me-

A prefix is attached before the base or root word. A number of sound changes occur when the following prefixes are combined with root words in order to facilitate a smooth transition in pronunciation. What the sound will be in a particular word depends on the first sound of the root word following the prefix.

Examples

First Letter Inflection Root Word Example Meaning
l
m
ny
r
w
me + root lihat
masak
nyanyi
rusak
wabah
melihat
masak
menyanyi
merusak
mewabah
to see
to cook
to sing
to destroy
to become epidemic
Vowel
g
h
me + ng alir
gali
hapus
mengalir
menggali
menghapus
to flow
to dig
to erase
c
d
j
me + n cuci
didik
jual
mencuci
mendidik
menjual
to wash
to educate
to sell
b
f
v
me + m buat
fokus
vonis
membuat
memfokus
memvonis
to make
to focus
to sentence
First Letter Inflection Root Word Example Meaning
k me + ng + drop the ‘k’ kenang mengenang to remember
t me + n + drop the ‘t’ tulis menulis to write
s me + ny + drop the ‘s’ sapu menyapu to sweep
First Letter Inflection Root Word Example Meaning
p me + m + drop the ‘p’ pilih memilih to choose
p* me + m + root word + suffix ‘i’ punya
pengaruh
mempunyai
mempengaruhi
to have, to own
to influence

*) In this case first letter or initial ā€˜pā€™ is retained.

With single syllable bases, which are all borrowings from other languages, me- optionally becomes menge-. In this case initial p. t. s and k are not lost as forms without them would sometimes be difficult to interpret.

Examples

Monosyllabic Inflection Example Meaning
cat me + nge mengecat to paint
pel mengepel to mop
bom mengebom to bomb

Prefix me- can also be combined with any nouns, any adjective, numbers, and even verbs themselves to form another verb as follows:

me+ transitive Verb*

Root Word Examples Meaning Remarks
masak Dia memasak(or ‘masak’) nasi She cooks rice ‘masak’ can be used in their infinitive forms
makan Dia makan nasi She eats rice ‘makan’ is used in their infinitive forms
minum Dia minum susu She drinks milk ‘minum’ is used in their infinitive forms

me+ intransitive Verb**

Root Word Examples Meaning Remarks
nangis Dia menangis She cries most intransitive verbs can be used in their infinitive forms
Dia nangis(casual) She cries most intransitive verbs can be used in their infinitive forms

me+ Noun

Root Word Examples Meaning Remarks
rokok Dia merokok He’s smoking
kopi Ngopi yuk! Let’s have coffee ‘ngopi’ derives from ‘mengopi’ but ‘mengopi’ is slang word

me+ Adjective

Root Word Examples Meaning Remarks
besar Badannya membesar His body is getting bigger it indicates the subject changes

me+ Number

Root Word Examples Meaning
satu Menyatu dengan alam Blend(become one) with the nature

me+ Place

Root Word Examples Meaning
darat Pesawat itu mendarat hari ini That planes lands today

me+ Expletive

Root Word Examples Meaning
erang Dia mengerang She groans

* Transitive verbs: verbs that can have objects
** Intransitive verbs: verbs that cannot have objects, [almost] equivalent to reflexive verbs

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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