The presence of suffix –kan is used primarily to derive causatives, that is to express causation or to cause something to happen. Many are based on an adjective. Most mean: to cause something to be [what the adjective says]. Examples:
|Lia membersihkan kamarnya.
Polisi membebaskan Hadi.
Dia menyelamatkan anaknya.
|Lia cleaned her room.
The police freed Hadi.
She saved her child.
|(i.e. she caused it to be bersih: clean)
(i.e. they caused him to be bebas: free)
(i.e. she caused it to be selamat: safe)
One special group is based on an adjective that describes a feeling. Examples:
|Kabar itu mengherankan.
Film ini membosankan.
|That news was surprising.
This film is boring.
His attitude is disappointing.
|[i.e. it causes one to be heran: surprised]
[i.e. it causes one to be bosan: bored]
[i.e. it causes one to be kecewa: disappointed]
Note that we did not say (although we could have):
|Kabar itu mengherankan kami.
Film ini membosankanpara penonton.
Sikapnya mengecewakan saya.
|That news surprised us.
This film bores the audience.
His attitude disappoints me.
We just said “Kabar itu mengherankan,” etc. These -kan verbs are used like adjectives. Often they can be translated by English adjectives ( “surprising”, “boring,” “disappointing”).
Many causative -kan verbs are based on an intransitive verb. Most mean: to cause something to do [the action of that verb]. Examples:
|Dia mengembalikan buku.
Dia membangunkan anaknya.
Saya menghentikan mobil.
|He returned the books.
She woke up her child.
I stopped the car.
|[i.e. he caused them to kembali: to return]
[i.e. she caused it to bangun: to wake up]
[i.e. I caused it to berhenti: to stop]
Some are based on a noun. A number mean: to cause something to be [what the noun says]. Examples:
|Dia mengorbankan kariernya demi keluarga.
Kami mencalonkan Pak Gafur sebagai ketua.
Mereka merahasiakan pembunuhan itu.
|She sacrificed her career for her family.
We nominated Pak Gafur as chairman
They kept those killings a secret.
|[i.e. she caused it to be a korban: a sacrifice]
[i.e. we caused him to be a calon: a candidate]
[i.e. they caused them to be a rahasia: a secret]
When the base noun is a place, the most common meaning is: to cause someone to go to that place. Examples:
|Mereka ingin sekali menyekolahkan anaknya.
Tahun lalu banyak mahasiswa yang dipenjarakan.
Karena resesi ekonomi banyak buruh yang harus dirumahkan.
|They really want to send their child to school.
Last year many university students were imprisoned.
Because of the economy recession a lot of workers needs to be made redundant
|[i.e. to cause it to go to a sekolah: school]
[i.e. were caused to go to a penjara: a prison]
[i.e. were caused to stay at home/made redundant]
Reference: Dr. Timothy Hassall, Indonesian Grammar, ANU – Canberra.