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Sunday April 30th 2017

‘Acan’ and ‘Teu Acan’

Language | Saturday 19 December 2009 | sundanesecorner.org

Learners of Sundanese are often confused about the word acan [ã chan] and teu acan [teu ã chan]. The confusion is caused by the word teu, which is the abbreviation of henteu [hen teu], and means ‘not; no’. They think that teu acan is a negation of acan, whereas in fact these two words have exactly the same meaning: ‘not yet’. So one can express, ‘Riungan acan/teu acan rengse’ (the meeting has not yet finished).

Drawing by Arti Mustikaning Ati

Drawing by Arti Mustikaning Ati

One can notice at least two points: firstly, acan is the abbreviation of teu acan or tacan; secondly, teu acan sounds more polite than acan.

In different context, the word acan is used with different meaning. It can be a colloquial expression which means “even/hardly”. For example, a humble Sundanese would say, “Abdi mah teu bodo-bodo acan” (literally means “I’m not even stupid”).***

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2 Responses to “‘Acan’ and ‘Teu Acan’”

  1. julian millie says:

    Thanks for this Hawe. But, isn’t acan sometimes used with a different meaning? A kind of amphatic meaning?
    Hatur nuhun pisan kanggo sagala kaseaan,
    Julian Millie

  2. hawe setiawan says:

    You’re welcome, Mate. Yes, sometimes, in different context, the word acan is used with different meaning. It can be a colloquial expression which means “even/hardly”. For example, a humble Sundanese would say, “Abdi mah teu bodo-bodo acan” (literally means “I’m not even stupid”). Many thanks for your comments, Mate. It’s encouraging.

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