Indonesian/Quantification Words

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^ Indonesian ^

Kata Pembilang - Quantification Words[edit]

Indonesian language has no distinction between uncountable and countable nouns. If you want to say that there are more than one of a thing, as a rule of thumb you can repeat the noun using a dash (-) to make it plural. Alternatively you can also put the total number of the thing in front of the noun.

There is no rule in Indonesian language regarding which nouns should/can be repeated, which nouns should not/cannot, but if we already put some quantification words, we can't do the repetition noun. For example: It is wrong to say banyak buku-buku - lots of books, instead use either the phrase banyak buku or buku-buku

These words are essential to specify indefinite plurals:

  • Banyak = many / a lot
  • Beberapa = some / several
  • Sedikit = a little / a few
  • Para = some (for a specific group of people)

Kata Penunjuk Jumlah - Measure Words[edit]

An example of a measure words is the word "pieces" in "two pieces of paper". You have seen the word buah in lesson 5 to indicate the total of a quantity. The word buah can be considered as the "universal" measure word because it can fit in so many situations. However, you may want to fine tune it to convey a more precise meaning. For example: in the English language it's more proper to say "two rolls of bread" or "two slices of bread" rather than "two pieces of bread". This is because the measure word "roll" is more fitting than the word "piece" in this situation. The same thing applies to the Indonesian language.

Below are other common measure words, followed by the noun it measures.

  • Buah → non-living thing
  • Kuntum → flowers
  • Tangkai → flowers, leaves
  • Carik → papers
  • Lembar → papers
  • Jilid → books
  • Potong → cakes, loaves
  • Pucuk → guns
  • Ekor → animals
  • Orang → people
  • Helai → long, thin and usually flat things
  • Biji → small round things
  • Batang → long, stick-like things

(To be added more later)


^ Indonesian ^