Senin, 08 Juni 2009

Kamis, 28 Mei 2009

The Comparing of Inflectional and Derivational Morphemes (chapter 1)


A. Background of the Study
Often, morphemes are thought of as words but that is not always true. Some single morphemes are words while other words have two or more morphemes within them. Morphemes are also thought of as syllables but this is incorrect. Many words have two or more syllables but only one morpheme. Banana, apple, papaya, and nanny are just a few examples. On the other hand, many words have two morphemes and only one syllable; examples include cats, runs, and barked.
One of the main types of morphological operations, by which an affix, is added to a word. An inflectional affix adds a particular grammatical function to a word without changing the category of that word, or even leading to a different word. We may say that inflected forms are just variants of one and the same word. EXAMPLE: count nouns in English can be pluralized by adding the inflectional ending -s (dog-dogs, noun-nouns). The plural forms dogs and nouns are variants of the base nouns dog and noun. Traditionally inflection is distinguished from derivation (the second type of major morphological operation). Although it is not possible to draw a sharp border between both types of operation, there are at least two differences: (i) inflection is never category changing, while derivation typically is category changing, and (ii) inflection is usually peripheral to derivation. Some linguists (e.g. Aronoff (1976), Anderson (1982), Perlmutter (1988)) assume that inflection and derivation belong to different components of the grammar. This view is not uncontroversial though, since others (e.g. Halle (1973), Kiparsky (1982)) assume that inflection and derivation are reflexes of one and the same operation, namely affixation.
B. Research Question
1. What is Morphemes?
2. What is Inflection?
3. What is Derivation?
4. How to Compare the Inflectional Morphemes with the derivational ?


1. Morphology
Morphology or morphemic is a branch of linguistics dealing with the organization of phonemes into meaningful groups called morphs. It also concern with organization of these morphs into morphemes and the distribution of morphemes into words.
A morph is the smallest meaningful part of a language. As an example the word skillfully can be segmented into three meaningful parts of skill-ful-ly. Each part is a morph.
A morpheme is a group of morphs that are semantically the same and in complementary distribution. morpheme does not necessarily have to be a word. Example: the word, cats has two morphemes. Cat is a morpheme, and s is a morpheme. Every morpheme is either a base or an affix. An affix can be either a prefix or a suffix. Cat is the base morpheme, and s is a suffix.
English morphemes can be classified as follows.

As illustrated in the diagram bound morphemes are of three types:
a. Suffixes, affixes that comes after a base morpheme. The s in cats is a suffix.
b. Prefixes, affixes that comes before a base morpheme. The in the word inspect is a prefix.
c. Bound bases.
The suffixes are either derivational or inflectional.
· Fifteen Common Prefixes
The following tables and tip are adopted from Grammar and Compositionby Mary Beth Bauer, et al.

Prefix Meaning
ad- to, toward
circum- around, about
com- with, together
de- away from, off
dis- away, apart
ex- from, out
in- not
in- in, into
inter- between
mis- wrong
post- after
re- back, again
sub- beneath, under
trans- across
un- not

Ten Common Suffixes

Suffix Meaning
-able (-ible) capable of being
-ance (-ence) the act of
-ate making or applying
-ful full of
-ity the state of being
-less without
-ly in a certain way
-ment the result of being
-ness the state of being
-tion (-ion, -sion) the act of or the state of being

Suffixes can also be used to tell the part of speech of a word. The following examples show the parts of speech indicated by the suffixes in the chart.
Nouns: -ance, -ful, -ity, -ment, -ness, -tion
Verb: -ate
Adjectives: -able, -ful, -less, -ly
Adverb: -ly
B. Inflectional Morphemes
An inflectional morpheme does not have the capacity to change the meaning or the syntactic class of the words it is bound to, and will have a predictable meaning for all such words. Thus the present tense will mean the same thing regardless of the verb that is inflected, and the dative case will have the same value for all nouns. Semantic abstraction and relativity do not mean that there is little or simple meaning involved; inflectional categories are never merely automatic or semantically empty. The meanings of inflectional categories are certainly notoriously difficult to describe, but they exhibit all the normal behavior we expect from cognitive categories, such as grounding in embodied experience, and radial structured polysemy (cf. Janda 1993). I prefer to think of inflectional morphology as a dynamic tension between under-determination and over-determination. Each value in a paradigm is semantically under-determined, being sufficiently abstract and flexible to accommodate a wide range of words and constructions, as well as creative extensions. Collectively, the paradigm is semantically over-determined, presenting a system with expressive means beyond the bare minimum for communication, thus allowing speaker construal to play a role in the choice of values within the paradigm.
In terms of both form and meaning, inflectional morphology occupies an unusual position in language, teetering on the margins between lexicon and syntax in apparent defiance of definition. In most languages inflectional morphology marks relations such as person, number, case, gender, possession, tense, aspect, and mood, serving as an essential grammatical glue holding the relationships of constructions together. Yet in some languages inflectional morphology is minimal or may not exist at all.
From the perspective of Cognitive Linguistics, inflectional morphology presents a rich array of opportunities to apply and test core concepts, particularly those involving category structure (radial categories, prototypicality, polysemy), the grounding and organization of categories (embodiment, basic-level concepts, “ception”, construal), and the means of extension and elaboration of categories (metaphor, metonymy). For example, languages with inflectional case typically present a variety of issues that must be addressed. The meanings of a given case (such as the dative case in Czech, which can express giving, taking, experiencing, subordination, competition, and domination) are at once both highly abstract, yet internally complex, offering an opportunity to investigate the effects of prototypicality and polysemy within a radial category. The embodied experiences and per/conceptions that motivate the basic-level concepts of such inflectional categories merit close analysis. The grammatical meaning of an inflectional category challenges the linguist with the various construals of meaning that it enables. The Czech dative, for example, can be used to assert participation in an event even when this construal is contrary to reality, as in Ten čaj ti mě zvedl [that tea-nominative you-dative me-accusative lifted] ‘That tea picked me up (and you should care about this event)’, where the referent of ‘you’ has no real participation, but is called upon to “experience” the event anyhow. Furthermore, we have only just begun to chart the behavior of metaphor and metonymy in extending the meanings of inflectional categories. For example, it appears that metaphor extends the use of the dative from concrete giving to the experiencing of benefit and harm (as the metaphorical reception of good and evil), and that metonymy is at work in motivating the use of the dative with verbs of communication (which mean ‘give a message’, though the direct object is not overtly expressed). Inflectional categories provide a variety of examples of linguistic expressions that do (eg., tense and mood) and do not (case and number) deictically ground an utterance to the speaker’s experience of the world (cf. Dirven & Verspoor 95-101).
For the purposes of this article, we will assume that there are three kinds of morphemes: lexical, derivational, and inflectional. The behavior of these three types of morphemes can best be understood within the context of constructions. If we think of a construction as a set of slots and relations among them, the lexical morpheme is what goes in a given slot. Any accompanying derivational morpheme(s) will make whatever semantic and grammatical adjustments may be necessary to fit the lexical morpheme into a given slot. The inflectional morphemes are the relations that hold the slots together. The job of an inflectional morpheme is to tell us how a given slot (regardless of what is in it) fits with the rest of the construction. I will draw primarily upon my knowledge of the highly inflected Slavic languages to illustrate this chapter, and refer the reader to relevant descriptions of inflectional categories elsewhere in this book (cf. particularly Chapter 31 on Tense and Aspect).
C. Derivational Morphemes
Derivational morphemes makes new words from old ones (Crystal, p. 90.) Thus creation is formed from create , but they are two separate words.
Derivational morphemes generally:
1) Change the part of speech or the basic meaning of a word. Thus -ment added to a verb forms a noun (judg-ment). re-activate means "activate again."
2) Are not required by syntactic relations outside the word. Thus un-kind combines un- and kind into a single new word, but has no particular syntactic connections outside the word -- we can say he is unkind or he is kind or they are unkind or they are kind, depending on what we mean.
3) Are often not productive -- derivational morphemes can be selective about what they'll combine with, and may also have erratic effects on meaning. Thus the suffix -hood occurs with just a few nouns such as brother, neighbor, and knight, but not with most others. e.g., *friendhood, *daughterhood, or *candlehood. Furthermore "brotherhood" can mean "the state or relationship of being brothers," but "neighborhood" cannot mean "the state or relationship of being neighbors."
4) Typically occur between the stem and any inflectional affixes. Thus in governments,-ment, a derivational suffix, precedes -s, an inflectional suffix.
5) In English, may appear either as prefixes or suffixes: pre-arrange, arrange-ment.

D. Comparing The Inflection And The Derivational Morphemes
On the mid-term exam, we will need to be able to divide words into their morphemes and to place those morphemes under the correct headings ("Root," "Derivational," or "Inflectional"). For example,

Word Root Derivational Inflectional
personalizes person -al, -ize 3RD SINGULAR (-s)
buildings build -ing PLURAL (-s)
accepted -cept ad- PAST (-ed)
fortunate fortune -ate ---
misallocations loc- mis-, ad-, -ate, -tion PLURAL (-s)
To be able to do this kind of analysis correctly, we need to understand the concept of morphemes and to know the difference between derivational and inflectional morphemes. The inflectional morphemes are easier, because there's a finite number: PLURAL (usually -s), POSSESSIVE (usually 's), PAST (usually -ed or -en), PROGRESSIVE (-ing), COMPARATIVE/SUPERLATIVE (-er or -est), and OBJECTIVE CASE (me, us, her, him, them). Remember, however, that "-ing" and "-ed" are sometimes derivational morphemes that change verbs into nouns (as in the noun "buildings") or into adjectives (as in the adjective "accepted"). Sometimes we can tell definitely that these morphemes are derivational ("the building" or "the acceptedway") rather than inflectional ("he is buildinga log cabin" or "she acceptedthe proposal"), but other times, we cannot know one way or the other out of context (in which case I'll accept either answer - derivational orinflectional - on the exam).
The other trick to morphology is getting down to the smallest root in a word. But just remember that roots must be morphemes (morpheme = the smallest unit meaning). We suppose to keep breaking the word down until we reach something that no longer means anything or that isn't used as a unit of meaning anywhere else. Take the word "misallocations," for example. We can easily take off the "mis-," the plural ending, and the "-tion." At that point, you're left with "allocate." But doesn't that word break down further? There's a prefix "ad-" that tends to elide with whatever consonant it precedes (the prefix in "ad," "ac," "af," and "an"). I bet it's also in "al." So, is "locate" the root? It's a word. But there is "-ate" in it. That's a derivational morpheme that often changes nouns to adjectives ("fortunate") and other roots to verbs ("generate," "create," "congregate"). That leaves "loc-." Even though "loc-" isn't a word, are there words that have "loc-" and have some relation to the idea of "allocate" (putting something into a particular place)? If not, "locate" is probably the root of the word despite the "-ate." But how about "loc" and "loc"? It would seem that "loc-" isthe root of "misallocations" and has something to do with "place." If we couldn't find other words with that root used to mean roughly the same thing, we'd have to say that it wasn't a unit of meaning and therefore wasn't the root of the word. But since there are other words with "loc-" for a root, it isthe root of "misallocations."
On the other hand, take "fortunate." We might think that "tune" is the root, since "for-" is a common derivational prefix (in "forgive" and "forget"), and "tune" is a root in other words ("he tunedthe guitar"). But does the meaningof "fortune" in have anything to do with the meaning of "tune" in "he tuned the guitar"? Not really. Since it doesn't, it's not the same unit of meaning in both places, and in "fortunate," it isn't a unit of meaning at all (what would it mean?). So, it can't be the root; the root has to be "fortune."
Another important and perhaps universal distinction is the one between derivational and inflectional morphemes.
Derivational morphemes makes new words from old ones (Crystal, p. 90.) Thus creation is formed from create , but they are two separate words.
Derivational morphemes generally:
1) Change the part of speech or the basic meaning of a word. Thus -ment added to a verb forms a noun (judg-ment). re-activate means "activate again."
2) Are not required by syntactic relations outside the word. Thus un-kind combines un- and kind into a single new word, but has no particular syntactic connections outside the word -- we can say he is unkind or he is kind or they are unkind or they are kind, depending on what we mean.
3) Are often not productive -- derivational morphemes can be selective about what they'll combine with, and may also have erratic effects on meaning. Thus the suffix -hood occurs with just a few nouns such as brother, neighbor, and knight, but not with most others. e.g., *friendhood, *daughterhood, or *candlehood. Furthermore "brotherhood" can mean "the state or relationship of being brothers," but "neighborhood" cannot mean "the state or relationship of being neighbors."
4) Typically occur between the stem and any inflectional affixes. Thus in governments,-ment, a derivational suffix, precedes -s, an inflectional suffix.
5) In English, may appear either as prefixes or suffixes: pre-arrange, arrange-ment.
Inflectional morphemes: vary (or "inflect") the form of words in order to express grammatical features, such as singular/plural or past/present tense. Thus Boy and boys, for example, are two different forms of the "same" word; the choice between them, singular vs. plural, is a matter of grammar and thus the business of inflectional morphology. (Crystal, p. 90.)
Inflectional Morphemes generally:
1) Do not change basic meaning or part of speech, e.g., big, bigg-er, bigg-est are all adjectives.
2) Express grammatically-required features or indicate relations between different words in the sentence. Thus in Lee love-s Kim: -s marks the 3rd person singular present form of the verb, and also relates it to the 3rd singular subject Lee.

3) Are productive. Inflectional morphemes typically combine freely with all members of some large class of morphemes, with predictable effects on usage/meaning. Thus the plural morpheme can be combined with nearly any noun, usually in the same form, and usually with the same effect on meaning.
4) Occur outside any derivational morphemes. Thus in ration-al-iz-ation-s the final -s is inflectional, and appears at the very end of the word, outside the derivational morphemes -al, -iz, -ation.
5) In English, are suffixes only.
Some English morphemes, by category:

derivational inflectional
-ation -s Plural
-al -s Possessive
-ize -ed Past
-ic -ing Progressive
-y -er Comparative
-ous -est Superlative

Prefixes and suffixes are by definition always bound. Morphemes can also be divided into the two categories of content and function morphemes, a distinction that is conceptually distinct from the free-bound distinction but that partially overlaps with it in practice.
The idea behind this distinction is that some morphemes express some general sort of content, in a way that is as independent as possible of the grammatical system of a particular language -- while other morphemes are heavily tied to a grammatical function, expressing syntactic relationships between units in a sentence, or obligatorily-marked categories such as number or tense.


Prof. DR. SOEKEMI, M. A. 1995 . Linguistic : A Work Book Second Edition. Surabaya: Unesa Press
Yule, George. 2006. The Study of Language. New York : Cambrigde University Press
Boey, Lim Kiat. 1975. An Introduction To Linguistics For The Language Teacher. Singapore : Singapore University Press
T. Nasr, Raja. 1978. The essentials Of Linguistic Science. Lebanon : Lebanon University College
www. Wikipedia. com

cerpen:Kisah Mbok Simah

Jalan mulai sepi. Sudah jarang orang yang berlalu lalang. Lampu penerang jalan tidak nyala. Sedangkan malam menginginkan cahaya, menggantikan rembulan yang enggan menampakkan wajahnya. Semestinya mereka beradu, seperti malam-malam sebelumnya. Tapi awan menyembunyikan rembulan. Malam hanya bisa diam.
Beberapa toko masih ditemani sinar lampu neon. Memancarkan barang dagangannya yang melambai-lambai menciptakan nuansa ramai. Percuma, tidak ada yang mendengar. Toko tetap sepi. Tapi para karyawan masih setia menanti pembeli yang kedatangannya belum pasti. Mereka berdiri dengan kehampaan. Bosan. Mereka pun duduk. Lalu berdiri lagi. Mondar-mandir. Hingga akhirnya ¾ tepat pukul sepuluh malam ¾ mereka memutuskan untuk tutup toko.
Lampu-lampu toko telah padam. Melengkapi kesepian malam. Kota ini seperti mati. Ah, malam resah. Malam tidak ingin mati kecuali matahari saja yang boleh membunuhnya. Malam pun mencari teman. Perempatan kemuning dekat alun-alun kota. Di emperan toko ¾ pojok sebelah barat jalan ¾ malam menemukan tempat beradu. Ada cahaya kehidupan. Bukan kehidupan malam yang dipenuhi gairah haram, melainkan malam yang akan memberikan pelajaran tentang makna kehidupan.
Seorang perempuan tua duduk bersimpuh. Rambutnya yang memutih terikat rapi. Kebaya yang dikenakannya terlihat sedikit lusuh. Tapi jaritnya ¾ warna coklat tua bermotif batik ¾ cukup bersih. Di depannya ada nyala redup lampu minyak tanah, tungku kecil, kipas bambu berbentuk persegi dan beberapa jagung muda yang sudah dikupas. Perempuan tua itu bernama mbok Simah. Baru kemarin, mbok Simah menjalani pekerjaannya, menjual jagung bakar. Bagi mbok Simah, pekerjaan ini adalah pilihan terbaik daripada berdiam diri sebagai orang yang terbuang di panti jompo. Bahkan mbok Simah harus melakukan perang gerilya melawan penjaga gerbang agar bisa keluar dari tempat pembuangan. Bagi mbok Simah, panti jompo adalah tempat penyiksaan batin. Karena Aji, anak kandung mbok Simah sendiri yang mengirimnya ke sana.
“Mbok lebih baik tinggal di panti jompo. Di sana lebih terurus. Saya kan sudah berumah tangga Mbok, mana sempat kalau terlalu sering bolak-balik dari kota ke sini hanya untuk menemui Mbok,” keluh Aji.
Mbok Simah menatap anak sulungnya dengan kecewa. Tapi mbok Simah menyunggingkan senyum. “Mbok kangen sama kamu Le. Mbok juga ingin bertanya tentang kabar. Kabar kamu, kabar istrimu dan kabar keberadaan adikmu, Sutri.”
Aji mendongakkan kepalanya. Keadaannya sekarang jauh lebih baik. Aji tidak lagi seperti dulu. Istrinya, Sinta ¾ anak konglomerat dari keturunan orang ningrat, menyelamatkan dirinya dari badai melarat. Entah apa yang membuat Sinta terbius, padahal Aji hanya mengenal bangku SMP. Mungkin karena Aji berparas tampan. Sampai-sampai Sinta nekat mengiris pergelangan tangannya untuk mengancam kedua orang tuanya agar memberikan restu yang telah berlanjut di pelaminan. Sedang Aji sendiri tidak pernah membiarkan Sinta mengetahui keadaan mboknya. Aji takut Sinta akan meninggalkannya, takut kekayaan Sinta akan membawanya kembali ke bawah. Juga tentang kelahiran Pratama Diningrat setahun yang lalu. Alangkah bahagia hati mbok Simah jika mengetahui ada jabang bayi laki-laki yang memanggilnya nenek. Sebuah kisah klasik malin kundang telah berjaya dengan berbagai versi.
“Kabar saya dan Sinta baik-baik saja Mbok,” kata Aji.
“Lalu keberadaan Sutri? Mbok takut kalau terjadi apa-apa dengan adikmu.”
Aji tidak menjawab. Dia tidak mempunyai jawaban rekayasa lagi yang sering diucapkannya. Sudah seminggu Sutri minggat. Sejak itulah mbok Simah terus-terusan menghubungi Aji untuk mencari Sutri ke kota. Bagaimana bisa menemukan Sutri, Aji tidak pernah mencari adiknya.
“Kenapa kamu diam Le?”
“Sudahlah,” bentak Aji. “Mbok ini merepotkan saja. Sekarang Mbok boleh berkemas. Bukankah Mbok ingin pergi ke kota? Besok pagi saya akan menjemput Mbok dan mengantar Mbok ke panti jompo.”
Mbok Simah menghela nafas. Dielus-eluskan tangannya ke dada. Ingatan itu terasa menyesakkan. Mbok Simah tidak mungkin bisa melupakan kedua anaknya begitu saja, meskipun Aji dan Sutri telah meninggalkannya. Perasaan mbok Simah sakit. Hatinya menjerit. Anak adalah harta bagi setiap orang tua. Pikiran mbok simah merembet pada suaminya yang sudah meninggal semenjak kelahiran Sutri. Kini, gadis bungsu itu berusia dua puluh tahun. Naluri seorang ibu, membawa mbok Simah lebih memilih jualan di emperan toko dekat alun-alun kota ini ketika menjelang malam. Mbok Simah masih menangkap jelas ucapan Sutri sebelum dia minggat.
Malam tetap beradu. Diam. Malam menyibak kisah mbok Simah.
Suara deru sepeda motor berhenti di samping mbok Simah. Sosok laki-laki muda berjaket hitam itu melepas helmetnya. Dia turun dari motornya dan berjalan mendekati mbok Simah.
“Mbok jagung bakar satu ya?” ucap pemuda itu. Kedua tangannya saling digosokkan. Mbok Simah memilah-milah jagung yang kiranya paling muda dan diletakkan di atas tungku kecil. Tangan mbok Simah mengayun-ayunkan kipas bambu. Hembusan udara membangunkan api untuk segera melahap jagung dengan kobarannya.
“Pulang kerja Nak?” tanya mbok Simah.
“Iya Mbok.”
Mbok Simah menatap wajah pemuda itu. “Tidak perlu mengernyitkan kening untuk menghadapi sebuah masalah. Nanti cepat tua seperti Mbok.”
Pemuda itu tersenyum. “Tiga hari lagi saya akan menikah Mbok.”
“Mbok senang mendengarnya. Tapi kenapa kamu malah resah?”
“Betapa bahagianya jika ibu saya bisa melihat anaknya bersanding di pelaminan,” pemuda itu menarik nafas. “Ibu saya sudah meninggal.”
Mbok Simah trenyuh. Hatinya meluluh. Terharu. Dipandanginya lagi raut wajah pemuda itu. Terbesit dalam ingatan mbok Simah tentang Aji dan istrinya, Sinta. Mbok Simah belum tahu wajah menantunya sendiri. Aji tidak pernah mengenalkan Sinta pada mboknya. Mbok Simah bertanya-tanya, apa dirinya terlalu hina karena terlahir sebagai orang melarat?
“Mbok tidak perlu datang ke pernikahan saya. Acaranya hanya dihadiri orang-orang konglomerat. Saya tidak ingin mereka tahu kalau saya berasal dari keluarga melarat. Apa Mbok ingin saya dihina banyak orang?” teriak Aji pada mboknya.
Saat itu mbok Simah baru saja membeli pakaian ¾ setelan kebaya dan jarit baru khusus dibelinya untuk menghadiri acara pernikahan anaknya ¾ dari pasar Melarat. Kekecewaan menampar mbok Simah.
Air mata mbok Simah menetes perlahan. Pemuda tadi salah tingkah. Takut kalau ada ucapan yang menyinggung perasaan si Mbok.
“Maaf Mbok, kenapa Mbok menangis?”
Mbok Simah menggeleng. Buru-buru dihapus air mata yang sudah membasahi kedua pipinya. “Ndak apa-apa. Mbok hanya teringat dengan anak-anak Mbok.”
“Kenapa dengan anak-anak Mbok?”
“Mbok punya tiga anak,” mbok Simah mulai bercerita. “Yang pertama laki-laki, dia sudah menikah dengan gadis kota. Yang kedua juga laki-laki, tapi meninggal saat dilahirkan. Yang terakhir perempuan, mungkin seumuran dengan kamu, Nak. Mbok sangat merindukan mereka semua.”
“Apa Mbok sudah lama tidak bertemu dengan mereka?”
Mbok Simah sengaja tidak menjawab. Tangannya masih mengayun menebarkan aroma kehangatan malam. Kali ini pikirannya mengarah pada sosok gadis ¾ anak bungsunya ¾ yang keberadaannya entah di mana. Setelah kabur dari panti jompo, sepanjang hari mbok Simah mencari Sutri ke setiap toko dekat alun-alun kota. Malam harinya mbok Simah sengaja jualan di emperan toko berharap salah satu karyawan yang bekerja di toko-toko itu adalah Sutri.
“Sutri ingin pergi ke Malaysia Mbok. Seperti Sari, Nipah dan Sri. Mereka sukses Mbok,” rengek Sutri.
“Kamu kira pergi ke Malaysia itu tidak butuh uang? Bisa makan saja sudah alhamdullilah, Nduk.”
“Justru itu Mbok,” Sutri berjalan mendekati mboknya yang sibuk di dapur. “Sutri akan ikut paklik Kardi ke kota. Kata orang-orang, di dekat alun-alun kota banyak di bangun rumah toko dan membutuhkan banyak karyawan. Suti akan bekerja di sana.”
“Ndak usah neko-neko, Nduk. Kamu itu perempuan, ndak baik pergi jauh-jauh meninggalkan rumah. Di sini kamu kan sudah dapat kerja. Menjahit baju di rumah mbak Karyati, apa itu bukan pekerjaan?”
“Kapan kehidupan ini akan berubah kalau kita hanya menjalani nasib saja.”
Tanpa sepengetahuan mbok Simah, menjelang subuh, paklik Kardi menjemput Sutri. Sutri sudah siap. Pakaiannya rapi dan tangannya menjinjing tas besar. Sutri minggat.
“Mbok,” gugah pemuda itu.
Sekejab, mbok Simah sudah kembali dari lamunan panjang. Jagung itu dibolak-balik sebentar. Begitu jagungnya matang, mbok Simah langsung menyodorkannya pada pemuda itu.
“Siapa namamu Nak?”
“Arif,” jawabnya seraya melahap jagung yang ditunggunya dari tadi. Sesekali meniup-niup jagung sekedar mengurangi panasnya.
“Kalau Mbok namanya siapa?”
“Panggil saja Mbok Simah.”
Pemuda itu mengangguk-angguk. “Mbok tinggal dimana?”
“Dimana-mana bisa.”
Mata pemuda itu mengisyaratkan tanda tanya.
“Jangan mengira kalau Mbok ndak punya rumah. Mbok punya rumah tapi di desa.”
“Desa mana?”
“Desa melarat.”
“Calon istri saya juga dari desa, tapi saya belum tahu desa apa. Besok pagi kami akan ke sana, menjemput calon mertua saya,” senyum pemuda itu malu-malu. “Mbok tidak sekalian bareng saya ke desa?”
“Mbok belum ingin pulang. Mbok doakan, semoga kamu bahagia.”
“Suwun Mbok.”
Tatapan mata pemuda itu jernih. Menyinarkan ketulusan dan rasa hormat. Didepannya ada secercah cahaya masa depan yang akan membawanya ke dalam kebahagiaan. Sedang mbok Simah hanya tersenyum sendiri menyelami keragaman hidup yang dirasa semakin menggerogotinya.
Setelah menghabiskan jagungnya, pemuda itu mengambil pena dan sebuah kertas dalam kemasan apik. Ditulisnya nama mbok Simah pada kotak kecil yang telah tertera.
“Undangan ini untuk Mbok.”
Mbok Simah terlihat linglung. Dia tidak segera mengambil undangannya. “Undangan apa ini, Nak?”
“Ini undangan pernikahan saya. Saya harap Mbok sudi datang bukan sebagai tamu, melainkan sebagai pengganti ibu saya. Saya merasa ada suatu ikatan antara saya dengan Mbok.
Air mata mbok Simah menetes seketika. Bibirnya gemetar, tidak kuat menahan rasa haru. Diambilnya undangan itu. Kedua tangan mbok Simah memegangnya erat.
“Kenapa bukan anak kandungku sendiri yang bisa melegakan hati ini,” jerit mbok Simah dalam hati.
“Datang ya Mbok. Rumah saya tidak jauh dari sini. Di undangan itu ada alamat saya.”
Mbok Simah mengangguk-angguk sambil terisak.
Pemuda itu beranjak. Dia mengambil selembar uang dan diselikan ke tangan mbok Simah.
“Jangan Nak,” tolak mbok Simah. “Jagung itu buat nak Arif, ndak usah bayar.”
Pemuda itu tidak memedulikan teriakan mbok Simah. Dia segera menyalakan motornya dan menghilang dalam gelap jalan. Mbok Simah tidak sempat melakukan apa-apa, termasuk mengembalikan selembar uang lima puluh ribuan.
“Maaf Nak,” ucap mbok Simah lirih. “Mbok ndak bisa datang.”
Mbok Simah membolak-balik undangannya. Tangan kanannya memegang erat, seperti membawa benda pecah belah yang tidak boleh jatuh. Mbok Simah kembali duduk dan memandangi undangan itu. Mbok Simah mencoba mengeja huruf-huruf yang tertata rapi. Sia-sia saja, mbok Simah buta huruf. Seandainya mbok Simah tahu, huruf-huruf itu membentuk serangkaian kata kunci jawaban tentang keberadaan anak bungsunya.
Telah menikah. Dua mempelai, Arif Budi Setiawan dan Sutri Melarat.