Remembering Kusu Island

Selamat Pagi

Janet Chang asked 3 interesting questions:

In your blog, you mentioned that


          Telah: closed, completed already

          Sudah: finished, but still ongoing, will happen again, may still be doing so, or may do it again.


However, I do not really understand what you mean by ‘ongoing/may still be doing so/may do it again’.










Saya sudah makan {I have eaten (will eat again next meal time)}


Saya telah makan  {I had eaten (hence no to your offer)}









Referring to your lecture notes:


Mereka telah berenang ke Pulau Kusu. (lecture 4) à why is this ‘telah’ and not ‘sudah’? they may swim to Kusu Island again right?







Mereka telah berenang ke Pulau Kusu

[is a one-off thing [hence telah is used] as the context is from the first make-up tutorial story telling where some nus students swam to Kusu from Sentosa due to a typhoon]

{It was supposed to be a MediaCorp Blockbuster}


 How do you know when something is open-ended or closed? Is it defined by the writer?






It is defined by the context:

I remember that the context provided was when someone offer you food at a long house:


You may refuse politely: Saya sudah makan {I have tasted and will try afterwards}

You may reject:  Saya telah makan {I had tasted hence no to the offer}


Since it is defined by the context it is identifiable given the similar contextual pattern:


Saya sudah bangun {I have waken up}

Saya telah bangun {I had waken up}


*Saya sudah bangun kerana bunyi kuat {*I have waken up because of a loud noise} * = not good

Saya telah bangun kerana bunyi kuat {I had waken up because of a loud noise}



At level one, we take telah and sudah as tense words marking past occurrence.

In this sense, they are interchangeable to describe past occurrences.




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