Learn Indonesian (me-) Prefix with Experts

Every word have their own meaning, what if we added some prefix into it? will it change? here is the answer.

In Indonesia there is a lot of prefix that we can add to the words, but the most common prefix that we will see is Indonesian me– prefix. First of all we have to know that me- prefix is used to form active verbs.

First letter Inflection Example
vowels, g, h me- → meng- uji → menguji (= to test), garuk → menggaruk (= to scratch), hitung → menghitung (= to count)
b, f, v me- → mem- beri → memberi (= to give), fitnah → memfitnah (= to falsely accuse)
c, d, j me- → men- cari → mencari (= to search), dapat → mendapat (= to obtain), jangkau → menjangkau (= to reach)
k me- → meng-, drops the k kandung → mengandung (= to contain or to be pregnant [if applied to a person])
p me- → mem-, drops the p putih → memutih (= to turn white)
s me- → meny-, drops the s satu → menyatu (= to become one / to unite)
t me- → men-, drops the t tulis → menulis (= to write)

As we can see on the table below, there is a lot of way to use Indonesian me– prefix and it based on the first letter of the word. From the table we also can know that adding prefix change the meaning of the word.

  1. Me- + verb – this kind of combination have the exactly meaning with infinitive. There are 2 kind of verb:
    • Transitive verbs (have object) – Saya memakan sepotong pizza  (I eat a slice of pizza)
    • Intransitive verbs (cannot have object) – Dia menangis (She’s crying)
  2. Me- + noun – this kind of combination can make the word turn into a new word with a new meaning that can be exactly different from the previous meaning. Example : me+cat (paint) – mengecat (to paint)
  3. Me- + adjective – this kind of combination the me- prefix indicates the subject changes more into or to turn to the indicated adjective. Example : me+besar (big) – membesar (to be bigger)
  4. Me- + numbers – this kind of combination the only numbers that can be combined to me- is “satu (one)” dan “dua (two)”. Example : satu (one) to menyatu (to unite) and dua (two) to mendua (split into two)
  5. Me- + places – in this combination me- would indicate that the subject is going to the said place. Example : laut (sea) turn to melaut (go to the sea)
  6. Me- + Expletives – in this combination the expletives doesn’t mean swear words here, but rather the words that mimic sounds, like moo, baa, qwack. Example : aum (sounds of tiger) turn to mengaum.

Now we know that there is a lot of words that can be added by the Indonesian me– prefix, since it makes  a new word, it can help us whenever we need word with other definition in the other sentence, this is why Indonesia Language is so unique.