Dutch affixes in Indonesian


Affix function number of borrowed affixes


Information and examples are from Jones (1984), Verhaar (1984), Tadmor (2009) and personal communications from Uri Tadmor, David Gil, John Bowden, and a number of Indonesians working at the Jakarta Field Station of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Below only affixes that are attested with non‑Dutch stems are given.


10 derivational prefixes are attested with non‑Dutch stems

a‑ ‘negative’, e.g. a‑susila ‘immoral’ (susila is probably a Sanskrit borrowing, but certainly not Dutch). The form a‑ is not mentioned as being (also) a loan from Sanskrit by Verhaar (1984: 20–21).

anti‑ ‘anti’, e.g. anti‑kuman ‘anti‑germ’, anti nyamuk ‘anti‑mosquito’, anti cewek ‘anti‑girls’, anti cowok ‘anti‑boys’, saya anti pemikiran Tessa ‘I’m against what Tessa thinks’. Jakarta respondents feel that although anti is productive it is not really an affix but an independent adverb.

eks‑ ‘former’, e.g. eks pacar ‘ex girlfriend/boyfriend’, eks narapidana ‘ex convict’, eks tapol ‘ex‑political prisoner’. Possibly eks is an independent word.

ekstra‑ ‘extra’, e.g. ekstra ketat ‘superstrict’, ekstra hatihati ‘supercareful’. These examples were provided by Uri Tadmor, this prefix is not mentioned by Verhaar (1984: 20–21). Possibly ekstra is an independent word rather than a prefix.

inter‑ ‘inter’, e.g. intersuku ‘inter‑tribal’, interkeluarga ‘inter‑familiar(example from the SEAlang Library Indonesian Text Corpus, see http://sealang.net/indonesia)

kontra‑ ‘contra’, e.g. kontra alami ‘unnatural’, saya kontra dengan pemikiran Tessa ‘I’m against what Tessa thinks’. Kontra may be an independent adverb rather than a prefix.

non‑ ‘negative’, e.g. non‑migas ‘non‑fossile fuels’

pro‑ ‘pro’, e.g. pro banci ‘pro‑transvestite’, pro Amerika ‘pro‑America’, kamu pro atau anti pemikiran Tessa? ‘are you for or against what Tessa thinks?’

sub‑ ‘sub’, e.g. sub‑bagian ‘subpart’, sub‑bab ‘subchapter’ (bab ‘chapter’ is borrowed from Arabic)

super‑ ‘super’, e.g. super mahal ‘very expensive’ (example provided by Uri Tadmor)


3 abstract-noun forming suffixes, that are attested with non‑Dutch stems

‑isme ‘abstract noun’, e.g. caloisme ‘a mentality and system characterized by using the power of one’s position for personal gain’ (from calo ‘agent or intermediary who negotiates government things on behalf of you’), premanisme ‘gangsterism’ (from preman ‘gangster’), bencongisme ‘trans‑genderism’

‑asi ‘abstract noun’, e.g. kondomi‑sasi ‘spreading the use of condoms’ (this example is also given by Verhaar (1984: 24)). This suffix is probably not the same as ‑isasi. Its status as an affix is disputed by de Vries (1984), see also Mueller (2007: 1220).

‑isasi ‘abstract noun formation’, e.g. swastnisasi ‘privatization’ (from swasta ‘private business), kapurisasi ‘adding lime (calcium)’ (in both examples, the stems are also borrowed from Sanskrit, but these nouns were formed in Indonesian. The complete form of this suffix is ‑(n)isasi with n occurring after vowel‑final roots. Its status as a productive affix is argued for by de Vries (1984), see also Mueller (2007: 1220).