***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 vowela,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.





Adding meN-:


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 with k]             ikut, ngikut, kikut
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 left column):
For additional practice see this site.


memesan                                                                                                                      pesan, mesan

mendekati                                                                                                                     dekat

menyampaikan                                                                                                              sampai, nyampai

menyanyikan                                                                                                                 sanyi, nyanyi

mencuri                                                                                                                        curi

merugikan                                                                                                                     rugi

menanam                                                                                                                      tanam, nanam

memerlukan                                                                                                                  perlu, merlu

mendorong                                                                                                                   dorong

merokok                                                                                                                      rokok

mengganggu                                                                                                                  ganggu

mengunjungi                                                                                                                  kunjung, ngunjung, unjung

memiliki                                                                                                                        pilik, milik

membangunkan                                                                                                             bangun

melalui                                                                                                                          lalu

menasihati                                                                                                                     nasihat, tasihat

menjual                                                                                                                          jual