ter- and ke-

In formal Indonesian prefix ter- has several functions, however in colloquial Indonesian only accidental verb can take ke- instead of ter-.

Formal Form Colloquial Form Meaning
Jangan termakan oleh cinta saja.
Pencurinya sudah tertangkap.
Jangan tertawa keras-keras.
Jangan kemakan ama cinta aja.
Pencurinya udah ketangkep.
Jangan ketawa keras-keras.
Don’t be consumed by love alone.
The thief has been caught.
Don’t laugh too loud.

Prefix ke- can also occur with verbs indicating ability, or with a negative, inability.

Formal Form Colloquial Form Meaning
Apakah tulisannya terbaca?
Rumahnya tidak terurus.
Tulisannya kebaca nggak?
Rumahnya nggak keurus.
Can you read his writing?
He is not able to take care of his house.

The following sentence combines the prefix ke- that indicates inability and then accidental:

Formal Form Colloquial Form Meaning
Seandainya tidak terbeli sekarang nanti terbawa mimpi. Kalo nggak kebeli sekarang nanti kebawa ngimpi. If she can’t buy it now, she’s going to dream about it.

In a few context prefix ke- can occur where prefix ter- doesn’t occur such as the following:

Formal Form Colloquial Form Meaning
Kemarin saya bertemu Doni.
Lamaran saya belum tentu diterima.
Saya ingin sekolah lagi.
Itu lebih baik dibandingkan harus bekerja.
Kemaren gue ketemu Doni.
Lamaran gue belom tentu keterima.
Saya kepengen sekolah lagi.
Itu lebih baik ketimbang harus kerja.
or Itu lebih baik dibandingin harus bekerja.
I met/saw Doni yesterday.
I am not certain that my application will be accepted.
I want to study again.
That’s better rather than(compared with) to having to work.

There is no tertemu, terterima, tertimbang, teringin.

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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