Indonesian: Aku melihat burung


New Member
I'm aware that Indonesian doesn't have tenses, but this is a bit hard to fathom.
Let's imagine that out of nowhere, someone says to you: "Aku melihat burung". How would you interpret it?
"I see a bird", "I saw a bird" or "I'll see a bird"?
Are words like "tadi", "telah", "kemarin", "sekarang", "saat ini", "sedang", "akan", "bakal" etc. the only way to imply the time?
  • Rani_Author

    Senior Member
    Indonesia - Indonesian
    Aku melihat burung: I see a bird. Or more proper: Aku melihat seekor burung.

    I saw a bird (just morning, just afternoon, yesterday): Aku melihat burung (tadi pagi, tadi sore, kemarin).
    I'll see a bird : Aku akan/ bakal melihat burung.
    I've seen a bird: Aku telah melihat burung.
    I'm seeing a bird (now, currently): Aku sedang melihat burung (sekarang, saat ini).
    I see a bird (now, currently): Aku melihat burung (sekarang, saat ini).
    I would see a bird: Aku mungkin akan melihat burung.

    That's the way to translate English tenses to Indonesian. So, besides any tenses with the words "will", "+ing form", "have/ had", and "would", you should use adverbs of time to confirm when the occurrence exactly happens. But, for any tenses with those words, you just should combine them.

    They are like:
    I was seeing a bird when my friend came to my house: Aku sedang melihat burung ketika temanku datang ke rumahku.
    I have been seeing a bird for an hour: Aku telah sedang melihat burung selama satu jam.
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