Basic Indonesian Grammar

Basic Indonesian Grammar

This part of the Conversational Indonesia short course deals with useful Indonesian grammar.Bahasa Indonesia, the Indonesian National Language, is at first an easy language to learn. Not having tenses, you can quickly put together the necessary words to communicate. In most places it is the peoples’ second language, so they often don’t use correct grammar when speaking either, especially to foreigners.

There are, however, a couple of things that you should pay attention to. Firstly, the appropriate word for “you” or “I” changes with who you are speaking to. Secondly, to be polite, Indonesians use the passive tense when requesting something. This usually takes the form of “will be done by …”. In English this type of language is used in a legal context or formal notices.

For those who don’t need a precise knowledge of the Indonesian language, a few general rules will enable you to carry on a reasonable conversation.

 Word Order in Bahasa Indonesia

 

The word order of spoken Bahasa Indonesian is often in the reverse order to English for sentences of similar meaning. This is because adjectives go after nouns, rather than before, and the passive tense is commonly used. Also, Indonesians seldom begin a sentence with “I” or “you”. These are not hard and fast rules, but they are a good place to start.

 Tenses in Bahasa Indonesia

Verbs do not change their form in the different tenses. Instead, sudah (already) is used to indicate the past tense; akan (will/shall) is used to indicate the future tense, and sedang (in the process of doing something) is used to indicate the continuous tense.

https://balijavapocketguide.com/helpful-indonesian-phrases/

https://balijavapocketguide.com/common-indonesian-words/

Prefixes and Suffixes in Bahasa Indonesia

Prefixes and suffixes are added to the root word to form related parts of speech, namely:

1. me + root – transitive verb (has object) eg. mencari (to look for).

2. me + root + kan – causative transitive verb (to cause something to be done) eg. menjelaskan (to clarify).

3. ber + root – intransitive verb (no object) eg. berdiri (to stand).

4. di + root – denotes passive tense (something to be done by someone else) eg. dicuci (to be washed); or, takes emphasis off the subject.

5. di + root + kan – passive form of causative verb eg. dihabiskan (to be finished).

6. me + root + i – transitive verb showing direction e.g. menempati (to place something); or, if action is repeated, eg memukuli (to strike repeatedly); object is stationary (no preposition) eg mendekati (to approach).

7.  di + root + i – passive form of 6) eg.  ditempati (to be placed).

8. pe + root – the person who does the action of the root word,
eg. penulis (writer).

9. root + an – changes root word into a noun e.g bungkusan (package).

10. pe + root + an – denotes “collective noun” (English -ion) eg. penerang-an (information).

11. ke + root + an – abstract noun (English -ness or -ity) eg. kebersihan (cleanliness).

12.  ter + root – superlative eg. terbesar (largest); or, accidentally eg terjatuh (fell); or, unexpectedly eg terkejut (startled); or, “in the state of” e.g. terpesona (spellbound).

Note: Do not be put off if this sounds complicated. It is still possible to carry on a conversation without using the above prefixes and suffixes, as your meaning can be picked up from the context in which the words are used.

Examples of Prefixes (Awalan) and Suffixes (Akhiran)

 

1)      Turun

menurun

menuruni

menurunkan

keturunan

peturunan

turunan

2)      Pakai

berpakai

berpakaian

memakai

memakaikan

 

pemakai

pemakaian

pakaian

terpakai

 

3)      Masuk

memasuki

memasukkan

kemasukan

pemasukan

termasuk

4)      Kumpul

berkumpul

mengumpulkan

pengumpulan

perkumpulan

kumpulan

 

5)      Jadi

 

menjadi

menjadikan

 

kejadian

penjadi

penjadian

terjadi

jadinya

 

–           to go down, descend

to decrease

to descend into something

to drop, reduce to inherit, descent reduction, decline descendent, generation.

 

–          to involve use of, with, by

means of

to dress

dressed

to wear, use, make use of

to put something on for

someone

wearer, user

use, consumption

clothing

used (up), void, applied

–          to enter, go in

to enter

to put in (to)

possessed (by spirits)

registration, import

included

–          to gather, assemble

to gather, assemble

to collect

gathering, collection

club, association, meeting

collection.

 

finished (adj), so, therefore,

to become

to become

to make, to cause, bring

about

creation, to happen

developer, doer

outbreak, development

to happen, to consist

consequently, hence

 

The “me – root” form of the verb is the most com­plicated, because it varies depending on the first let­ter of the root word, namely:

mem – (p*, b, f)

 

men – (t* d, c, j)

 

meng + (k*, g,

vowels)

 

meny – (s*)

eg membaca/to read,

memukul (pukul)/to hit

eg menulis (tulis)/to write, mendorong/to push

 

eg mengumpul (kumpul)/to

collect, menggambar/to draw eny –                     eg menyapu (sapu)/to sweep

 

* letters indicated with an asterisk are dropped when prefix is used, letters without asterisk are re­tained when prefix is used.

BAHASA INDONESIA PRONUNCIATION GUIDE

 

LETTER

A

B

C (tj*)

D

E

F

G

H

I

J (dj*)

K

L

M

N

NG

NY (nj*)

O

P

R

S

T

U (oe*)

W

Y (J*)

INDONESIAN

ambil, Anda, makan

bayar, ambil, lembab

cari, becak

dari, duduk

empat, sedang

fajar

golok, lagi

hangat, tanah

itu, mari, siapa,

jual, hujan

kecil, ikut, mogok

lalu, Lembang

malam, timur

nasi, manis, sabun

singgah, uang

nyanyi,

oli, kopi, benio

paling, krupuk

rendah, piring, kabar

sayur, kosong

tentu, barat

urusan, puncak,tentu

wortel, tawar

yang

ENGLISH

far, Bali

boy, club

child, match

doll, fad

elephant,

fall, life

girl, good, leg

Hannah

it, pin

joy, jewel

kill, sticky

lovely, fall

mad, him

now, any, son

singing, wing

can you

olive, follow

pill, help

purring ‘rolled’

sister, song

triplet, pat

blue, ruin

wave, tower

yellow, yes

NOTE: Indonesian pronunciation is very regular. The way each letter is pronounced does NOT vary with different words.

* denotes old spelling which is still used in names

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