Psycholinguistics – Midterm TBI A & B 2016

Dear Students of Psycholinguistics Class,

We have discussed about Mechanisms of Language Acquisition and How Children Construct Grammars, started from our discussion with Stages in Language Acquisition, The Perception and Production of Speech Sounds, First Words, and The Development of Grammar.

Our midterm examination today will get into the following questions:

  1. What can you describe about how a child adjust his/her language ability into the environment if we view it through the ideas on stages of language acquisition?
  2. When you have grown up as you are today, can you please briefly inform what can you remember about your first words? You can get the information from your mother, father, or siblings for this question.

Type your answers not less than 20 sentences for each question. Please support your answer with relevant examples and narration. Also, you need to recheck your grammar before posting it.


Please answer the questions above by posting your comments on the available section on this post. The deadline for this examination is on Friday, April 29, 2016, 07.00 am. Late submission of comments will still be allowed, but that will reduce your score. Therefore, please do it ontime. The printed form of this examination should be collected through the Class Coordinator on Monday, May 2, 2016.

For our 10th meeting, please read  and give your opinions on “The Development of Grammar for the Acquisition of Phonology” section on the book we used for our class. We will collect it on Saturday, May 7, 2016.

Good Luck!

Same-Sex Marriage Approval in the States (2015): A Fact that the Truth of Al-Qur’an becomes undeniable

I had recently received lots of Facebook notifications from a few of my friends living in the United States informing me that the law of same-sex marriage had been approved nationwide in that country. For some reason, I know pretty well that life in the States is openly liberal and every individual is given the right to choose in the way he or she wants to live. However, at this point, I begin to ponder with myself that what is happening in the States, exactly in June 2015, is a social fact that makes the truth of Al-Qur’an become undeniable. In the holy book of Islamic believers, the case of the same-sex relationship had been discussed in eleven surahs consisting of more than ten ayahs in the surahs.

What are they?

  1. al-An’am [6] 86;
  2. al-A’raf [7] 80-84;
  3. Hud [11] 77-83;
  4. al-Hijr [15] 57-77;
  5. al-Anbiya’ [21] 74-75;
  6. asy-Syu’ara [26] 160-175;
  7. an-Naml [27] 54-58;
  8. al-‘Ankabut [29] 26;
  9. as-Saffat [37] 133-138;
  10. az-Zariyat [51] 31-37; and
  11. al-Qamar [54] 33-39.

Let us look one of the surahs above, asy-Syu’ara [26] 160-175

The following verses had been translated from

In English:

The people of Lot denied the messengers (160) When their brother Lot said to them, “Will you not fear Allah ? (161) Indeed, I am to you a trustworthy messenger. (162) So fear Allah and obey me. (163) And I do not ask you for it any payment. My payment is only from the Lord of the worlds. (164) Do you approach males among the worlds (165) And leave what your Lord has created for you as mates? But you are a people transgressing.” (166) They said, “If you do not desist, O Lot, you will surely be of those evicted.” (167) He said, “Indeed, I am, toward your deed, of those who detest [it]. (168) My Lord, save me and my family from [the consequence of] what they do.” (169) So We saved him and his family, all, (170) Except an old woman among those who remained behind. (171) Then We destroyed the others. (172) And We rained upon them a rain [of stones], and evil was the rain of those who were warned. (173) Indeed in that is a sign, but most of them were not to be believers. (174) And indeed, your Lord – He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful. (175)

In French:

Le peuple de Lot traita de menteurs les Messagers, (160) quand leur frère Lot leur dit : “Ne craindrez-vous pas [Allah] ?  (162) Je suis pour vous un messager digne de confiance. (162) Craignez Allah donc et obéissez-moi. (163) Je ne vous demande pas de salaire pour cela; mon salaire n’incombe qu’au Seigneur de l’univers. (164) Accomplissez-vous l’acte charnel avec les mâles de ce monde ? (165) Et délaissez-vous les épouses que votre Seigneur a créées pour vous ? Mais vous n’êtes que des gens transgresseurs”. (166) Ils dirent : “Si tu ne cesses pas, Lot, tu seras certainement du nombre des expulsés”. (167) Il dit : “Je déteste vraiment ce que vous faites. (168) Seigneur, sauve-moi ainsi que ma famille de ce qu’ils font”. X (169) Nous le sauvâmes alors, lui et toute sa famille, (170) sauf une vieille qui fut parmi les exterminés. (171) Puis Nous détruisîmes les autres; (172) et Nous fîmes pleuvoir sur eux une pluie (de pierres). Et quelle pluie fatale pour ceux qui sont avertis ! (173) Voilà bien là un prodige. Cependant, la plupart d’entre eux ne croient pas. (174) Et ton Seigneur, c’est en vérité Lui le Tout Puissant, le Très Miséricordieux. (175)

In Japanese:

ルートの民も使徒たちを嘘付きであるとした。 (160) 同胞ルートが,かれらに,「あなたがたは主を畏れないのですか。」と言った時を思い起しなさい。 (161) 「本当にわたしは,あなたがたへの誠実な使徒です。 (162) だからアッラーを畏れ,わたしに従いなさい。 (163) わたしはあなたがたにこのことで報酬を求めません。わたしへの報酬は,誰々万有の主から(いただく)だけです。 (164) あなたがたは創造された者の中男だけに近付き, (165) 主があなたがたのために創られた配偶者を顧みないのですか。いや,あなたがたは罪を犯す者です。」 (166) かれらは(答えて)言った。「いい加減止めないなら,ルートよ,あなたは必ず追放されるでしょう。」 (167) かれ(ルートは)言った。「わたしは,本当にあなたがたの行いを忌み嫌っています。 (168) 主よ,わたしとわたしの家族を,かれらの所業から御救い下さい。」 (169) それでわれは,かれとかれの家族を凡て救った。 (170) 後に残った,老女(ルートの妻)は別であったが。 (171) それから,われは外の者を滅ぼした。 (172) われは,(石の)雨をかれらの上に降らせた。警告されていた者たちには,災厄の雨であった。 (173) 本当にこの中には,一つの印がある。だがかれらの多くは信じない。 (174) 本当にあなたの主は偉力ならびなき慈悲深き御方であられる。 (175)

In Chinese:

魯特的宗族,曾否認使者。(160) 當日,他們的弟兄魯特曾對他們說:「你們怎麼不敬畏呢? (161) 我對於你們確是一個忠實的使者。(162) 故你們應當敬畏真主,應當服從我。(163) 我不為傳達使命而向你們索取任何報酬;我的報酬,只歸全世界的主負擔。(164) 你們怎麼要與眾人中的男性交接,(165) 而捨棄你們的主所為你們創造的妻子呢?其實,你們是犯罪的民眾。」(166) 他們說:「魯特啊!如果你不停止,你必遭放逐。」 (167) 他說:「我的確痛恨你們的行為。(168) 我的主啊!求你拯救我和我的家屬,使我們脫離他們的行為。」(169) 我就拯救了他和他的全家。(170) 只有一個老婦人除外,她屬於留下的人。(171) 然後,我毀滅了其餘的人。(172) 我降雨去傷他們,被警告者所遭的雨災,真惡劣!(173) 在此中確有一個蹟象,但他們大半不是信道的。(174) 你的主確是萬能的,確是至慈的。(175) 

In Korean:

롯의 백성도 선지자들을 부 정했으니 (160) 그들의 형제 롯이 그들에게 말했더라 너희는 하나님이 두렵지 않느뇨  (161) 나는 너희를 위한 믿음의 선지자라  (162) 하나님을 두려워 하고 나에 게 순종하라 (163) 그로 인하여 내가 보상을 요구하지 않나니 실로 나의 보상 은 만유의 주님으로부터 있노라 (164) 너희는 우주의 모든 피조물 가운데서 남성에게만 접근하려 하 느뇨 (165) 하나님께서 너희를 위해 창 조하신 너희 배우자들을 버려 두 려 하느뇨 실로 너희는 한계를 넘 어선 백성들이라 (166) 그들이 대답하길 롯이여 네 가 단념하지 않는다면 너는 추방 당하는자 중에 있게 되리라 (167) 그가 대답하되 실로 나는 너희의 행위를 중오하노라 (168) 주여 저와 저의 가족을 그 들이 행하는 것으로부터 구하여 주소서 (169) 그리하여 하나님은 그와 그의 가족 모두를 구원하고 (170) 뒤에 남아있던 늙은 한 여 인과 (171) 다른 자들을 멸망케 했노라 (172) 그들 외에 돌 우박을 퍼부 었으니 이 돌 우박은 경고를 거역 한 백성에게 내려진 것이라 (173) 실로 이 안에는 하나의 예 증이 있으나 그들 대다수는 믿지 아니 하였더라 (174) 실로 그대의 주님은 권능과자비로 충만하노라 (175)

In Russian:

Народ Лута (Лота) счел лжецами посланников. (160) Вот их брат Лут (Лот) сказал им: “Неужели вы не устрашитесь?  (161) Я являюсь посланником к вам, достойным доверия. (162) Бойтесь же Аллаха и повинуйтесь мне. (163) Я не прошу у вас за это вознаграждения, ибо вознаградит меня только Господь миров. (164) Неужели вы будете возлежать с мужчинами из миров (165) и оставлять ваших жен, которых ваш Господь создал для вас? О нет! Вы являетесь преступным народом”. (166) Они сказали: “О Лут (Лот), если ты не прекратишь, то окажешься одним из тех, кто был изгнан”. (167) Он сказал: “Я – один из тех, кому ненавистно ваше деяние. (168) Господи! Спаси меня и мою семью от того, что они совершают”. (169) Мы спасли его и его семью – всех, (170) кроме старухи, которая оказалась среди оставшихся позади. (171) Затем Мы уничтожили остальных (172) и пролили на них дождь. Как же пагубен дождь тех, кого предостерегали! (173) Воистину, в этом – знамение, но большинство их не стали верующими. (174) Воистину, твой Господь – Могущественный, Милосердный. (175)

In Indonesian language:

Kaum Luth telah mendustakan rasul-rasul,(160) ketika saudara mereka, Luth, berkata kepada mereka: mengapa kamu tidak bertakwa?”(161) Sesungguhnya aku adalah seorang rasul kepercayaan (yang diutus) kepadamu,(162) maka bertakwalah kepada Allah dan taatlah kepadaku.(163) Dan aku sekali-kali tidak minta upah kepadamu atas ajakan itu; upahku tidak lain hanyalah dari Tuhan semeta alam.(164) Mengapa kamu mendatangi jenis lelaki di antara manusia,(165) dan kamu tinggalkan isteri-isteri yang dijadikan oleh Tuhanmu untukmu, bahkan kamu adalah orang-orang yang melampaui batas”.(166) Mereka menjawab: “Hai Luth, sesungguhnya jika kamu tidak berhenti, benar-benar kamu termasuk orang-orang yang diusir”(167) Luth berkata: “Sesungguhnya aku sangat benci kepada perbuatanmu”.(168) (Luth berdoa): “Ya Tuhanku selamatkanlah aku beserta keluargaku dari (akibat) perbuatan yang mereka kerjakan”.(169) Lalu Kami selamatkan ia beserta keluarganya semua,(170) kecuali seorang perempuan tua (isterinya), yang termasuk dalam golongan yang tinggal.(171) Kemudian Kami binasakan yang lain.(172) Dan Kami hujani mereka dengan hujan (batu) maka amat jeleklah hujan yang menimpa orang-orang yang telah diberi peringatan itu.(173) Sesunguhnya pada yang demikian itu benar-benar terdapat bukti-bukti yang nyata. Dan adalah kebanyakan mereka tidak beriman.(174) Dan sesungguhnya Tuhanmu, benar-benar Dialah Yang Maha Perkasa lagi Maha Penyayang.(175)

What I see from what is happening in the United States, especially dealing with same-sex marriages, is that yes, the United States is a liberal country and it is basically ruled by its people, the forceful democratic on its people. President is only an icon and behind his appearance in public, he is controlled by parties that dwell on the case of American genocide and the defeat of the US from the inside its main power and social control over-rules and ideologies. We can see it clearly from the perspectives of sociology and psychology. In spite of the fact that most American thinkers contribute a great deal to world innovation, but at the personal levels, most of the corrupted ones, abusing themselves by drinking too many alcoholic liquids and promiscuous lifestyle, are far from being worth exemplary. The chaotic images of slavery in the States, the civil rights movements, the issues of white and black skin, the redhead problem, the rapist cultures, the homophobic propaganda, the fear of false targeted-terrorism definition, the radical feminism, the strengthening process of the patriarchal family system, the marginalizing of women’s rights in terms of the needs to build strong household economically, and many others of social turbulence, have led me to see that at some parts and even some reasons I see that the United States is going backward. If this country is seen as the center of civilization, then what will happen next is that all people will be Americanized inside their minds, or simply said the mind control. Is it really true? (You know, conspiracy theory). You decide.

Psychologically speaking, being a gay or a lesbian, or even a transgender is an option from other options available in society. A society that supports individual freedom to an extreme will create nothing but egoist cultures. What will happen is, “This is my life, and I don’t care about yours.” Most people will be looking at social care and national views of stability as something that does not seem to be interesting. Individual rights are the right thing; and the pride of a certain group is winning over other groups, simply because of majority and minority issues. As the result, yes, as we can see today, the poor country will always be poor and the rich one will always be rich. Most countries are forced to follow the American standards of ways of living, while in fact, when we put such standards in the international views, we can see and notice that such standards are limited on the aspect of their usefulness in different contexts. As long as we still see poor people on earth, struggling to find food and shelter for themselves, American standards only apply to limited places, and as such, can we still be able to say that American is the center of the world? Not being anti-America, but to some extent from the rhetoric of what happens in the mainstream mass media and in the newspapers of international eyes, yes, the US is a superpower country with a forceful act.

Finally, when I looked at the Qur’an, especially the chapters above, then the book is written millions of years ago reveal the truth of what is going on and what will happen. It is so undeniable. The Islamic messenger, Lot, or in Arabic called Luth, has given directions to His ummah to avoid homosexual activities. What happened is that none listened to him. In the end, the metaphor of stone in that verse means that those people who do their lust on the same-sex partner will gain nothing but only sexual pleasures that are basically reached only in 30 minutes, the longest, and repeatedly. The warning had been said and the signs had been put in context, so it is now our turn to see which one is right. The old woman, the wife of Lot, indicates the wife who supports such action. She will also be stoned and put in the hell-fire because as a mother, she fails to lead herself to obey what the Lord had instructed her to do.

Years ahead, genocide will take place. Men will be old for superficial purposes. Sexual organs will no longer function well as it should be. The US will depend on the immigrants because of the low rate of children born in the States, except, of course from the immigrants who run for the American dreams. Inside the country, many people will be like zombies. Unfortunately, as we noticed, even most Americans are atheists and they do not believe in their Bible. Again, about this thing, you can find it as well in the Qur’an.

In the Indonesian language, we have a saying, “Karena nila setitik, rusak susu sebelanga” (meaning, because of one dot of poison, a bowl of milk is full of toxic). Guess, what it means. I am just saying’, as most Americans say. Many women will have limited stock of husbands, and vice versa. Where will they go? Overseas. What will happen? Immigrants and children adoption. Well, America, the picture of a good American family from now has been broken, and can we say that it never existed in there? Why? As long as we have options, then, no option will be right. You decide.

To all Muslims in the world, Have Ramadhan Kareem 1436 H/ 2015 M.

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

Blog Achievement “The Silent Corner” – Syayid Sandi Sukandi for 2013

Yeah! Finally, I can see that my blog is growing. It has reached significant achievement in 2013.

106,676 hits. In 2013, this blog had been visited for 49,000 times! Woohoo!

The total number of people who follow this blog is average. However, they are people who appreciate my blog. Thank you very much, readers! You can see the report of this blog from this link: The Silent Corner.

Apparently, I will write more. Soon. This time, I am very busy working as a lecturer. What a crazy working lifestyle here in Padang. Work hard, play limited, rest is upon request. God knows.


Now, this blog had been changed. The name is no longer The Silent Corner, but it becomes Sparkling Silent Silhouette. This change is effective in March 2019.

Specific Ways of “Reading” for Specific Cultural Texts

Reading Culturally = Intellect + Intuition
(Syayid Sandi Sukandi) A Fulbright Scholar

The following writing is shared in this blog for the purpose of sharing and for educational purposes only. Your comments and feedback are highly valued. Thank you.

Syayid Sandi Sukandi
Dr. Joel Hardman
September 13, 2012 – Week 4
ENG 544 – Reading and Writing Pedagogy in TESL

Specific Ways of Reading for Specific Cultural Texts

Reading the two articles, written by Grabe, Birsch and Eskey, brings my mind back to the times when I taught the course entitled Cross Cultural Understanding in College of Teacher Training and Education in Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia. This course equips students in the college to learn how to engage with cultural concepts that are not similarly connected with their cultural background. What I could reflect after reading Grabe, Birsch, and Eskey is that there are specific ways that we should inform to the students regarding the activity of understanding texts containing cultural elements in them, even though the students might already have understood the linguistic elements of the texts.

The ESL students whose background primarily Indonesian cultures tend to view Western texts through the mindset that they already have. One of the meetings that my students and I had in the class was discussing about the concept of the melting pot and fish out of water of American’s life. These two phrases contain cultural elements. When the students read additional sources to understand those phrases, they had to read texts that explain what and how the United States of America is. Since students who are taking this course are students enrolling in the last year of their studies, they are expected to have good amount of skills to engage with Western texts, such as their grammar skill and their background knowledge. As Grabe points out, “Some of the strategies that are important for comprehension involve grammatical knowledge while others focus on processing skills and background knowledge” (51). Reading comprehension in L2 (Second Language) might not be necessarily assessed through how many cultural words, or content words they may know, but how they could get the overall meaning of the texts that they read culturally.

To be honest, though, Eskey’s article resonates with all dimension of understanding that I had since I was working as an English lecturer. He mentions that, “As human beings, we have what could fairly be called a biological instinct to learn to speak, but we must be taught to read in some particular culture that employs written language for some particular purposes” (7). This statement, to me, does make sense. A basic cultural text that we discussed, for instance, is the idea of technology. The value of technology in Indonesia might not be that similar with that in the United States. Technology is a tool for making life easier in terms of daily basis. For the society that already engage with “technology”, this word might mean something else. Another text that we discussed was about religion and faith. The idea of religion and faith in the Western society are not that strong compared to those in Indonesia I perceive. When I took current news dealing with religion and faith from the Western media, the definition of these words become different from what my students have understood in Indonesia. As a teacher, I gave them specific explanation that the discourse of such texts may not be correlated what they already know, but to some extents, they should be able to differentiate things that they should comprehend with the things that they could take as new definitions. Many specific words also are interpreted as political words, when they are being used in specific contexts. This notion draws my mind to see that specific ways of reading are for specific cultural texts. These modes help the students more in understanding different texts throughout their lives.

Misunderstanding in this expanded worldly communication can happen because of the lack of reading skills worldwide. Even when critical thinking comes to play, many students are not ready to face texts that are written outside their common circle, or to put it simply, their personal background. When they are asked to understand such texts, they resist. They also mention that the texts were wrong or the author has been misled in his or her mind. When this situation emerged in the classroom, I emphasize to my students that the frame of mind that we already have could be implemented to think critically for they read. However, to come into a better conclusion about particular ideas, they must read many texts with different topics so that they do not have narrow view toward many specific topics. “Poor readers avoid reading and lack of reading practice means they do not improve” (Birsch 9). Birsch’s idea is clear at this point. Our life improves when we could adjust ourselves with new things, especially when it deals with our students. Their ways of life are different from us. We might be used to typing with typing machine. Now, they have all these equipment. Our task is to lead them to better and meaningful ways of life. One of them is to help them “read texts” in different ways in order to get meaningful “image”, right?

Works Cited

Birsch, B. English L2 Reading. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 2002. Print.
Eskey, D. “Reading and the Teaching of L2 Reading.” TESOL Journal, 11, 1. 2002. Print.
Grabe, W. “Research on Teaching Research.” Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 24, 2004. Print.

“Menulis itu, apa sekedar Menulis saja?”

Pengetahuan lebih baik daripada banyak harta. Meskipun banyak harta, tanpa pendidikan, harta tersebut tetap akan habis. – Syayid 2012

Saya mendapat suatu kehormatan diwawancara oleh dua penyiar baik hati dari Radio IMSA. IMSA adalah singkatan dari Indonesian Muslim Society in America. Salah satu penyiar yang mewawancari saya adalah Maya Wulandari. Beberapa hari setelah diinterview, saya punya ide untuk berbagi sedikit nuansa mengenai Ilmu Komposisi yang sangat erat kaitannya dengan dunia tulis menulis. Oleh sebab itu, tulisan kali ini bertema “Tulisan”. Isi tulisan ini akan berkaitan dengan Tulis Menulis, Ditulis, dan Menuliskan. Pola penulisan ide pada tulisan ini pada dasarnya sederhana, namun difokuskan kepada aspek kebahasaan (linguistik) dan kreatifitas berbahasa (sastra dan budaya). Perlu diingat, tulisan ini tidak bersifat teoretis. Kalau untuk teori, sudah banyak tersedia di berbagai pustaka. Tulisan ini berfokus pada sisi lain dari menulis.

T: Menurutmu, menulis itu apa?

J: Bagi saya, menulis itu kemampuan tertinggi yang dimiliki manusia untuk bisa berkomunikasi sesama manusia melebihi dimensi waktu dan peradaban.

T: Sederhananya?

J: Begini, ketika kita menulis, kita merangkai kata berdasarkan apa yang kita pikirkan pada saat kita menulis. Apabila tulisan kita dibaca oleh orang lain pada dimensi waktu yang sama, nuansa makna yang ada mungkin tidak terlalu dipermasalahkan. Ketika sebuah tulisan bisa tetap eksis hingga ratusan tahun setelah tulisan tersebut disebarluaskan, maka tulisan tersebut bisa dinilai berkualitas. Karena kualitas inilah, maka manusia yang hidup diberbagai zaman bisa saling berkomunikasi. Perbedannya hanya pada bahasa itu sendiri, sebab bahasa dinamis, tidak stagnan, begitu-begitu saja.

T: Tadi Anda berkata tentang kualitas tulisan, menurut Anda, tulisan yang berkualitas itu seperti apa?

J: Berkualitas atau tidaknya sebuah tulisan itu sifatnya relatif. Bisa jadi tulisan seorang penulis bernilai luar biasa bagi pembaca yang kebetulan satu ide dan alam pikirannya sejalan dengan si penulis. Demikian pula dengan hal-hal teknis seperti pemilihan kosakata, tata bahasa, susunan ide, dan gelombang afektif. Tulisan yang berkualitas tidak melulu dan tidak mutlak seperti tulisan yang penuh dengan kata-kata asing dan terdengar aneh. Tulisan berkualitas menggunakan bahasa yang mengalir, tidak ada hambatan, dan si pembaca merasa diajak berdiskusi dengan si penulis. Seringkali, beberapa teks ada yang sifatnya menggurui dan terkesan bahwa si penulis mau unjuk rasa atau bahkan memaksakan suatu ideologi tertentu kepada pembaca. Nah, pada dimensi ini, pembaca yang kritis tidak menerima begitu saja pesan yang disampaikan oleh si penulis. Berkualitas atau tidaknya sebuah tulisan, bergantung kepada si pembaca. Penulis yang handal sudah pasti pembaca yang kritis. Namun, pembaca yang kritis belum tentu menjadi penulis yang handal. Jadi, pilihan jatuh kepada si pembaca. Meskipun demikian, hal mendasar seperti hal-hal teknis berupa kosakata dan tata bahasa yang saya sebutkan di atas juga bisa mempengaruhi kualitas sebuah tulisan. Buruknya penulisan ejaan juga mempengaruhi kualitas sebuah tulisan.

T: Apa Anda seorang penulis?

J: Saya belum bisa mengatakan saya seorang penulis. Sebab, kata “penulis” saat ini memiliki banyak arti. Namun, yang jelas, karena saya senang menulis dan mengasah nalar, maka saya bisa mengatakan bahwa saya memang seorang penulis. Bagi masyarakat umum, penulis identik dengan karya tulisan yang sudah dipublikasikan. Saya malah cenderung untuk tidak mempublikasikan karya saya. Sebab, membuat sebuah tulisan layak terbit, butuh penilaian dari aspek bisnis dan profit serta popularitas. Hal inilah yang membuat saya urung niat untuk publikasi. Tapi, jika nanti memang ada kesempatan dan ada penerbit yang meminta karya novel saya, kenapa tidak? Meski niat utama bukan materi, profit, atau popularitas. Menulis sejatinya demi kepentingan jiwa saya yang suka berfikir acak.

T: Anda saat ini di Amerika, apa yang Anda pelajari?

J: Saya belajar Pengajaran Menulis (Retorika dan Komposisi) untuk S2 saya. Bidang utamanya adalah Bahasa dan Sastra Inggris, dengan orientasi kepada Komposisi dan Retorika. Ilmu ini adalah campuran antara ilmu linguistik, sastra – budaya, dan pendidikan karena saya juga belajar pedagogi pengajaran. Kalau di Indonesia, saya bisa masuk ke ilmu murni, bisa juga ke ilmu kependidikan. Jadi, ilmu ini sifatnya fleksibel.

T: Pada saat Anda mengajar Menulis, apa yang menjadi target utama Anda?

J: Saya mengajar bahasa dan beberapa kursus lainnya bukan karena target tertentu. Bagi saya, jika mahasiswa tersebut bisa menulis dengan bahasa yang baik dan benar serta jalinan ide yang mereka sampaikan mudah dimengerti, itu sudah bagus. Memaksakan mereka untuk bisa mencapai tingkat kepenulisan yang tinggi rasanya mustahil. Sebab, menulis butuh imajinasi dan kematangan serta dukungan. Tanpa imajinasi, tulisan bisa terasa hambar. Oleh karena itu, jika mahasiswa sudah bisa menuangkan ide dan gagasannya ke dalam sebuah tulisan yang utuh dan saling melengkapi, saya rasa sah-sah saja meluluskan mereka untuk masuk ke tingkat yang lebih tinggi.

T: Adakah kendala yang Anda alami selama mengajar Komposisi?

J: Oh, ada! Banyak sih tidak, sedikit juga tidak. Salah satu kesalahpahaman yang terjadi pada pengajaran bahasa Inggris di Indonesia adalah pembaikan grammar jatuh kepada si pengajar, meski pada dasarnya si pelajar harus tahu terlebih dahulu letak salahnya di mana. Sekali kesalahan ini diberitahu, si pelajar harus segera ingat dan pada kesempatan menulis berikutnya, kesalahan ini bisa diperbaiki dan ditingkatkan. Sebagai seorang dosen Bahasa Inggris, saya menyadari betul bahwa menulis itu sulit bagi mahasiswa, apalagi bagi mereka yang malas membaca dan malas mengasah nalar. Namun, masih ada harapan. Ada saja semangat untuk maju di dalam diri mahasiswa, itu sudah modal utama untuk bisa menulis dengan baik. Jadi, grammar itu sejalan dengan menulis, tidak bisa dipisahkan. Menguasai grammar belum menjamin seseorang bisa menulis dengan baik. Ada level syntax yang harus dipahami dan ada aspek kosakata yang dipahami. Sembarangan memilih sinomin bisa berakibat fatal, misalnya: salah interpretasi di sisi pembaca.

T: Apa pesan Anda pada mahasiswa yang sedang belajar Menulis dengan Baik?

J: Modal utama menulis adalah kejujuran pada diri sendiri. Bila Anda tidak jujur, tulisan Anda akan terkesan hambar dan tidak akan bertahan lama di kalangan pembaca. Di samping sering membaca karya tulis orang lain, sering-seringlah juga menulis ide Anda dengan gaya Anda sendiri yang unik. Jika tidak, Anda hanya akan menjadi seorang pembaca. Lebih lanjut, menulis itu butuh kesabaran. Bila tulisan Anda dianggap tidak bagus atau jelek, bukan berarti tulisan Anda tidak berkualitas ya. Yang pasti, tetap menulis dan tetap membaca. Yuk, mari kita jadikan generasi penerus sebagai generasi pembaca dan penulis. Apa yang kita tulis akan menjadi ilmu dan pengetahuan baru bagi generasi seterusnya.

—— (Kalau Anda ada pertanyaan, silahkan isi kolom komentar di bawah, saya akan mencoba menjawabnya sesegera mungkin).

Edwardsville, Illinois, the United States 2012

To all my brothers and sisters in Muslim Students Association of SIUe, thank you very much for all of the lovely ifthar and, of course, Eid Mubarak 2012! – Syayid Sandi Sukandi