Becicik ketitik, ala ketara is a very famous idiom in Javanese and frequently used in many situations including the present time. The idiomatic expression never cease to be popular due to their significance and powerful message it conveys. To understand what it contains, let us read the following story -- a true one.

The village secretary in where my mom lives has long seemed incapable of doing his job. Not only is he irresponsible for what he's assigned to, all he has always cared about is making money outside his main task. Villagers have grown furious to find him leaving his office continuously that leads to important issues unattended.


Truth will find its way.


They are involuntarily driven to compare the village officer with my father who previously held the post. They say my dad was a more reliable person and may be a paragon of virtue in what he is doing. From my point of view, I need to tell that my dad was kinda extreme when carrying out his job. He seemed to have cared more about local villagers than his own family. He tended to spend more time with his people than with us at home.


However, villagers do not have the guts to confront the incapable secretary. They opt for keeping it a public secret and to some degree submit it to God for him to handle. And time speaks up. The despotic was finally doomed. He was met with inevitable adversary. 


One sunny day, a wedding feast was held in a villager's house. The village secretary attended the occasion as well. Out of the blue, a man approached him and scolded him for presumably having an affair with the man's wife. The village officer denied and rushed to attack the man complaining. 


To make story short, the village secretary was then questioned in the sub-district police station. He had to lose a lot of money during the process including his beloved automobile. Now that he has no more time to spend on making money in the port like usual. He is assigned to a new post in the sub-district center which is more strict and disciplined. He has no choice but to keep attending the new position whereas he may be unable to enjoy it.


In Javanese the idiom becik ketitik, ala ketara is an ideal portrayal of what has happened to the village officer. The idiom clearly means that what is true shall be true and the bad will appear the way it is. No matter how hard we're trying to conceal lies and deception, it's only a matter of time before everything is made ostensible. 


This way we need to be true to ourselves and remain just in what we do regardless of what role we are playing. Do you have a similar idiom of your native language?      

       

I WAS BUT shocked when a fellow member of NBC (Nasi Bungkus Community) told me one Friday morning, "Masbro, sampean ketiban sampur ya. Dadi ketua panitia kurban." This is how her sentence would sound in English, "Ya bro, you're ketiban sampur. You've been appointed to be the head committee of kurban."

Our short conversation reminds me of a long forgotten idiom in Javanese. Ketiban sampur is a Javanese idiomatic expression that denotes a condition when someone is assigned to carry particular responsibility which he does not desire or expect. 


The origin of ketiban sampur 

Ketiban sampur is derived from a dance party known as tayub. The phrase is composed of two main words: ketiban and sampur. Ketiban indicates an unexpected windfall whereas sampur refers to the shawl worn by female dancers in the tayub. The narrow and long shawl is normally placed over their shoulders or tied to their hips when dancing.
 
Accompanied by traditional instrument called gamelan, the dancers will be dancing through the party and randomly pick a male guest to join them. The selection is made by placing a colorful shawl around his neck. The one receiving the shawl is called ketiban sampur as he has no idea he'll be selected.

Whenever you are assigned to something you must handle or a duty to complete but you actually never expect it, then you are ketiban sampur. While you can typically deny it, completing the task will be of great value.        

"Enak ya kamu, Rud, bisa ngomong beberapa bahasa berbeda!" ujar seorang teman, bule asal Belgia dalam bahasa Inggris. Wajahnya jelas menunjukkan antusiasme dan kekaguman pada saya dan seorang teman wanita yang akan ia persunting sebagai istri. Percakapan itu berlangsung di teras rumah mungil di pinggiran kota Semarang belasan tahun silam. Saya dan teman berbicara pakai tiga bahasa sekaligus: Inggris (yang juga dipahami si bule), Indonesia, dan tentu saja bahasa Jawa bahasa ibu kami.

Bahasa terakhirlah yang membuatnya takjub. Di Belgia, menurut pengakuannya, mereka tak punya bahasa ibu seperti kita di Indonesia. Belum lagi bahasa Minang, Sunda, Papua, Madura, dan entah berapa lagi bahasa daerah yang digunakan di tanah air. Sebuah sumber menyebutkan setidaknya ada 300 bahasa pribumi yang digunakan dalam percakapan di seluruh Nusantara. Bukanlah itu fakta luar biasa?

Alih-alih bahasa Belgia, warga negara itu berbicara dalam tiga bahasa yakni Belanda, Perancis, dan Jerman. Fakta ini membuatnya takjub terhadap orang Indonesia yang setidaknya menguasai dua bahasa, yakni bahasa daerah dan bahasa Indonesia. Belum lagi kalau ia menguasai bahasa asing, seperti Inggris, Jepang, Arab, Mandarin, Spanyol, dan lain sebagainya. Tentunya kemampuan berbahasa orang Indonesia layak diacungi jempol.

Word is a primary component of a sentence. Without any words, a sentence cannot be produced so we won’t be able to speak or write it. In this sense, silah-silahing tembung serves a significant role to help us compose a good sentence. In Javanese, the part of speech goes as follows.

Tembung Aran (Noun) such as buku (book), suket (grass), omah (house), kelasa (mat), etc.
For instance: Mimi wes nggelar kelasa ing latar. / Mimi has spread out a mat in the yard.    

Tembung Kriya (Verb) such as maca (read), ngombe (drink), mlaku (walk), jiwit (pinch), ambung (kiss), mangkat (depart), etc.  
For instance: Isuk mau Mulyono mlaku nang sawah. / Mulyono walked to the field this morning. 

Tembung Ganti (Pronoun) such as aku (I), kowe (you), deweke (he/she), etc.
For instance: Kowe opo ngerti omah kancamu kuwi? / Do you know where your friend lives? 

Tembung Wilangan (Numeral) such as siji (one), sanga (nine), akeh (many/much), setengah (half), saithik (a little), etc.
For instance: Sekolah iku nduwe siswa akeh. / That school has many students.

Tembung Sipat (Adjective) such as apik (good), angel (difficult), mangkel (irritated), seneng (happy), etc.  
For instance: Soal matematika iki pancen angel. / This math is really difficult to solve.  

Tembung Katrangan (Adverb) such as kene (here), lor (north), nisor (below), pinggir (edge), kiwa (left-hand), etc.  
For instance: Candra arep turu kene. / Candra will be sleeping here.

Tembung Pangguwuh (Exclamation) such as wah (wow), aduh (oh my), tulung (please), etc. 
For instance: Aduh, bukuku ketinggalan nang omah! / Oh my, I’ve left my book at home.  

Tembung Sandhangan (Attribute) such as Sang (The...), Raden (social status), Kyai, etc.
For instance: Pak Waluyo Sang Pahlawan mpun rawuh. / Mr. Waluyo the hero has arrived.  

Tembung Panyambung (Conjunction) such as sarta (as well as), lan (and), mulane (therefore), etc.
For instance: Bagas lan Dimas sinau basa Jawa ing jero kelas. / Bagas and Dimas are studying Javanese in the classroom.

Tembung Pangarep (Preposition) such as sing (that), saka (from), menyang (to), ing (on/in), etc.
For instances
- Wingi Kastolan tuku sepeda saka kancane. / Kastolan bought a bike from his friend yesterday.  
- Siti mulih menyang Jakarta menesuk. / Siti is going to Jakarta tomorrow. 

sepeda in Javanese


Understanding types of word in Javanese will make you more capable of composing a good sentence as well as make you more confident in arranging various words into a more meaningful sentence. I suppose you can make one now right?

In the previous post I have presented how words are arranged in a sentence based on their function as subject, predicate, object, and adverb. In this post I am going to explain types of adverb in Javanese along with examples to make them clear.

1. Katrangan sebab
It is the adverb that tells why something happens. We may call it adverb of cause. For instances:
- Kasman ora Melu rapat amarga lara. / Kasman was absent in the meeting due to sickness.
- Paijo ora nyambut gawe amarga isih cilik. / Paijo doesn't go to work because he is still a child.

2. Katrangan ancas
It is the adverb that explains what is intended by something when it is carried out. We thus call this adverb of purpose.
For examples:
  • Ayu nyapu latar supaya resik. / Ayu sweeps the floor to make it clean.
  • Bumi sinau sregep supaya lulus ujian. / Bumi studies hard in order to pass the exam.


3. Katrangan kahanan
Kahanan means condition or situation. By this definition, it can be inferrred that katrangan kahanan tells the traits or adjective to complement the subject.
For instances:
  • Omahe Waluyo reged amarga ora tahu diresiki. / Waluyo's house is dirty as he never cleans it. (Reged means dirty and is an adjective to tell readers the condition of Waluyo's house.)
  • Roti sing dituku Beni kasar. / The bread Beni has bought is rough. (Kasar means rough and is used to tell us the surface of the bread.)

That is all for now. The learning is getting more and more fun, right? Drop a comment if you have any questions.
Ayahane tembung, or known as lungguhing tembung, indicates how words are arranged in a sentence based on its function. In other words, parsing a sentence based on its ayahane tembung means to distinguish which one is the jejer, the wasesa, the lesan, and the katrangan. In English, jejer equals the subject, wasesa the predicate, lesan the object, and katrangan the adverb.

Let us observe the following examples.
  1. Dimas tuku gulo esuk mau. / Dimas bought some sugar this morning.
  2. Gendon maca buku ing jero kelas. / Gendon is reading a book in the classroom.
  3. Pak Marwan ngrantos Pak Lurah wonten pendopo. / Mr. Marwan is waiting for the village head in the hall.
In the first example, the sentence is in the past as indicated by adverb of time esuk mau that means this morning. In the second sentence, it is clear that a boy named Gendon is in the classroom reading a book. Like the previous examples, the last sentence is also a complete sentence consisting of a jejer, wasesa, lesan, and katrangan.

What differs the third from the previous two is the use of krama inggil to show some respect or veneration to the people mentioned. Both Mr. Marwan who is a teacher and the village head are considered important in terms of social status so they deserve the highest degree of politeness called krama inggil.  

While esuk mau belongs to adverb of time, ing jero kelas and wonten pendopo are included in adverb of place. In addition, there are also adverb of cause (katrangan sebab), adverb of purpose (katrangan ancas), and adverb of condition (katrangan kahanan). I will discuss these adverbs later in the following post.

The structure of a sentence in Javanese normally follows the standard pattern of sentences in Indonesian as well as in English. So the syntax is quite simple and clear-cut. It commonly starts with a subject, followed by a predicate, and ends with an object where necessary. It is important to note that Javanese knows no tense like that found in English. 

Composing a sentence in Javanese is therefore relatively easy since there is no change of verbs that requires strong memory and concentration. The effort may be in amassing vocabularies in order to produce creative and authentic sentences. Let's see some examples below.

1. Aku mangan gedang. / I eat a banana.
2. Bapa sare wonten ndalem. / Daddy is sleeping in the house.
3. Saiki aku lesu. / I am hungry now.
4. Bedjo wingi tuku lengo. / Bedjo bought some oil yesterday.
5. Konco-konco arep menyang Jogja menesuk. / My friends are leaving for Jogja tomorrow.
6. Sugeng seneng nggambar. / Sugeng loves drawing.

The examples above indicate the use of common construction of Javanese sentences. As for adverb of time, it can occur before (as in sentence number 3; saiki means now) or after the subject (example number 4; wingi means yesterday. Alternatively, it can also come at the end of a sentence (example number 5; menesuk means tomorrow). 

How about adverb of place? It normally comes at the end of the sentence as seen in the second sentence: wonten ndalem (in the house). If you have any questions, drop a comment so that I can respond later.