– i

Suffix -i has two major functions:

  1. to indicate that the object is the location of the action
  2. to indicate repeated action

When suffix -i occurs with a base ending in i the sounds merge into one: beri + i = beri. The suffix “-i” is used mainly in writing and formal speech.

Many -i locative verbs have noun bases. It means ‘apply or give(base) to the object’.

Base In A Sentence Meaning
tandatangan
hormat
warna
garam
Dia menandatangani surat.
Kita harus menghormati orangtua.
Anak laki itu mewarnai gambarnya.
Ibu menggarami ayam goreng.
She signed the letter.[signature is applied]
We must respect our parents.
The boy colored his drawing.[color is applied]
Mother seasoned the fried chicken with salt.

In a few cases the verb(suffix -i with noun bases) means that what is expressed by the base is removed from the object.

Base In A Sentence Meaning
sisik
kulit
tulang
bulu
Dia sedangmenyisiki ikan.
Dia sedang menguliti ayam.
Dia sedang menulangi ayam.
Dia sedang membului ayam.
She is scaling the fish.
She is peeling the chicken skin.
She is removing the chicken bone.
She is plucking the chicken feather.

In a another case suffix -i with noun bases can mean ‘act as/be (base) with reference to object‘.

Base In A Sentence Meaning
sutradara
juara
wakil
dalang
Pak Irwanmenyutradarai film itu.
Dia menjuarai turnamen tenis itu.
Didi mewakili Indonesia di SEA Games.
Dialah yang mendalangi keributan ini.
Pak Irwan directed that movie.
He won the tennis tournament.
Didi represented Indonesia at SEA Games.
He is the one who masterminded the chaos.

With bases which indicate approximation or relative position the suffix -i verb means ‘become the distance indicated by the base from the object‘.

lampau
damping
dekat
lalu
past
close, flank
near
past
melampaui
mendampingi
mendekati
melalu
i
to pass by, exceed
to stand beside
to approach
to pass, to go through

The following suffix -i with verb bases have intransitive counterparts.

Base intransitive transitive
bohong
datang
tangis
percaya
berbohong
datang
menangis
percaya
lie
come
weep, cry
believe
membohongi
mendatangi
menangisi
mempercayai
lie to
come to, visit
to weep over, to cry over
trust, believe

Suffix -i can be added to a number of simple transitive verbs to indicate that the action is performed more than once.

Dia memukuli adiknya.
Polisi menanyai tersangka.
Dia menciumi anaknya.
Dia meyirami tanaman.
He hit his younger brother repeatedly.
The police interrogated the suspect.
She kisses her child a number of times.
He water the plants.

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

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