Full Reduplication

A word, whether simple or complex, can be fully reduplicated. It involves repeating the entire word where the two parts of the word are separated by a hyphen. What can be fully reduplicated?

  1. Free bases(root words): kupu-kupu; tiba-tiba; buku-buku
  2. Base + an affix or more: perubahan-perubahan(from base ubah); tulisan-tulisan(from base tulis)
  3. Reduplicated base + affixes: kemerah-merahan(from base merah); berkali-kali(from base kali); melihat-lihat(from base lihat)

Reduplication Without Corresponding Single Bases

Sometimes reduplicated forms have no unreduplicated counterparts to which they can be related. Such forms are often treated as single bases(root word) in dictionaries, although usually written with a hyphen.

Such forms include: tiba-tiba(suddenly); sia-sia(futile); pura-pura(pretend); megap-megap(pant); masing-masing(each).

Reduplication of Noun

Some nouns consisting of repeated forms are single bases(root words). Many of these words are names of plants, animals, types of food and instruments: cumi-cumi(squid); kupu-kupu(butterfly); alang-alang(tall grass species); gado-gado(mixed vegetable dish); oleh-oleh(gift). Sometimes it also refers to something having two or more similar parts: paru-paru(lungs); baling-baling(propeller); anting-anting(ear ring).

Reduplication That Produce Different Meaning
Reduplication may produce a meaning which is different but nevertheless related to the meaning of the single base(root word), or similarity.

Base Meaning Reduplication Meaning
kuda-kuda and kuda-kudaan*
sweets, lollies
easel, tresle and toy horses
toy cars

*) Kuda-kuda can also indicate plurality. See below. Kuda-kudaan is toy horse.

Reduplication to Indicate Plurality
Both simple and complex nouns can be reduplicated to indicate plurality: rumah-rumah(house); perubahan-perubahan(changes); singkatan-singkatan(abbreviations); kuda-kuda(horses), sayur-sayuran(vegetables)

Reduplication of Verbs

Sometimes bases are repeated and affixes then attached to them. There are several functions:

1. To give a connotation of action done in a casual or leisurely way:

Kami keliling-keliling di kebun teh.
Di toko itu kami hanya melihat-lihat.
Dia suka tidur-tiduran di lantai.
Anak-anak sedang duduk-duduk di bawah pohon.
We are just going around the tea plantation.
In that shop we were just looking around/browsing.
He likes lying down on the floor.
The children are sitting about under the tree.

2. To indicate continued action:

Dia berteriak-teriak memanggil ibunya.
Kayu itu terapung-apung di sungai.
Dia menangis terisak-isak.
Jangan suka menunda-nunda pekerjaan.
He shouted and shouted for his mother.
The wood floated in the river.
She sobs continuously.
Don’t keep delaying the work.

3. To give a meaning somewhat different from that of the single form, usually conveying a sense of intensity:



Kelakuannya menjadi-jadi. – His behavior is getting worse.
Dia selalu membesar-besarkan persoalan. – He always exaggerate the problem.
Setiap minggu kami berganti-ganti ruang rapat. –
Every week we keep changing the meeting room
Saya tidak akan meminta-minta. – I will not beg.

4. Accompanied by ‘tidak’ it can indicate that the action has not occurred, usually implying that this is contrary to expectation;

Sudah seminggu dia tidak masuk-masuk.
Saya tidak bertanya-tanya soal itu.
He hasn’t turned up for a week.
I didn’t ask for that matter.

Reduplication of Pronouns

This is for emphasis and give a negative overtone:

Mengapa hanya saya-saya yang selalu diberi tugas?
Jangan ribut di sini, beliau-beliau sedang rapat!
Why is it always poor old me who gets these jobs?
Don’t be noisy, the big shots are having a meeting!

Reduplication of Adjectives

Reduplication of Adjectives explains intensity or degree of intensity, it is also used to form adverbs:

Kecil-kecil sudah mencuri.
Tua-tua kurang ajar.
Barang di toko itu mahal-mahal.
Semahal-mahalnya barang itu dia masih membelinya.
Dialah teman saya yang sebaik-baiknya.
Jangan berkata yang tidak-tidak.
Dia sudah pergi diam-diam.
Jangan sekali-kali kau berani berbuat begitu lagi.
Saya akan coba sebisa-bisanya.
Even though he is still young, he already steals.
Even though he’s already old, he doesn’t act accordingly.
All the stuff in that store are very expensive.
However expensive that stuff he still buys it.
He is the kindest friend.
Don’t talk nonsense.
He has left secretly/quietly.
Don’t ever dare doing it again.
I will try my best

Reduplication of Numbers

This forms adverbs meaning ‘in a group of so many’:

Bicaralah satu-satu.
Mereka masuk dua-dua.
Speak one at time.
They came in two at a time.

Reduplication as a means of forming Adverbs

Nouns, adjectives, verbs, numerals, when reduplicated may form adverbials. They can also show plurality.

Datanglah pagi-pagi supaya tidak terlambat.
Mengapa malam-malam baru berangkat?
Dia pergi diam-diam.
Datang-datang dia langsung menangis.
Saya sudah memikirkannya masak-masak.
Come early so you won’t be late.
Why do you leave so late at night?
He went away quietly.
As soon as she arrived, she cried immediately.
I have thought about it carefully.

Indonesian Reference Grammar By Dr. James N. Sneddon
Dr. Uli Kozok
, University of Hawaii in Manoa
Indonesian Grammar Made Easy by Dr. Liaw Yock Fang, TIMES 1996

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