***Mysteries of meN- further explained***
Step One: Think of this as a useful life-lesson in abstract thinking. You intend to bill yourself as a university graduate. You are able to do this.
Step Two: Print off the various Fun Handouts, to have as references:
Step Three: Ok, here’s the deal. This prefix can take the form mem-, men-, meng-, meny-, or me-, depending on what letter starts the root verb. There is a pattern here, but however you want to remember it, it goes as follows:
for words starting with p drop the p, add mem- pukul => memukul
for words starting with b keep the b, add mem- baca => membaca
for words starting with f keep the f, add mem- fitnah => memfitnah
for words starting with v keep the v, add mem- veto => memveto
for words starting with t drop the t, add men- tonton => menonton
for words starting with d keep the d, add men- dengar => mendengar
for words starting with c keep the c, add men- cari => mencari
for words starting with j keep the j, add men- jual => menjual
for words starting with k drop the k, add meng- kenal => mengenal
for words starting with g keep the g, add meng- ganggu => mengganggu
for words starting with h keep the h, add meng- hafal => menghafal
for words starting with a vowel, keep the vowel, add meng- ambil => mengambil
inap => menginap, etc.
for words starting with s drop the s, add meny- sewa => menyewa
for words starting with r, l, y, or w, keep these letters and add me- lihat => melihat
for words starting with m, n, ng, or ny keep these letters and add me- nyanyi => menyanyikan
Step Four: Now realize that since Indonesian dictionaries list words by their roots, confusion can result. For example, menyelesaikan could, theoretically, come from adding meny- and dropping the s from selesai(kan), or from adding me- to nyelesai(kan). Likewise, memiliki could come from adding me- to milik(i), or from adding mem- and dropping the p from pilik(i). If you didn’t know the root, you would have to look up both possibilities in the dictionary. Furthermore, if you had the word mengobati, it could theoretically come from (1) dropping k and adding meng- to kobat, or (2) from adding meng- to obat, or (3) from adding me- to ngobat.
This would NOT be a problem for something like mengganti or mendapat or membesarkan, because the roots would be ganti, dapat, and besar(kan) – the first letter of the root ISN’T dropped, so you know how the root begins.
In order to deal with the meN- forms where there is more than one possibility, I developed the rules laid out in the meN-’s room handout: http://www.seasite.niu.edu/Indonesian/TataBahasa/prefix/Prefix_me-/menrules.htm
FIRST: Realize that ny and ng don’t break down into n plus y or n plus g. That’s just the way it is.
SECOND: Look at the word, and see what comes after mem-, men-, meng- or meny-. Is it a consonant? If so, the root starts with that consonant and there are no other possibilities.
THIRD: If it’s a vowel,
there are TWO possibilities for mem-, men-, and meny-: The root
could start with m, n, or ny, or with the consonant that
disappeared: p, t, or s, respectively.
There are THREE possibilities for meng-: the root could start with ng, or with the k that disappeared, or with a vowel – a,e,i,o,u.
FOURTH: In the case of me- followed by r,l,w, or y, the root begins with those letters, no other possibilities.
kayakan mengayakan “to make someone rich”
jalankan menjalankan “to make something move”
inap menginap “to stay (temporarily)”
masak memasak “to cook”
pakai memakai “to wear or use”
lihat melihat “to see”
sembuhkan menyembuhkan “to cure”
gunakan menggunakan “to use”
beli membeli “to buy”
turut menurut “according to”
Finding the possible root(s); the correct one is bolded; don’t worry about –kan and –i suffixes.
mengecilkan [meng followed by vowel = root could start with the vowel e, or with ng, or with k] ecil, ngecil, kecil
menghitung [meng followed by consonant h = root could only start with h] hitung
mengikuti [meng followed by vowel = root could
start with the vowel i, or
with ng, or
memilih [mem followed by vowel = root could start with m or with p] milih, pilih
membaca [mem followed by consonant b = root could only start with b] baca
Print off the following for practice --
cover the right column, then check your work (to practice adding meN-, cover the
For additional practice see this site.
memesan pesan, mesan
menyampaikan sampai, nyampai
menyanyikan sanyi, nyanyi
menanam tanam, nanam
memerlukan perlu, merlu
mengunjungi kunjung, ngunjung, unjung
memiliki pilik, milik
menasihati nasihat, tasihat