ber-

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.

Root In Sentence Meaning
nama
uban
debu
kulit
Ayah saya bernama Didi.
Rambut ibu saya sudah beruban.
Mejanya berdebu.
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’

Root In Sentence Meaning
kuda
topi
sepatu
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’

Root In Sentence Meaning
keringat
telur
bunyi
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.

Root In Sentence Meaning
tetangga
teman
tunangan
saingan
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.

Root In Sentence Meaning
ternak
dagang
Pak Tomo hidup dari beternak*.
Dia berdagang setiap hari.
Tomo earns his living by engaging in animal farming.
He engages in trade everyday.

*irregular prefix

Ber + Verb = Reflexive verb

A reflexive verb is one in which the subject of the verb does something to itself.

Root In Sentence Meaning
dansa
dandan
doa
henti
tanya
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?

Ber+ Adjective

Root In Sentence Meaning
sedih
gembira
duka
Kakak saya sering bersedih.
Dia sedang bergembira.
Saya ikut berduka.
My sister often feels sad.
She is in a happy state.
My condolences.

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’).

Notes

When the ‘root word’ begins with consonant ‘r’, then ‘r’ is lost or we drop one ‘r’. No double ‘r’ in prefix formation:

Root In Sentence Meaning
ber+ noun/verb
with ‘r’ as
the first letter
rambut
racun
ragam
rencana
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

Reference:
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)

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