emak saya. (The woman who is cooking is my mother). To the question Yang mana? (Which one?) the answer could be Yang itu (That one) or Yang ini (This one). See Lesson 40 for more examples on this use of yang.

(3) The word yang is also used to express the superlative degree:
Example: He is the smartest boy in the class. = Dia murid yang pandai sekali dalam kelasnya or Dia murid yang paling pandai dalam kelasnya (more in Lesson 58).
So you can express the superlative degree in Malay either by using the pattern yang + adjective + sekali or by using yang paling followed by the adjective.
old (tua) the oldest (yang tua sekali or yang paling tua)
strong (kuat) the strongest (yang kuat sekali or yang paling kuat)
pretty (cantik) the prettiest (yang cantik sekali or yang paling cantik)
See Lesson 58 for more examples.

(4) The little word yang is often used together with the word apa as in the following sentences (sorry I am not a linguist so I can't give you the grammatical analysis but I will try to make some sense out of it in simple layman's language).
Apa yang dikatakannya itu tidaklah benar.
(= What he said is not true.)
As you know apa alone means "what" so can't we just say "Apa dikatakannya itu tidaklah benar" (without the word "yang") you might ask. We can't (at least it is incorrect) because the "what" in the sentence above actually stands for "The thing that" he said is not true. Oh by the way, if you were to translate the Malay sentence above literally it would be in the passive so "What was said by him is not true".
More examples:
Apa yang anda hendak buat sekarang?
(= "What is it" that you want to do now?)
Apa yang anda hendak makan?
( "What is it" that you want to eat?)
Dia tidak dapat apa yang diharap-harapkannya.
(= He did not get "the thing that" he was hoping for.)
Apa yang penting bagi pelajar ialah mempunyai minat.
(= "The thing that" is important for students is to have an interest.)
In this particular sentence we can leave out the word apa so Yang penting bagi pelajar ialah mempunyai minat is perfectly correct.

(5) When addressing or referring to titled people. You yourself are not likely to make use of this but I add this here just for your knowledge in case you should come across it in speeches.
So when you watch people speaking on Malaysian TV you might hear Yang Mulia So-and-So (for royalty or other distinguished guests) or Yang Berhormat So-and-So (for MPs, etc) or Yang Berbahagia So-and-So (for Tan Sri title holders, etc). As if all this is not enough the word Amat meaning "very" is sometimes inserted in-between, raising their status (!) to Yang Amat Mulia, Yang Amat Berhormat and Yang Amat Berbahagia. I don't want to complicate matters by going further into this comical world of titles (Malaysia is not alone in this) but note that the King is addressed as Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Are you ready to do an exercise? If yes, click here.

to marry kawin kahwin
elder brother kakak (kakak laki-laki) abang
elder sister kakak perempuan kakak
youngest child anak bungsu anak bongsu
That red car is his. Mobil yang merah itu dia punya. Kereta yang merah itu dia punya.
                          Table of Lessons