MeN--kan adjectives in Indonesian (2)

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at
Wed Jun 20 19:30:11 UTC 2001

Good point (as usual) Waruno, though many of the "emotive" roots in
question do not take -i (sedih, puas, bosan, etc.).  But for those that do
we can try the same Google test:

sangat menyenangkan: 1030
sangat disenangkan: 1
sangat menyenangi: 85
sangat disenangi: 67

sangat menakutkan: 278
sangat ditakutkan: 22
sangat menakuti: 2
sangat ditakuti: 216

Again, we'd still have to filter out the more clearly "transitive" cases on
Waruno's continuum for this test to be meaningful.  Skimming through the
citations, I see that "menyenangi" rarely if ever functions adjectivally,
while "disenangi" usually does.  The same goes for the more common synonym
"menyukai" (like, love) vs. "disukai" (liked, beloved, popular).


At 08:21 PM 6/20/01 +0200, Waruno Mahdi wrote:
>Oops, hardly had I sent off my response, there came Ben Zimmer's (with
>which I generally agree), and that brought me to another idea:
> >From the point of view of "transitivizing effect", the suffix -i is
>equal to the suffix -kan, so one should also test di-...-i forms
>- Itu sangat disenangi orang 'That is very much liked'
>- perbuatan yang disenangi itu 'the deed which is generally liked'
>Aloha,   Waruno

Benjamin G. Zimmer
Ph.D. Candidate
Dept. of Anthropology
University of Chicago

6022 S. Drexel Ave. #602
Chicago, IL  60637
(773) 643-0134
bg-zimmer at

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