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  Lesson 27 Barangkali (Perhaps)  

Click to listen to the Malay sentences.

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

Why is he not here yet?
Mengapa dia belum sampai lagi?
(lit.) Why has he not arrived yet?
Perhaps he is sick. Barangkali dia sakit.
When is the postman coming? Bila posmen akan datang?
Perhaps in a short while. Barangkali sekejap lagi.
I have to go now. Saya harus pergi sekarang.
belum = not yet
sampai = to arrive
posmen = the postman
harus = have to
mesti = must
sekarang = now

For the last sentence, if you find the word harus too difficult to remember you can use mesti (= must) instead. Thus Saya mesti pergi sekarang.

Mnemonic: harus means "have to". Both the Malay word and the English equivalent start with the letter "h".

When there is uncertainty:
Other words that are often used in the place of barangkali are:
mungkin (=may, likely) eg.
Mungkin akan hujan esok. (It may rain tomorrow.) and
Dia mungkin datang. (He may come.)
An expression to denote a possibility is boleh jadi eg.
Boleh jadi dia tidak akan datang (It is possible that he will not turn up.)

When there is obligation or certitude:
There are a number of words to convey the idea of obligation. You have already seen one of them in the last sentence in the table above:
The word is mesti meaning "must". Example:
Saya mesti pergi sekarang. meaning "I must go now".
A word which can be used in its place is harus, also having the sense of "must, should, have to, ought to".
Thus the above sentence can also be put this way: Saya harus pergi sekarang. (I have to go now.)
Here's another example of the use of mesti:
Saya mesti habiskan kerja ini sebelum pukul lima. (I must/have to finish this piece of work by 5.)
Do you need some mnemonics to help you? Just remember that mesti and "must" both start with the letter "m"!
A common word for certitude is tentu meaning "sure". Example:
Dia tentu gembira bila mendengar berita baik ini. (He/She is sure to be happy when he/she hears the good news.)
Another example: Dia tentu akan datang. (He/She is sure to come.)
When you are sure about something (in the sense of "certain" or "positive"), you can use the word pasti eg. I am sure he will win (Saya pasti dia akan menang.)
Quite similar in meaning is the word yakin which is the word to use when you are confident or convinced about something or believe in something eg. Dia yakin dia akan lulus dalam peperiksaan itu. (= He is confident that he will pass the examination.)
When you want to say that there is an uncertainty over some future action you can say Belum tentu or Belum pasti eg. It is not certain that he will be able to play (Belum pasti dia dapat bermain.)
The word to use when you want to say that something is compulsory is wajib. Example:
Persekolahan adalah wajib untuk semua kanak-kanak. (Schooling is compulsory for all children.)
Oh, I must not forget another common word perlu which has also the sense of obligation besides that of needing something. It is sometimes translated as "necessary" eg. Semua orang perlu makan dan minum untuk hidup. (Everyone needs to eat and drink in order to live.)

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