Indonesian Prefix ‘Per-‘ (Formula and Examples)

Selamat datang! Welcome back!
Welcome to another lesson about Indonesian Prefixes. After learning about the prefixes, such as me- Prefix and Indonesian Prefix Ber- , it is time to move to another one, Indonesian Prefix Per-. Let’s learn about its function and how to use it in Bahasa Indonesia.

Before we move, please check these articles to help you understand about Indonesian affixes.

As you know, Bahasa Indonesia grammar also contains Affixes. The affixes include prefix, suffix, infiks, and konfiks (prefix and suffix). As for prefix ‘per-‘, as an affix, it is rarely used separately without additional suffix to form word. But, it is also important to learn prefix ‘per-‘

1. Indonesian Prefix Per- (to make it more …)

In Indonesia, the sentence that contains words that formed by affix per- is not considered as standard language. It is only used in oral conversation. One of the functions of this per- is to make verb than ‘means to make it more’. It is derived from root words that classified as adjective. Usually, it is found when you asking someone else to do certain things (and it is considered as formal). Here are the examples and how to use it.

  • besar (Adj) – big
    per + besar = perbesar (v) – to make … bigger/ zoom(1) Kita harus perbesar pemasukan perusahaan (We need to increase our company revenue)
    (2) Tolong perbesar gambar tersebut (Zoom the picture please)

In formal occasion and standard language for sentence (1), we could add another prefix before ‘the per + root word’ word (perbesar). For active sentence, you could add prefix me-(N), while prefix di- is used to form verb for passive sentence. Take a look at these examples.

  • Kita harus memperbesar pemasukan perusahaan (We need to increase our company revenue)
    Pemasukan perusahaan harus diperbesar (The company revenue must be increased)
  • cantik (Adj) – pretty
    per + cantik = percantik (v) – to make … prettier(1) Kita percantik kemasan produk ini (We make this product’s packaging prettier)
    Formal and standard form:
    – Kita mempercantik kemasan produk ini (We make this product’s packaging prettier)
    – Kemasan produk ini dipercantik kami (This product’s packaging is beautified by us)
    (2) Tolong percantik gadis ini (Please make this girl prettier) 

2. Indonesian Prefix Per- (to make someone as/likes…)

The second meaning formed by per is to make someone as/likes. It is used to very limited words. Here are the examples

  • istri (wife) >>> peristri (make someone to be his wife/ marry a woman/ wed)
    – Anto peristri perempuan dari Medan (Anto wed a woman from Medan)
    – Tono peristri Tini (Tono is marrying Tini)

Again to make it more formal and standard, you could add prefix me-(N) for active sentence or prefix di-  for passive sentence. Here are how to use it.

  • Tono memperistri Tini (Tono is marrying Tini)
  • Tini diperistri Tono (Tini is married by Tono)

In this occasion, the word peristri could be replaced by persunting. It is a word that formed by root word ‘sunting’ (marry) + per- ‘prefix’. Here are how to use it.  

  • Tono persunting Tini (Tono is marrying Tini)

However, the word ‘peristri’ and ‘persunting’ has a special circumstance. Because of strong patriarchal culture in Indonesia, it is odd to reverse subject/object in sentence likes ‘man marry woman’. Therefore, it is still taboo in certain place to reverse the sentence Tono (a man) persunting Tini (a woman) to Tini persunting Tono (Tini is marrying Tono), even though it is a non-gender verb. The taboo also reflected at the word peristri, that does not any antagonistic word that refer to the meaning ‘make someone to be your husband’.

In addition, here is the another word that could be add the ‘per-‘ prefix

  • budak (slave) to perbudak (treat someone like a slave)
    Tini suka perbudak ibunya (Tini often to treat her mom like a slave)

Usually, this type of verb is usually used in informal situation or people from Sumatra Island (because of Malay influence)

Other meaning of Indonesian Prefix Per-

Furthermore, the Indonesian ‘per-‘ prefix is also attached to few other words. The meaning that resulted by it are very diverse. Here are some ‘special’ word that also attached by this prefix.

  • buat (make) >> perbuat (do/done)
    Apa yang kamu buat? (What are you making)
    Apa yang kamu perbuat? (What have you done?)
  • daya (power/capability) >> perdaya (trick/take advantage)
    Dia perdaya perempuan tersebut untuk mendapat uang (He tricked her for money)
  • tapa (isolate himself/herself to practice severe self-discipline, usually because of religious belief) >> pertapa (n) (a person that do ‘tapa’/monk/ascetic)
    – Tono memutuskan menjadi seorang pertapa (Tono decided to become an ascetic) 

More to Know about Indonesian Language!

Even though there are only few words that form by ‘per-‘ as a single prefix, it doesn’t mean it less important than other prefixes. First, there are verbs that formed by adding ‘per-‘, another prefix such as ‘me-(N)’ or ‘di-‘ to a root word. Secondly, it is also functioned as a konfiks, usually paired together with ‘-an’ suffix or Suffix -Kan.

However, don’t be confuse if you found ‘per-‘  in any other form. It is also functioned as a particle (p) that have several meanings. In fact, it is used more often than ‘per-‘ as single affix. Here are some of it.

1. Indonesian Prefix Per- (p) that means every

  • Saya akan membayarmu per 30 hari (I will pay you every 30 days)
  • Dia mengendarai mobil itu dengan kecepatan seratus kilometer per jam (He drove the car at a speed of about 100 km per hour)

2. Indonesian Prefix Per- (p) means since/from (date)

  • Peraturan tersebut diterapkan per 20 Januari 2018 (The rule was implemented since January 2018)
  • Peraturan tersebut akan diterapkan per 20 Januari 2018 (The rule will be implemented from January 2018) 

3. Indonesian Prefix Per- (p) for fractions

In this occasion, the particle is attached to the second number.

  • Dua/tiga (two-third)
    Dua pertiga
    bumi adalah air (two-third of Earth is water)

However, if the first number is one (satu), there are two options to call it. The word ‘satu’ could be changed by Prefix “Se-“.

  • Satu/Tiga (one-third)
    Satu pertiga bumi adalah daratan (one-third of Earth is land)
    – Sepertiga bumi adalah daratan (one-third of Earth is land)

4. another meaning of Indonesian Prefix Per-

  • Silakan masuk satu per satu (Please get in one by one)
    *The ‘per’ is only used for the number ‘1’, but not for others. Moreover, in oral conversation the word ‘per’ is optional. You could say ‘satu satu’. which also means ‘one by one’. But, remember, it is only in oral conversation.

Indonesian ‘per-‘ prefix is a very tricky affix. Keep practicing will make you undedrstand more about it, as well as ‘per’ as a particle. Moreover, to enhance your Bahasa Indonesia Grammar, please check this following articles: