Indonesian language system

The Indonesian language has a rather easy way of forming words. There are base words (kata dasar) that can be used with prefixes (awalan) and suffixes (akhiran). To gain vocabulary, one only has to memorize the base word and the possible extended meanings may be apparent. Here are the simplified, general definitions:

Prefixes:

Suffixes:

Suffixes and prefixes can be used in combinations, too. Example: memperbaiki repair

Me* and pe* may have additional letters following depending on the first letter of the base word. Both have the same rules:

a meng

g meng

m me t men (t is removed)
b mem h meng n me u meng
c me i meng o meng v me
d men j men p mem (p is removed) w me
e meng k meng (k is removed) r me z men
f mem (f is removed) l me s meny (s is removed)

The first letter of some foreign-sounding base word is often not removed for clarity. Example: protes / memprotes.


Some examples follow. You may see that the above definitions are not exact, but an indication of how the prefixes and suffixes affect the word.

base word baik base word kuasa base word lepas
baik good
sebaiknya preferable
sebaik as good as
berbaik be on good terms with
berbaik-baik make peace
membaik improve
membaiki improve something, repair
membaikkan improve something, treat well
memperbaiki correct, repair
terbaik best
terbaiki repairable
kebaikan goodness
baikan improvement
pembaikan construction 
perbaikan upgrading
kuasa power, might
berkuasa hold the power
manguasai dominate
menguasakan authorize
terkuasai controllable
terkuasakan can be delegated
kekuasaan authority, control
penguasa one in authority
penguasaan mastery
lepas free, liberated
berlepas be unencumbered
melepas remove
melepasi discharge
melepaskan let something go
terlepas released
terlepaskan can be let loose
kelepasan freedom
lepasan ex-, former...
pelepas one who releases
pelepasan a dismissal
perlepasan a release

Reference for word definitions: An Indonesian-English dictionary / by John M. Echols and Hassan Shadily

There's an on-line dictionary "Kamus Indonesia-Inggris" .

See also:


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