In Indonesian the form of the verb does not change to indicate tense or aspect. Time can be indicated by a set of temporal markers within the predicate. These markers indicate that the action has occurred, is occurring, or is yet to occur in relation to moment of utterance or in relation to some other event referred to.
Adjuncts of Time
Time can be indicated by adjuncts of time such as:
akhir-akhir ini/baru-baru ini
tahun lalu, bulan lalu
recently, a short while ago
last year, last month
the day after tomorrow
late at night
hari ini, bulan ini, tahun ini
minggu depan/yang akan datang
in a moment
today, this month, this year
the day before yesterday
early in the day
late in the day
|Mereka berangkat tadi.
Kita harus berangkat pagi-pagi.
Pak Susanto pindah ke Surabaya tahun lalu.
Dia pergi ke kantor setiap hari
|They left a short time ago.
We have to leave early in the morning.
Mr. Susanto moved to Surabaya last year.
He goes to the office everyday.
Sudah and Telah have the same meaning. Those words usually indicate that an action has occured or that state has been achieved.
Ali sudah bangun. – Ali has woken up.
Dia telah pergi. – He has gone.
Sedang, Lagi, Tengah
Sedang indicates that an action is in progress. Lagi and Tengah can replace sedang.
Mereka sedang/lagi makan. – They are eating
Hotel itu tengah dibangun. – The hotel is in the process of being built.
Masih indictes that an action is still occurring. Like sudah, it can occur with other predicate types.
Dia masih makan – She is still eating.
Dia masih muda – She is still young.
These indicate a future event. If the point of reference is the past, akan indicates that something was going to happen(although sometimes it does not occur).
Kami akan makan. – We will eat.
Dia bakal menjadi presiden. – He will become presidet.
Dia bakal presiden. - He is the future president.
Dia berjanji akan datang. – He promised he would come.
Baru indicates that an action or state has just occurred.
Dia baru mandi. – He has just bathed.
Umurnya baru empat tahun. – She’s just four years old.
Pernah, Sudah, Telah
Pernah indicates that an action occurred in the far past. It can not be used of recent events. Sudah and Telah indicate that an action had occurred before another action.
Dia pernah belajar di Paris. – She once studied in Paris.
Sebelum meninggal dia telah menceritakan riwayat hidupnya. – Before dying he had related his life story.
Ketika saya sampai di rumahnya Tomi sudah bangun. – When I arived at his house Tom had already got up.
Ketika saya sampai di rumahnya Tomi sedang makan. – When I arived at his house Tom was eating.
Indonesian Reference Grammar by Dr. James Neil Sneddon.
For more information or articles about colloquial, colloquial Indonesian, colloquial Jakartan Indonesian by Dr. Timothy Hassall from ANU, Canberra, Australia, click here.