26 Jan

Just an info…

My friends and I have developed a webquest successfully. For about 2 weeks, we had been designing a webquest to facilitate the learning English language for all digital natives in secondary school and we made it!

Check out our webquest on

Happy exploring the friendslicious land!!!

The Unexpected Serendipity

26 Jan

Serendipity? What is that?

I used to be unfamiliar with this word. This word had never been heard by me until I read a story titled “Serendipity” in my 17 years old age. The story told me about a girl who accidentally found –if I’m not mistaken- her lost pen when she was looking for dictionary to define a word called “Serendipity”. When she got her pen back and looked for the term of serendipity, she was really amazed that the word she was curious about had just actually been experienced by her. Since then, I eventually claimed the word serendipity as my favorite word.

The story I wrote above is not the only one reason of why I like the word serendipity and finally decided to analyze it. Another reason is that actually I often experience something what is called as serendipity. The most serendipitous thing I have ever experienced is when my friend and I were listening to “How deep is your love” song. Suddenly, my friend asked me what the name of a band which sang that song is. I said that I knew, but I forgot. She forced me to remember it but I couldn’t, even after I had tried so hard. About several hours later, she asked me to take her book beside me. “Ambilin buku itu”, she said. I ignored her because I was busy of looking for calculator. She got mad to me and said, “Ambil buku itu, ambil… take that!!!”. I got speechless for a while then shouted to her. “Hey, that’s it! Take that! The name of the band you asked me this morning is “Take That”!”

Well, that unique experience I used to know as an accidental discovery. I had just known it is called as serendipity in the following 3 years. Now I know that serendipity is more than just discovering something by accident.

The etymology

How is the story behind the word serendipity? Is it as unique as the word itself?

The word serendipity is formed by Horace Walpole. He was the first who noted this word in “Letter to Horace Mann” on January 28, 1754. He formed word “Serendipity” by inventing it -what is called as coinage- from a Persian fairy tale titled “The Three Princes of Serendip”. This fairy tale tells a story about heroes that “were always making discoveries by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of” (Walpole, 1754). The word “Serendip” itself was an ancient name of a land that now is known as Sri Lanka.

The real meaning vs. dictionary meaning

As serendipity a unique word, it has also a unique meaning as well. The meaning itself is hard to translate. It is proven by a voting held by a British translation company in 2004. The word serendipity was voted as one of ten words that were hardest to translate.

Anyway, Walpole first defined serendipity as “making discoveries by accidents and sagacity, of things that were not in quest of”. He implied that serendipity deals with sagacity that referred to a kind of innate gift or a personal attribute. In the other words, serendipity- according to him- is the result of intelligence (sagacity) to recognize the situation and fortune for discovering something unexpected. This point of view was stressed then by Edward Solly. Solly defined serendipity as “a particular kind of natural cleverness”, in Notes and Queries (1849).

In another hand, Walpole also defined serendipity as a discovery. It is actually an ambiguity that made the meaning of serendipity became vague. This is not clear whether serendipity indicates a personal attribute or just a phenomenon.

In 1934, Webster new international dictionary came up with the definition “the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for. The Concise Oxford English Dictionary (1951) defined serendipity as “the faculty of making happy and unexpected discoveries by accident”. In the following year, Swan’s Anglo-American Dictionary (1952) defined serendipity as “the sheer luck or accident of making a discovery by mere good fortune or when searching for something else”.

Those dictionaries omitted the term “Sagacity” in Walpole’s description about serendipity. Nowadays, the word “Serendipity” is more likely translated as “making accidental discoveries while looking for something else”. “Accidental discovery” is now considered synonymous with serendipity.

Related meaning

Aside having synonymy, there is also an antonym of serendipity.  The antonym of serendipity is zemblanity. Zemblanity means “making unhappy, unlucky and expected discoveries occurring by design”. This word was coined by William Boyd. It derives from “Novaya Zemlya (Nova Zembla), a cold and barren land which was a Russian nuclear test area in the Cold War where many things opposite to Serendip (Sri Lanka).


The word serendipity (noun) that is phonologically pronounced as /ˌsɛr(ə)nˈdɪpɪti/ derives some derivatives. One of them is serendipper. Century dictionary brought the term “serendipper” (noun) as “one who has the gift of serendipity or who found things unsought by merely ‘dipping’”. It is the only one dictionary which published the definition about serendipper.

There are also word “Serendipitous” and “Serendipitously”. Serendipitous (adjective) was formed in 1950. In Oxford dictionary, it is defined as “occurring or discovered by chance in a happy or beneficial way”. From serendipitous, serendipitiously (adverb) is derived.

The famous cases of serendipity

My experience I wrote above is not the only one real serendipity. If you are searching for other serendipitous cases, you better check first the history of America land discovery. At first, Christopher Columbus and Europeans were having their “Silk road” journey. Their intention was about discovering sources of valuable goods just like silk and spices in Asia. While Columbus was trying to find a new way to India, it was an accident to land in The Americas. In 1492, he discovered the land serendipitously. Therefore, the Native Americans were called as Indians.

Another famous serendipity was the discovery of Penicillin antibiotic by Alexander Fleming.  In 20th century, he found Penicillium molds when he was cleaning his lab. This penicillin molds produced antibiotic that killed the bacteria around the fungus Penicillium notatum which contaminated the Staphylococcus in his experiment. This penicillin antibiotic then saved million people during World War II.

The Conclusion

Talking about serendipity will never lead you to an end. There will be always something unexpected as unique as the word serendipity itself. It’s only a word, but there are a lot of surprises inside. Let your sagacity and curiosity lead you to your unexpected serendipity.


Merton, Robert K.; Barber, Elinor (2004). The Travels and Adventures of Serendipity: A Study in Sociological Semantics and the Sociology of Science. Princeton University Press

Roberts, Royston M. (1989). Serendipity: Accidental Discoveries in Science. Wiley

Living heritage, retrieved at January 25th, 2011 in

wikipedia, retrieved at January 25th, 2011 in

Where does Word “English” Come from?

6 Jan


Many people talk in English.  Yah, as we know that it becomes an official language that’s mostly used by all people around the world. This language  is mostly used to facilitate world’s development in globalization era. But do you know where does word “English” come from? I as English teacher candidate even didn’t know the history about English (What a shame!) but my lecturer in Semantic and lexicology course came up with this term.  Now, I am ready to share about it. Please pay attention on it :P.

The native of England actually was Celts. Then Roman army came and dominated and occupied the island of Britain. Soon Germanic tribes a.k.a Angles, Saxons, Frisians and Jutes came. Celts eventually were pushed away to the fringes of the land.

Celts called the tribes as Wealas (foreigner). The name Welsh is derived. Celts called the Sassenachs as Saxons. In the 6th century, the term Angli/ Angles (in which are the Germanic tribes) was used. During the 7th century, it was changed into Angli/ Anglia as in its usual Latin name. Then, it became Engle. In old English, it referred to Englisc. The “sc” spelling represented the sound “sh” and now it’s known as English.

The land then became Englaland. It means the land of Angeles. Finally it’s known as England.


That’s all about the history of word “English”. Now you’ve known about it kaaan… Hehehe :D. If you wanna know more about English history and its lexicology, I recommend you to read a book by Howard Jackson and Etienne Ze Amvela called “Word, Meaning and Vocabulary: An Introduction to Modern English Lexicology”.

The book is just like this…

Learn more from it yaaahh…


Recount Text

6 Jan

Have you ever experienced something unforgettable in you life?

May be about your fun vacation on last holiday?

Or even about your bad luck in yesterday blind date???

Why don’t you try to write it down into a recount text?

Yeah, I said RECOUNT TEXT! Hihihi.. 😀

Don’t know about recount text???

Let’s discuss about it!

Recount text is a kind of text describes about past experiences.  It retells events happened in chronologically ordered. The purpose of this text is to entertain the readers. Different with narrative text, recount text tells non- fictive story in which based on real events or experiences.

The generic structure of recount consist of three parts. They are:

1. Orientation

Introducing the participants, place and time.

2. Events

Describing series of event that happened in the past.

3. Reorientation or comment

Stating personal comment of the writer about the story.

And here are the language features of recount text…

1. past tense.

2. action verbs (went, bought, visited, etc).

3. time signal (yesterday, two months ago, etc) .

4. emotive expression (I’m very happy, it is embarrassing, etc).

Recount text can be in the form of personal recount (such as biography, diary, etc), factual recount, or imaginative recount.

Well, after you have read about it, now it’s time to write your own recount text. It can be any experiences you like to write. Let’s share our experience together!


Narrative Text

6 Jan

I believe narrative text is very familiar for you. This text is a kind of text commonly introduced first in class before the others. I remember i got lesson about it when I was in 2nd grade of Junior high school. It was long long time ago! But did you know? Although we learned about it in Junior High School but actually it had been introduced to us since we’re a child. If your mom used to tell stories about Cinderella,  Snow White or Si Kancil(my favorite!) before you went to sleep, they actually belong to Narrative text!

Most of people in the world also love to write narrative text that eventually published as short stories, fairy tales, fables or even novels.

Well, considering that narrative text is familiar and favorable to write, here I share more info about it!

Narrative text is a kind of text that retells a story happened in past tense. It is fictive story. The purpose of the text is to entertain or to amuse the readers through the story.

Here is the generic structure of narrative text:

1. Orientation :

It is the introduction to the participants.

2. Complication :

It tells the problems of the story and how it is solved.

3. Resolution :

The problem is solved, for better or even worse ending.

Narrative text has language features like:

1. active verbs.

2. past tense.

3. time signal.

4. The first person (I or We) or the third person (He, She, or They).

5. action verbs.

6. saying verbs.

And here are kinds of narrative text

1. Legend : Malin Kundang, Situ Bagendit, Sangkuriang, etc.

2. Fairy tale : Cinderella, Snow white, Little Mermaid, etc.

3.Fable : Mousedeer and tiger, Fox and Goat, etc.

4. Science fiction: Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, etc.

That’s all about narrative text. Hope you get better knowledge about it. Now, it’s time to write your own narrative text and share to others. Happy writing meeooww!!!