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Learning Indonesian by Word: Makan

Eat is one the basic word of the Swadesh list. The Indonesian translation is makan. Makan is absorbed from Malay language with the same meaning. There are so many derivations of this root word; some of them are easily to guest, some of them are hard to guess.

So, if you’re starting your day by having a breakfast, you must eat the morning | makan pagi or sarapan, then you eat the noon | makan siang | having a lunch and after sunset you eat the night | makan malam | having a dinner. If you’re an food expert | jago makan, it means that you are a person who love to eat! You should know eat the liver | makan hati is not eating animal’s liver or heart, you said that when you feel disappointed on somebody. Don’t forget to eat the wind | makan angin if you feel so bored or just want to take a breath of fresh air! Just take a few scroll in your neighborhood.

Sambal, an Indonesian traditional chili sauce

How about your job? Finding a food | mencari makan doesn’t have only one literal meaning, it also means that make a living or earning a daily bread, so funny, doesn’t it? But sometimes life is hard, it eats the time | makan waktu to find a good job. Makan waktu explains about how long to take or require the time. So if you’re finding a good job, don’t eat a blind wage | makan gaji buta | having a sinecure job or eat other’s sweatmakan keringat orang | take profit from someone else’s labor. If the worker union feel so upset about the company, they usually do a stop eating movement | aksi mogok makan | hunger strike and some of people maybe will be sent to the hospital and it will eat so many victims | banyak makan korban | have a lot of casualties.

So, now we talking about money. You also can use eat the money | makan uang to say how much does something cost, but please pay attention, it also means to take a bribe! The second meaning of makan uang has some synonyms, makan sogok or makan suap; you can use all of them interchangeable.  If you are eaten by an oathdimakan sumpah, you must meet with an accident because you has committed perjury.

In rural areas, some of older people still eat the betel nut | makan sirih, it doesn’t mean that they’re eating the betel nut, they’re just chewing it like a gum. If you have eat and eat | makan-makan, it doesn’t mean you eat and eat again, it means you have a relaxed meal, in your friend’s party maybe.

Now, we’ll learn the complex words with suffix. Memakan is basically same with makan, but it’s more active and also more formal than makan, the passive word for memakan is dimakan | to be eaten. You will use memakani when you feed or give food to someone or your animals. If you eat something by accident, you should use termakan. We use makanan to explain something that we eat or food, but makan-makanan not to eat a food but various foods.




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