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Monday, 15 October 2012

The verb KENA

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Kena is a useful but difficult Indonesian verb.  Because of its complexity, it has a variety of meanings, such as to get, to catch, and to be a victim of.  However, ngena can also be an adjective.

REMEMBER: the verb 'kena' may sometimes be used interchangeably with the verb 'tangkap' (both mean 'to catch').  The picture on the right is an example of the verb 'tangkap' because this word implies that the keeper not only touches the ball but also holds the ball firmly in his hands.  If you use the verb 'kena', it simply means that the keeper is able to reach/touch the ball.

1.       To get caught/touched/poked
·         Kena!
           Got      ya!
                Said in a game where one chases the other or in a hide-and-seek game.
·         Tidak kena
Nggak    kena.
             not;         to get caught/touched/poked
            You can’t catch me  (sometimes said with a rhyme while sticking one’s tongue out)
This sentence is the shortened form “(Subject) Can’t catch (Object)” and there is no need to add Subject and/or Object, unless you want to specify them.

Pencurinya tertangkap? 
Pencurinya         kena?
The thief              got caught?  

2.       To catch/get
Kena                                gak?
(Managed to) Catch        or not?
Did you get/catch it/that person?       

Kena                                         gak,        bolanya?
(Managed to) get/catch           or not        the ball?
Did you get/catch the ball?                      

3.       (As an adjective)
Kata-katanya sangat mengena.
Kata-katanya       ngena/kena                             banget
His/her words      touch (the listener’s) heart       very much

4.       To be a victim of ; to be in physical contact with and a victim of (something)
·         Bosnya memarahi dia/ dia kena omelan bosnya.    
Dia         kena                   marah                             bosnya
            s/he       is a victim of     angry(Adj.), anger(N);        his/her boss 
His/her boss scolded at him/her.

·         Amir      kena                      air           panas
Amir      kena                       air           panas
Amir      is a victim of        water     hot
Amir burned himself with hot water

Tidak     boleh    (ter)kena      hujan
Nggak  boleh    kena             hujan
Not        may       get physical contact with           (the) rain
(Subject) May not get wet from the rain.

5.       To suffer from
                  Doyok                   menderita           tipus
Doyok                   kena                      tipus
Doyok                   suffers from       typhoid fever

6.       To touch/poke someone
Fred       mau       mencolek            Jerry
Fred       mau       ngenain               Jerry
Fred       wants    to poke                                Jerry
Look at ngena-in.  The suffix –in is used because there is an object(Jerry) following the verb.

Tapi        Jerry      tidak      kena (colek)                       Fred
Tapi       Jerry      nggak   kena (colek)                       Fred
But         Jerry      not         get poked           by           Fred
But Fred is not able to/does not poke Jerry

REMEMBER:  Indonesians almost always use the verb kena for negative connotations.  Kena, when combined with a fixed noun, becomes a phrase.  Memorize these phrases/idioms:
Kena batunya    = to get a bad karma
Kena pelet          = to get a sickness that is believed to be magically transferred by a voodoo-like    witchcraft practitioner.
Kena sial              = to get a bad luck


About the author

Hening is a laid-back ENTP (by upbringing) and a solar-Scorpio-and-lunar-Sagittarius (by birth). She believes that thrifting is an art form that helps rewire our brain circuits for the better.


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