Learning English Writing

Mari kita belajar menulis dalam Bahasa Inggris. Tapi harus mulai dari mana? Hal yang paling penting untuk belajar adalah bagaimana mengidentifikasi apakah kita sudah berhasil atau belum. Brown (2001) dalam bukunya mengusulkan ada enam kategori untuk mengevaluasi sebuah tulisan:

  1. Content. Kriteria ini mencakup kalimat utama, keterhubungan kalimat, pengembangan kerangka berdasarkan pengalaman pribadi, ilustrasi, fakta, opini, dan lainnya.
  2. Organization. Kriteria ini mencakup efektivitas pendahuluan(orientation), urutan logis dari kerangka (complication), kesimpulan(resolution), dan panjang tulisan yang memadai
  3. Discourse. Kriteria ini mencakup kalimat utama, keterhubungan paragraf, transisi, penanda discourse , penggunaan kalimat retoris, referensi, kefasihan, dan variasi.
  4. Syntax
  5. Vocabulary
  6. Mechanics. Kriteria ini mencakup ejaan, The subcategories are spelling, tanda baca, kutipan referensi, kerapihan, dan penampilan.

Sedangkan Nunan (1990) mengusulkan bahwa tulisan yang bagus harus mencakup:

  1. penguasaan dalam pembentukan huruf
  2. penguasaan dan kepatuhan pada aturan ejaan dan tanda baca
  3. penggunaan sistem grammar untuk menyampaikan maksud yang diinginkan
  4. mengatur isi tulisan dalam paragraf dan teks yang merefleksikan informasi baru dan struktur topik
  5. perbaikan atau revisi tulisan awal
  6. memilih gaya yang disesuaikan dengan pembaca yang diharapkan

Oleh karena itu, saya mengelompokan tiga kelompok kriteria utama sebagai acuan untuk belajar menulis dalam Bahasa Inggris:

  1. Grammar. Grammar sendiri memiliki banyak topik. Saya memilih tiga topik utama terlebih dahulu, yaitu: subject-verb agreement, sentence structure, dan compound & complex sentence
  2. Organization. Kriteria ini dibatasi dalam lingkup Narrative Text yang mencakup efektivitas pendahuluan, urutan kronologis dalam kalimat, konflik klimaks yang sesuai, dan akhir resolusinya
  3. Coherence. Kriteria ini mencakup kalimat topik yang jelas, hubungan antar paragraf, dan konsistensi fokus pembahasan.

Personal space

Dalam kehidupan sehari-hari, kita mengenal adanya istilah lingkaran teman/orang terdekat. Lingkaran ini menunjukan kedekatan kita pada orang lain. Istilah Lingkaran Utama atau Lingkaran Dalam atau Lingkaran Pertama diisi oleh orang-orang terdekat kita, seperti keluarga, sahabat, suami/istri atau kekasih. Lingkaran ini berevolusi seiring waktu sesuai dengan perkembangan kita. Lingkaran ini bisa mengecil karena makin sedikit orang terdekat kita atau malah lebih besar karena lebih banyak orang di lingkaran tersebut. Evolusi ini sangat pada dasarnya tergantung dari pola kedekatan kita dengan orang lain.

Lingkaran ini menunjukan tingkat intimasi kita pada orang lain yang bisa dilihat dari personal space diantara kita dan orang lain. Personal space ini bisa dilihat dari kondisi/posisi kita ketika di area umum/publik. Personal space ini berbentuk oval seperti telur dimana jarak yang bisa toleransi untuk seseorang dari depan yang berbicara dengan kita lebih kecil daripada dari belakang. Rata-rata jaraknya antara 60-150cm. Ada pula istilah intimate space yang bervariasi dengan jarak dari 0-60cm (sepanjang jarak yang bisa dijangkau oleh tangan).

Intimate space ini lebih cocok digunakan antara kita dengan orang lain yang berhubungan intim seperti kekasih, suami atau istri. Istilah adanya ruang tidak terlihat diantara orang ini diperkenalkan oleh Sosiologis bernama Edward T. Hall dalam buku The Hidden Dimension pada tahun 1969 dan Robert Sommers (Ketua Jurusan Psikologi di Universitas California) memperkenalkan istilah personal space pada tahun 1969 dalam buku Personal Space: The Behavioral Basis of Design. Jika disimpulkan dari 2 buku tersebut dan beberap artikel yang saya baca, terdapat 4 space yang terdefinisi, antara lain:

  1. Intimate space: <50cm
  2. Personal space: 50-120cm
  3. Social space: 120-360cm
  4. Public space: >360cm

Walaupun istilah personal space ini baru diperkenalkan di tahun 1969, kebutuhan kita terhadap personal space ini sudah mendarah daging sejak dulu kala. Contoh: ada balita yang jika diajak bermain/bicara oleh orang asing pertama kali, langsung buang muka atau nangis. Tiap orang memiliki berbagai cara untuk menjaga personal space-nya. Orang bisa membaca koran dan memegang koran tersebut agak jauh ke depan, menempatkan buku-buku yang dibaca di meja perpustakaan, menyilangkan tangan di depan dada, dan sebagainya.

Terlepas informasi yang sudah dijelaskan di atas, ada juga anomali yang saya temukan di kekasih saya. Kita baru berhubungan dekat selama 2 bulan. Kata-kata yang biasa digunakan oleh saya dan kekasih saya (Tika) adalah aku belum bisa melepaskanmu. Ini menunjukan dia sudah merasa nyaman dekat dengan saya. Tetapi intimate/personal space Tika sendiri tetap besar terlepas dia sudah dekat dengan saya. Jika saya memposisikan kepala saya terlalu dekat dengan dia, dia akan bergerak menjauh untuk tetap menjaga jarak.

Dia bilang bahwa kondisi ini tidak hanya dia lakukan ke saya tetapi juga ke beberapa sahabat terdekatnya. Dia akan tetap menjaga jarak ketika berbicara. Hal ini membuat saya bingung. Dari referensi yang saya dapat, ada beberapa faktor yang mempengaruhi jarak personal space sesorang, antara lain:

  1. Didikan orang tua: introvert atau extrovert
  2. Lingkungan: lingkungan kota yang memaksa personal space yang lebih kecil dibanding di desa
  3. Budaya: perbedaan budaya suku/negara menyebabkan perbedaan sikap dan pola pikir soal personal space
  4. Trauma: kejadian menyakitkan yang berhubungan dengan orang dekat di masa lalu
  5. Penyakit: kerusakan pada amygdala dalam otak yang bertugas untuk mengatur ketakutan dan memproses emosi yang berhubungan dengan kedekatan dengan seseorang

Apa yang harus saya lakukan untuk bisa lebih baik lagi berhubungan dengannya?

Saturday night

being in a dilemma could be very troublesome. both options seem to compete with equal forces and you can’t really decide what to do.

Before Sunset [old movie]

I like this movie very much and would like to share it with you guys…enjoy. check out this movie in imdb and wiki

Before Sunset is a sequel of the first movie “Before Sunrise”. I would try to analyse dialogues between the two main actors who just meet again after a long time not seeing or contacting each other. The movie only consists of the dialogue between them. The first movie is about a US writer, Jesse, and French environmental activist, Celine, who have acquainted nine years ago on the train from Budapest to Vienna. They had a romantic interest for a one night stand. They promised to meet again six months from that day but it didn’t happen.

Now in the sequel, they meet again when Jesse arrives in Paris for his book tour. So, they stroll around Paris and talk about their lives including experiences, views on things, love, and work. In the movie, Celine tell Jesse that she was studying in America for 2 years and ever since working as an activist while Jesse in the mean time was writing a best-seller-material book about their romantic evening in Vienna. They start to talk by saying how exciting the moment is because they could meet again. Celine knew that Jesse would come to Paris because she saw the announcement of his arrival in the local bookstore. She also concerned about the reason the meeting that they planned didn’t happen. He joked about it and said to her not to worry because it’s not only her who is sorry but so is he.

Then, they talk about his book, about French love. She comments on about the characters and plot in the story, the continuation of the story, and also how great it is to write a best-seller book. He responds by saying thank you and asks back what she is doing now. She explains about her work in organization dealing with environment protection and her concerns with problems around the world. He replies by joking around and it makes her sensible. But then, he also shows his concern that he is also aware the seriousness of the problems. Afterward, they share their stories about what they’ve been doing in nine years. The dialogues continue with the similar pattern that is when one person is talking then the other would reply it with jokes while showing interest with the topic. The topics are very rich ranging from their education, life and love in Paris and New York, stories about Buddhist temple, their exes, their views to the world, their dreams, his trip around Europe, his marriage, their night in Vienna long ago, their childhood, their problems in life, and their development in nine years . They also talk about sex and religion.

Then the conversation is getting serious after a while when they talked about their condition and relationship. At first, Celine pretended that she doesn’t have any more feeling toward him. She even pretended that she forgot that they had sex nine years ago in Vienna. She even said that women do that sometime (stereotype). Then, asked directly, she confesses that she still has feeling for him and misses him all this time. She never had any more romantic relationship like the one that she had with Jesse. The interesting thing is that he also has similar feeling. Although he is now married, he still likes her all this time. He confesses that writing the book is one of the ways that he could think of to find her. He is not happy with his marriage although his life seems perfect.

After watching the movie, I can conclude that the situation between the two main characters is semiformal. Although they haven’t met for nine years, they don’t show formality in their conversations based on the vocabulary used. They can get along quickly because that they were once close in a relationship before and they are in the same age but they still their maturity by talking many interesting topics. They started to the conversation with small talk like saying how exciting they are to meet again, asking about their recent activities and their likes and dislikes. They praise each other accomplishments, reply appropriately, sometimes with jokes, and interrupt if necessary. They could initiate conversation with one topic and maintain it with unrelated topic but they still respect it and give feedback. When one is saying something, the other would agree or disagree with one’s opinion, even criticise it. It’s a “Ping-Pong” conversation style. They show respect for each other culture but Celine praise some characteristic that American culture that French doesn’t have that she misses after going back from US. At the beginning it’s a hesitant conversation because they just meet after nine years not seeing each other. But after doing the small talk, they start to ask more direct questions. It becomes a heated conversation while talking about their true feelings to each other.

It’s a interesting time

Today’s been a very interesting day for me from dawn till dusk. Today, my mother hasn’t return from Jakarta. So, I don’t have early breakfast. So, I got up at 6.30am and did my things preparing to go to campus and office. I drop by to my office at 8am and finished some of the work that I left behind on last Saturday.
I left from my office at 8.45am and go to campus to attend the class of “Discourse Analysis”. It’s was an interesting class. We had a long debate about affectionate teacher and teaching process model. Mr. Ferry was a very funny guy and he could explain difficult materials into more simpler and more understandable ones. Then the next class was English for Teaching Young Learner. It’s one of my favourite class. We watched the documented session of us teaching in elementary school in movie. After seeing and discussing the movie, the teacher commented about us. She said that she is proud with us to able not just teaching effectively in the classroom but also analysing the process.
Afterward, I went to my professor’s (Mr. Gede Raka) house in Dago. He asked me to find two English-speaking person that could help his daughter, named Dewi, project. It’s about global alliance. She needed two persons to summarize news article about it. So, we talked about how it’s done. it’s only until 2.30pm. Then, I went to my office again to meet with my Boss and a marketing team from Jayagiri Outbound Training Agency. They want to discuss about travel plan for the finance division in my office. It worked out well and my Boss was interested to see the plan happened.
I couldn’t be more happy. Not only I will go in the trip but I will also get the fee for getting a customer for Jayagiri. It’s nice and in the same exhausting. But, I like it.

My Red Thunder

After a long wait, I finally got a hand of my motorcycle. It’s Suzuki Thunder ’07. It’s coloured with red and black paint. Red Thunder The minute I saw that motorcycle, I like it very much. I said to myself, “I won’t sell this thing to other person no matter what”. Since it’s still new, I have to make sure the adaptation will go smoothly. The mechanic said that I shouldn’t put too much strain, I’ve to go below 60 km/h for the next 500km or so. Then, I could increase the speed until 80km/h for the 1500km. After that, I could go as fast as i can. The maximum speed is about 100-110 km/h. I plan to make some modifications but I’ll save until next year. I want to make it taller by changing the tires. Any suggestions?

Damn coffee

I said to my friends that I will accompany them to go Dutch Consulate. They wanted to ask about how’s life in Netherland. They got scholarship to study there. Unfortunately, when we arrived in the office, it’s already closed. The office boy told us that we could come back tomorrow between 8am-2pm. One of my friends ask me to accompany them to a coffee cafe in a shopping mall near campus. I didn’t know where it is. So, we went there. Well, I’d like to know it myself because I don’t go around much. On our way there, I just realized that I’ve left my wallet at home. Although it’s not a problem, I felt bad asking one of them to lend me some money.
We got to the cafe. It’s a cozy place. The atmosphere is nice and all. So, we ordered a cup of coffee each. I asked for an espresso. The waiter asked, “Single or Double”. I said “Single”. When the waiter came back my coffee, I was very surprised to know that it’s a very tiny cup of espresso. It’s even smaller than I’ve at home. While my friends were pleased with their orders, I felt really disappointed. It’s a very tiny cup that cost me Rp. 7.500. The money that I borrow from my friends.
I hope I will have better experience when visiting another coffee cafe.