Learn Indonesian Word Formation Easy and Fast

Berjumpa lagi di MasteringBahasa! Halo! Apa kabar? Welcome to MasteringBahasa! A site that is designed for you to learn Indonesian language in days! Hey, are you interested to understand what were we said before? You can learn them in our Indonesian Greetings article! Today’s article is about Indonesian Word Formation! Are you excited? We hope so! So break a leg and let’s get started today and now!

If you have been following us this whole time, you probably had learned about Indonesian Reduplication WordsIndonesian Compound Words, and Indonesian Affixes Lists. If you haven’t, kindly check it, please! Because we are going to have the next level learning from those! Are you still excited? Great! Let’s do it!

1. Reduplication Words

According to Gorrys Kerraf (1991), reduplication words are grammatical form which duplicates half or all morfems in a word/ There are many forms of reduplication words in Indonesian language. We have discussed about reduplication in our article of  Indonesian Reduplication Words. There, you can learn about Full Reduplication and Partial Reduplication. Reduplication can be used to mention plurals. You can learn How to Learn Indonesian Plurals too if you need so.

  • Full Reduplication

The Indonesian translation of “Full Reduplication” is “Reduplikasi Utuh” or “Reduplikasi Penuh”. Not only that, there is another kind of word for “Full Reduplication”. We know it as “Dwilingga”, a word known in Sundanese and Javanese languages. First, here is a list as examples of full reduplication which turn some words into plural form:

Root Word[/th] [th]Meaning[/th] [th]Reduplicated Word[/th] [th]Meaning

Ibu[/td] [td]Mother[/td] [td]Ibu-ibu[/td] [td]Middle-upper aged woman, women

Bapak[/td] [td]Father[/td] [td]Bapak-bapak[/td] [td]Middle-upper aged man, men

Murid[/td] [td]Student[/td] [td]Murid-murid[/td] [td]Student

Anak[/td] [td]Child[/td] [td]Anak-anak[/td] [td]Children

Macam[/td] [td]Variant[/td] [td]Macam-macam[/td] [td]Many Variants

Rumah[/td] [td]House[/td] [td]Rumah-rumah[/td] [td]Houses

Kecil[/td] [td]Small[/td] [td]Kecil-kecil[/td] [td]Small things, children in early age

Here are some examples for their usage in sentences!

  • Panti asuhan itu memelihara anak-anak yang pandai.
    The orphanage nurtures briliant children.
  • Murid-murid di kelas 6A sedang belajar Matematika.
    The students of 6A class are studying Mathematics.
  • Saya suka makan di restoran Padang karena mereka menyediakan macam-macam lauk pauk.
    I like to eat in Padangnese restaurant as they serve variants of side dishes.
  • Cabe yang dijual di pasar memiliki ukuran yang kecil-kecil.
    The chilis that are sold in traditional market has small size.

Second, here is a list a list of examples of full reduplication which turn some words into another type of word:

Root Word[/th] [th]Meaning[/th] [th]Reduplicated Word[/th] [th]Meaning

Tiba[/td] [td]Arrived[/td] [td]Tiba-tiba[/td] [td]Arrived Unexpectedly, Suddenly

Sama[/td] [td]Equals[/td] [td]Sama-sama[/td] [td](Greetings) Your Welcome

Kedip[/td] [td]Wink[/td] [td]Kedip-kedip[/td] [td]Blinking

Jalan[/td] [td]Walk[/td] [td]Jalan-jalan[/td] [td]Window shopping

Here are some examples of Indonesian Word Formation and how to apply them in sentences!

  • Saya suka jalan-jalan di pasar Minggu.
    I like to have a window shopping in Sunday market.
  • Ketika Antonia mengerjakan PR, tiba-tiba mati lampu.
    When Antonia is doing her homework, suddenly there is power failure.

As we mentioned that “sama-sama” is a greeting. To learn more of Indonesian greetings, check this 80 Indonesian Greetings out!

Yet there are some words that looks like reduplication words but actually they aren’t . Some of them are animals:

Word[/th] [th]Meaning

Laba-laba[/td] [td]Spiders

Lumba-lumba[/td] [td]Dolphin

Ubur-ubur[/td] [td]Jellyfish

Undur-undur[/td] [td]Antlion

Kupu-kupu[/td] [td]Butterfly

Gado-gado[/td] [td]Authentic Salad from Jakarta

Pura-pura[/td] [td]Pretending

Cumi-cumi[/td] [td]Squid

Ubun-ubun[/td] [td]Forehead

Kura-kura[/td] [td]Turtle

Ongol-ongol[/td] [td]Sundanese Rice Cake

  • Partial Reduplication

In Indonesian language, we should understand Partial Reduplication too. Indonesian people understand the term in “Dwipurwa” as well. As what Gorrys Kerraf has said, in Indonesian language, reduplication can also be applied even only a morphem of a word. Here are some examples of Partial Reduplication:

Root Word[/th] [th]Meaning[/th] [th]Reduplicated Word[/th] [th]Meaning

Luhur[/td] [td]Noble[/td] [td]Leluhur[/td] [td]Ancestors

Tangga[/td] [td]Stairs[/td] [td]Tetangga[/td] [td]Neighbors

Laki[/td] [td]Male[/td] [td]Lelaki[/td] [td]Man

Saji[/td] [td]To serve[/td] [td]Sesaji[/td] [td]Offerings

Tamu[/td] [td]Guest[/td] [td]Tetamu[/td] [td]Guests

Here are some examples:

  • Kami menyajikan sesaji untuk para leluhur kami.
    We serve offerings for our ancestors.
  • Lelaki itu berdiam diri bagaikan patung di depan makam kekasihnya.
    That man is standing like a statue in front of his girlfriend tomb.

If you curious how to use pronouns in Indonesian, kindly check Types of Indonesian Pronouns! They are super helpful!

2. Compound Words

We have discussed about compound words in our article of Indonesian Compound Words. We have discussed about many varieties of new word formations by combining two words from, even, different word class in Indonesian language. Like “Rumah” (House) and “Sakit” (Sick) can be combined into “Rumah Sakit”, Hospital. You can check them in our article. For this Indonesian Word Formation, we are going to show you how to use them instead! Please check Indonesian Compound Words to learn the compound words!

  • Saya bersama ibu sedang makan di rumah makan Padang.
    I am with my mother is eating in Padangnese restaurant.
  • Lisa dan Karin lupa membawa air minum ketika mendaki gunung Tangkuban Perahu.
    Lisa and Karin forgot to bring their drinking water when climbing Tangkuban Perahu.
  • Tulisan pak dokter seperti cakar ayam.
    The doctor has bad writing.
  • Devon merasa maju mundur untuk melamar pekerjaan sebagai guru.
    Devon is doubtful to apply job as a teacher.
  • Ibu makan bawang melihat piring kesayangannya dipecahkan adik.
    My mother is very angry to see her beloved plate is broken because of my sister.
  • Aku belum pernah menaiki kapal selam.
    I never been in submarine.

Those examples are useful for your daily conversation. If you want to make your daily conversations more epic, you can use slang words! It will be fun if you use them! Likely check our article of Indonesian Slang Words if you are interested to make fun conversation with your friends!

3. Indonesian Infixes

Infixes is a part of Affixes. We have discussed about Affixes in our article of Indonesian Affixes. We understand “infixes” as “sisipan”. “Sisipan” literally means something that is put between two parts. In Indonesian language, there are five infixes. They need a word, then the infix put itself inside the word:

  • Infixes – el –

Root Word[/th] [th]Meaning[/th] [th]Infixed Word[/th] [th]MeaningJajah[/td] [td]To explore, to conquer[/td] [td]Jelajah[/td] [td]To exploreGeber[/td] [td]A curtain[/td] [td]Geleber[/td] [td]To DangleGembung[/td] [td]To bloat[/td] [td]Gelembung[/td] [td]BubblesGetar[/td] [td]To shake, to vibrate[/td] [td]Geletar[/td] [td]ShakenGigi[/td] [td]Tooth[/td] [td]Geligi[/td] [td]ShiveringGogok[/td] [td]Gulping[/td] [td]Gelogok[/td] [td]Drinking in a big amount of liquid

Gosok[/td] [td]Scrubing[/td] [td]Gelosok[/td] [td]Scrubing with power

Luhur[/td] [td]Noble[/td] [td]Leluhur[/td] [td]Ancerstors

Maju[/td] [td]To move forward[/td] [td]Melaju[/td] [td]To drive

Patuk[/td] [td]Pecking[/td] [td]Pelatuk[/td] [td]Trigger

Sidik[/td] [td]Fingerprint[/td] [td]Selidik[/td] [td]Investigation

Tapak[/td] [td]Steps[/td] [td]Telapak[/td] [td]Treads

Tunjuk[/td] [td]To point[/td] [td]Telunjuk[/td] [td]Point finger

Tungkup[/td] [td]To lay down[/td] [td]Telungkup[/td] [td]To face down

  • Infixes – er –

Root Word[/th] [th]Meaning[/th] [th]Infixed Word[/th] [th]MeaningSabut[/td] [td]Fiber[/td] [td]Serabut[/td] [td]Fibers
Suling[/td] [td]Pipe[/td] [td]Seruling[/td] [td]FluteGendang[/td] [td]Drum[/td] [td]Gerendang[/td] [td]To kickGigi[/td] [td]Tooth[/td] [td]Gerigi[/td] [td]GearKudung[/td] [td]To cover[/td] [td]Kerudung[/td] [td]Veil

Runtuh[/td] [td]Rumble[/td] [td]Reruntuh[/td] [td]Rumbles

Panjat[/td] [td]To climb[/td] [td]Peranjat[/td]


Cerita[/td] [td]To tell a story, story[/td] [td]Ceritera[/td] [td]Stories

  • Infixes – em –

Root Word[/th] [th]Meaning[/th] [th]Infixed Word[/th] [th]MeaningCerlang[/td] [td]Light[/td] [td]Cemerlang[/td] [td]Glowing so BrightJari[/td] [td]Finger[/td] [td]Jemari[/td] [td]FingersKuning[/td] [td]Yellow[/td] [td]Kemuning[/td] [td]Murraya paniculata

Kelut[/td] [td]In annoying situation[/td] [td]Kemelut[/td] [td]In dangerous situation

Tali[/td] [td]Rope[/td] [td]Temali[/td] [td]Braid

Turun[/td] [td]Down[/td] [td]Temurun[/td] [td]Heritage

Gembung[/td] [td]Bloat[/td] [td]Gelembung[/td] [td]Bloatin

Gebyar[/td] [td]Sparkling[/td] [td]Gemebyar[/td] [td]Very sparkling

Geretak[/td] [td]Cracking sound[/td] [td]Gemeretak[/td] [td]Loud cracking sound

Gerincing[/td] [td]Tingkling Sound[/td] [td]Gemerincing[/td] [td]Clattering sound

Gerisik[/td] [td]Leaves sound[/td] [td]Gemerisik[/td] [td]Intense leaves sound

Gerlap[/td] [td]Shiny[/td] [td]Gemerlap[/td] [td]Very Shiny

Gertak[/td] [td]Snapping[/td] [td]Gemertak[/td] [td]Chattering

Gilap[/td] [td]Shining[/td] [td]Gemilap[/td] [td]Very Shiny

Gilang[/td] [td]Bright[/td] [td]Gemilang[/td] [td]Very Bright

Gulung[/td] [td]To roll[/td] [td]Gemulung[/td] [td]Rolled

Guntur[/td] [td]Thunder[/td] [td]Gemuntur[/td] [td]Sound of Thunder

Guruh[/td] [td]Thunder[/td] [td]Gemuruh[/td] [td]Sound of Storm

  • Infixes – in –

Root Word[/th] [th]Meaning[/th] [th]Infixed Word[/th] [th]MeaningKerja[/td] [td]To work[/td] [td]Kinerja[/td] [td]A ProcessSambung[/td] [td]To connect[/td] [td]Sinambung[/td] [td]ConnectionTambah[/td] [td]To add[/td] [td]Tinambah[/td] [td]To add a lot

  • Infixes – ah –

Root Word[/th] [th]Meaning[/th] [th]Infixed Word[/th] [th]MeaningBagian[/td] [td]A part[/td] [td]Bahagian[/td] [td]A partBaru[/td] [td]New[/td] [td]Baharu[/td] [td]To renewBasa[/td] [td]To connect arguments[/td] [td]Bahasa[/td] [td]Language

Cari[/td] [td]To search[/td] [td]Cahari[/td] [td]To Search

Dulu[/td] [td]Past[/td] [td]Dahulu[/td] [td]Past time

Rayu[/td] [td]Wry[/td] [td]Rahayu[/td] [td]Safe

Saja[/td] [td]Only that[/td] [td]Sahaja[/td] [td]Only and only that

Saya[/td] [td]I[/td] [td]Sahaya[/td] [td]I (as courtesy)

4. Indonesian Imitative Words

Imitative Words are word formations that replicates sounds. This type of words means that you are mentioning somethings’ sounds. Indonesian people understand it as “Kata Tiruan Bunyi” If you notice from the infixed word, there are some imitative words too, like “gemuruh” and “gemerlap”. It also similar with “onomatopoeia” in English!

Imitative Verbs[/th] [th]Meaning

Mengeong[/td] [td]Cat’s meow

Menggonggong[/td] [td]Dog’s bark

Gemericik[/td] [td]Water sound

Gemuruh[/td] [td]Storm’s sound

Gelegar[/td] [td]Thunder’s sound

Berkokok[/td] [td]Rooster’s crow

Mengembik[/td] [td]Goat’s Bleat

Melenguh[/td] [td]Cow’s moo

Gemerisik[/td] [td]Leave’s sound

Berdesir[/td] [td]Wind’s sound

Berderik[/td] [td]Wood’s sound

Berdegup[/td] [td]Heart thump

Berdekut[/td] [td]Pigeon’s sound

Berdentang[/td] [td]Bell’s sound

Meringkik[/td] [td]Horse’s neigh

Berkicau[/td] [td]Bird’s chirp

Berdenting[/td] [td]Small metal’s sound

Menyeruput[/td] [td]Sipping’s sound

Here are some examples of the application in sentences:

  • Jantungku berdegup setiap kali aku bertemu dengan dirinya di lorong sekolah.
    My heart is thumping every time I meet him in school corridor.
  • Lia suka pergi ke taman untuk mendengar suara burung berkicau.
    Lia likes to go to the park to listen bird’s chirping.
  • Leo tidak sengaja menjatuhkan sendok dan sendok itu berdenting.
    Leo accidentally drops a spoon and makes it clinking.
  • Anehnya, suara gemuruh justru membuat diriku terlelap.
    Strangely, the storm’s sound makes me fall asleep.
  • Arnold tidak bisa tidur hingga ayam berkokok.
    Arnold can’t sleep until the rooster crows.

So those are Indonesian Word Formation that you can learn! Pretty easy, no? Thank you so much for joining us today! Do not forget to share our articles in your Twitter, Facebook, and Google+! By doing so, you are helping your friends to learn Bahasa Indonesia too! Terima kasih! Sampai jumpa lagi di MasteringBahasa!