To Form Adjectives

It can be attached to adjectives to form the comparative:

Adjective Meaning With Suffix -an Meaning
true, real
Kok sekarang gemukan?
Cepetan dikit jalannya.
Pinteran gua dibandingin elu.
Harganya beneran murah!
How come you’re fatter now?
Please walk faster.
I am more clever than you.
The price us really cheap.

It emphasizes the meaning:

Adjective Meaning With Suffix -an Meaning
bener true, real Harganya beneran murah! The price us really cheap.

To Form Verbs

It occurs with some verbs which correspond to ber- .. -an verbs in formal Indonesian. These verbs are reciprocals, indicating that two people do the same thing to each other.

Formal Form Colloquial Form Meaning
Mereka sudah lama berpacaran.
Umumnya Aries dan Libra selalu bermusuhan.
Mereka udah lama pacaran.
Biasanya Aries sama Libra suka musuhan.
They have been dating for a while.
Usually Aries and Libra are enemies with each other.

It can also occur reduplicated to indicate continued action:

Formal Form Colloquial Form Meaning
Mereka sedang berkejar-kejaran.
Sejak tadi Toni dan Nina saling melihat satu sama lain.
Karena dia maka saya pun mengikuti jejaknya.
Mereka lagi kejar-kejaran.
Dari tadi Toni dan Nina liat-liatan terus.
Gara-gara dia gue jadi ikut-ikutan.
They are running around.
Toni and Nina have been gazing at each other.
He made me follow him around or follow what he’s doing.

In a few cases the -an form corresponds to ber- .. -an form in formal Indonesian which is not reciprocal but indicates random action by a number of people or continued action.

Formal Form Colloquial Form Meaning
Kami bertiduran di lantai.
Dia berjualan di pasar.
Kami tiduran di lantai.
Dia jualan di pasar.
We lay about on the floor.
She earned her living by selling things in the market.

Some colloquial verbs have no corresponding ber- verb in formal Indonesian. A noun derived with suffix-an directly acting as a verb.

Noun Colloquial Form Meaning
Besok siang gue musti rekaman.
Anak gue lagi ujian hari ini.
Gue ikutan dong.
I have to do some recording tomorrow afternoon.
My child is doing an exam today.
I would like to join in please.

In a few cases the -an verb also corresponds to prefix ber- only in formal Indonesian.

Formal Form Colloquial Form Meaning
Saya sudah lama berteman dengan dia.
Dia rajin berlatih piano.
Gua udah lama temenan sama dia.
Dia rajin latihan piano.
She and I have been friends for a while.
He practices piano diligently.

Reference: Colloquial Jakartan Indonesian by James Neil Sneddon, 2006.

For more information or articles about colloquial, colloquial Indonesian, colloquial Jakartan Indonesian by Dr. Timothy Hassall from ANU, Canberra, Australia, click here.

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