Thursday, 21 February 2008

23) Prefixes and Suffixes

Most of the sample words in the Indonesian sentences I have given to you in the lessons so far were of the root form. Indeed, with some exceptions, we can speak Indonesian without using derived words. However, in many situations, e.g. when we have to speak formally, we have to add prefixes (and even suffixes) to certain words in order that they become formal or to have their proper meaning. For example, you can say either “Saya cari buku di perpustakaan” or “Saya mencari buku di perpustakaan” because both have the same meaning: I looked for a book in the library.

A basic step in learning bahasa Indonesia is to learn the root words. Later, you can enrich your vocabulary by adding prefixes and suffixes to the root words to get other meanings of the corresponding words. You will also learn that any verb can change into noun, adjective, or adverb, depending on the prefix and/or suffix added to it. On the other hand, nouns, adjectives or adverbs may also be changed into verbs by adding these prefixes and suffixes. I will give you the rules of adding these prefixes and suffixes in the present lesson and in the lessons to come. In the present lesson we will learn how to add such prefixes as me-, men-, mem-, meny-, and meng-.

The general rules of adding these prefixes are as follows.

1. me- may be add to words beginning with l, m, n, r, and ny.
2. men- may be add to words beginning with c, d, j, and t (but t is dropped).
3. mem- may be add to words beginning with b, and p (but p is dropped).
4. meny- may be add to words beginning with s only (by dropping s)
5. meng- may be add to words beginning with g, h, a, e, i, o, u, and k (but k is dropped).

Examples using the above rules (please do not worry about the word meanings first):

1. The words latih, masak, rasa, nyanyi become melatih memasak, merasa, and menyanyi.
2. The words cari, datang, jual, tari become mencari, mendatang, menjual and menari.
3. The words buru and potong become memburu and memotong.
4. The word salin becomes menyalin.
5. The words gambar, hukum, asah, ekor, ingat, obral, upah, and kikis become menggambar, menghukum, mengasah, mengingat, mengobral, mengupah and mengikis.

In the next lessons, I will explain how adding prefixes and suffixes may affect the meaning of the corresponding words and, therefore, you have to be careful about this. I also have to discourage you not to try to make up your own Indonesian words by adding prefixes and suffixes unless you have looked up the words in the dictionary. Be sure to stick to what you have learned thoroughly.




Anonymous said...

Hi Ika,
This was very helpful, especially with the examples that you provided. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for this. Very helpful