Prefix ber- can be combined with a noun, adjective or a verb.
Ber + Noun is ‘to have’
The general meaning of prefix ber- is “to have” the thing represented by the noun. For example: ber + rumah = to have a house; ber+mobil = to have a car.
|Ayah saya bernama Didi.
Rambut ibu saya sudah beruban.
Dia berkulit putih
|My father’s name is Didi.
My mother’s hair has grays.
His desk is dusty(literally ‘have dust‘).
She has fair skin.
Ber + Noun is ‘to use, to wear, to travel by’
|Ayah saya berkuda setiap hari Minggu.
Lihatlah orang yang bertopi itu.
Dia selalu berbapak kepada saya.
|My father rides a horse every Sunday.
Look at that person who wears a hat.
He always use ‘bapak’ when speaking to me
Ber + Noun is ‘produce’
|Cuaca panas membuat saya berkeringat.
Ayam-ayam kami sudah bertelur.
Pintu rumah kami selalu berbunyi kalau dibuka.
|The hot weather makes me sweating.
Our hens have laid eggs.
Our house door always make a sound every time we open it.
Ber + Noun is ‘reciprocal’
It indicates two people stand in the same relationship to each other as specified by the base.
|Ali dan Tomo bertetangga Didi.
Saya dan Susi sudah berteman lama.
Toni dan Nina bertunangan kemarin.
Dia dan kakaknya selalu bersaing.
|Ali dan Tomo are neighbors.
Susi and I have been friends for long.
Toni and Nina got engaged (to each other) yesterday.
He and his older brother always compete with each other.
Ber + Noun/Verb refers to work
The work is regularly performed or done for a living.
|Pak Tomo hidup dari beternak*.
Dia berdagang setiap hari.
|Tomo earns his living by engaging in animal farming.
He engages in trade everyday.
Ber + Verb = Reflexive verb
A reflexive verb is one in which the subject of the verb does something to itself.
|Kakak saya suka berdansa.
Dia perlu waktu lama untuk berdandan.
Dia berdoa setiap malam.
Taxi kami berhenti di depan rumah.
Boleh saya bertanya?
|My sister loves to dance.
She needs a lot of time to dress up.
She prays every night.
Our taxi stops in front of the house.
May I ask?
|Kakak saya sering bersedih.
Dia sedang bergembira.
Saya ikut berduka.
|My sister often feels sad.
She is in a happy state.
The Irregular Prefix ber-
‘ber’ + ‘kerja’ = ‘bekerja’ means ‘work’
‘ber’ + ‘ternak’ = ‘beternak’ means ‘engage in farming’
‘ber’ + ‘serta’ = ‘beserta’ means ‘along with’
‘ber’ + ‘ajar’ = ‘belajar’ means ’study/learn’(with the base ‘ajar’ the ‘r’ of the prefixes is replaced by ‘l’).
When the ‘root word’ begins with consonant ‘r’, then ‘r’ is lost or we drop one ‘r’. No double ‘r’ in prefix formation:
with ‘r’ as
the first letter
|Kakak saya berambut panjang
Tanaman itu beracun
Jenis barang yang dijual beragam
Dia suka berencana
|My sister has long hair
That plant is toxical
The stuff that she sells are diversed
He likes to have plan
Indonesian: A Comprehensive Grammar (Routledge Grammars) by James Neil Sneddon(Dec 26, 1996)
Understanding Indonesian Grammar: A Student’s Reference and Workbook by James Neil Sneddon (Mar 2008)