– an

Suffix -an derives nouns from verbs and to a lesser extent, from nouns, adjectives and other classes. It also occurs with full and partial duplication. It has a number of different functions.

It attaches to verb bases:

Verb Base Meaning Noun Meaning
lukis
tulis
minum
pilih
to paint
to write
to drink
to choose
lukisan
tulisan
minuman
pilihan
picture
writing
drink
choice

It acts as modifiers to another noun:

barang curian
binatang buruan
rumah sewaan
budak belian
stolen goods
hunted animals
rented house
bought slaves

The followings are action nouns that describe the action of the verb and can occur as head of a phrase containing prepositions such as terhadap.

ancaman terhadap pemerintah
tuntutan rakyat
bantuan bank dunia
larangan terhadap pornografi
buatan Amerika
threat on the government
people’s demand
World bank aid/help
prohibition on the pornography
made in America

To indicate the instruments:

timbangan
kendaraan
saluran
angkutan
scale
vehicle
channel
transport
bendungan
parkiran
gantungan
ayunan
dam
parking place
hanger
craddle

It attaches to noun bases:

Noun Base Meaning Noun + an Meaning
darat
gambar
pasar
keluh
hari
minggu
bulan
tahun
jam
land
picture
market
sigh, groan
day
week
month
year
hour
daratan
gambaran
pasaran
keluhan
harian
mingguan
bulanan
tahunan
jam-jaman
*
mainland
description
market
complain
daily
weekly
monthly
yearly
hourly

*) This is an exception for one syllable root word.

To indicate a variety of what is indicated by the base. It is common with words for plants.

obat-obatan
pohon-pohonan
bunga-bungaan
buah-buahan
sayur-sayuran
daun-daunan
medicines
all kind of trees
all kind of flowers
all kind of fruits
all kind of vegetables
foliage

To indicate something that resembles or imitates what the base specifies:

mobil-mobilan
perang-perangan
orang-orangan
toy car
manouvres
puppet, scarecrow

It attaches to adjective bases:

Adjective Base Meaning Noun Meaning
asin
kotor
lanjut
manis
samar
salty
dirty
advanced
sweet
vague, indistinct
asinan
kotoran
lanjutan
manisan
samaran
pickle, salted vegetables
excrement, garbage
continuation
sweets
camouflage, disguise

A few forms with either full and partial duplication have verbal bases:

Verbal Base Meaning Noun Meaning
runtuh
tumbuh
goreng
saji
collapse
grow
fry
offer
reruntuhan
tumbuh-tumbuhan, tetumbuhan
goreng-gorengan
sesajian
ruins
all sorts of plants
fried foods
temple offerings

Reference:
Indonesian Reference Grammar by James Neil Sneddon, 1996.

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