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Indonesian Possessive Pronouns (Exercises) Posted by on Dec 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

The  following exercises are  to accompany the video of  the similar topic has previously been posted.

The Noun Phrases’ Word Order

Even though Indonesian sentence structure is similar to English, Indonesian noun phrases are written in a different word order. The following “123-321 method” will help you understand how to write the English equivalent of noun phrases into Indonesian and vice versa:

English                          Indonesian

1. My car. Mobil saya.
1 2 2 1
1a. or Mobil aku.
2 1
1b. or Mobilku
2+1 0
2. My daughter’s car. Mobil anak perempuan saya.
1 2 3 3 2 1
2a. or Mobil anak perempuan aku
3 2 1
2b. or Mobil anak perempuanku
3 2+1 0
3. His son’s car. Mobil anak laki-laki dia.
1 2 3 3 2 1
3a. or Mobil anak laki-lakinya.
3 2+1 0

After you understand the above explanation, you can challenge yourself with more complex format.

4. Your son’s car. Mobil anak laki-laki kamu.
1 2 3 3 2 1
4a. or Mobil anak laki-lakimu
3 2+1 0
5. His teacher’s son car. Mobil anak laki-laki guru dia.
1 2 3 4 4 3 2 1
5a. or Mobil Anak laki-laki gurunya. 0
4 3 2+1
1. His wife’s older brother’s car. Mobil kakak anak laki-laki istri dia.
1 2 3 4 4 3 2 1
1a. or Mobil Kakak laki-laki istrinya 0
4 3 2+1
2. Her husband’s older brother’s daughter’s new car.
1 2 3 4 5 6
Mobil baru anak perempuan kakak laki-laki suami dia.
6 5 4 3 2 1
2a. Mobil baru anak perempuan kakak laki-laki suaminya.
6 5 4 3 2+1 0

As explained above, the 123-321 method should apply when you are translating noun phrases from English into Indonesian; start from the right  and continues  to the left. The thing to which you are referring comes first, and the rest comes after it.

The Suffix “-nya” As a Third-Person Possessive Pronoun

The suffix “-nya” has several functions within the noun phrase, as a possessive pronoun or a determiner. Therefore, it creates confusion for those who learned Indonesian. However, in this exercise, you will only learn the basic use of “-nya,” which is to show possession of a third-person singular pronoun “dia or ia” or “she or he.” The following are examples:

  • His youngest son – Anak bungsunya
  • His new job – Pekerjaan barunya
  • Her daughter – Anak perempuannya
  • Her old car – Mobil lamanya

It is important to know that “-nya” cannot replace a third-person singular when a personal name is used, such as “Ibu Joko” or “Bapak Bambang”. Here are the examples”

  • “Mrs. Joko’s new house” should only be translated as “Rumah baru Ibu Joko,” not “Rumah barunya.”
  • “Mrs. Joko daughters” – “Anak perempuan Ibu Joko,” not “Anak perempuannya”.

In the example above, all suffix “-nya” are attached to the noun words that show possession.

The possessive use with a short form of pronouns

The usage of “-ku” (short form of “aku”),  “-mu” (short form of  “kamu”), and “-kau” (short form of “engkau”) are mostly used in an informal setting and writing, drama, and on-stage theatre. For example:

  1. Aku – Bukuku – My book
  2. Engkau – Bukukau – Your book
  3. Kamu – Bukumu- Yourbook (we exclusive)

Exercise A

Write the following noun phrases in their Indonesian equivalent.

  1. My car.
  2. Your car.
  3. Your daughter’s car.
  4. Your son’s car.
  5. His teacher’s wife’s car.
  6. His teacher’s wife’s new car.
  7. His wife’s brother’s blue car.
  8. Her husband’s brother’s blue car.
  9. Rini’s husband’s sister’s blue car.
  10. Rini’s husband’s brother’s daughter’s car.

Answer A

  1. Mobil saya.
  2. Mobil kamu or mobilmu.
  3. Mobil anak perempuanmu or Mobil anak perempuan Anda (polite).
  4. Mobil anak laki-lakimu or Mobil anak laki-laki Anda (polite).
  5. Mobil istri guru dia or Mobil istri gurunya.
  6. Mobil baru istri guru dia or Mobil baru istri gurunya.
  7. Mobil biru kakak laki-laki istri dia or Mobil biru kakak laki-laki istrinya.
  8. Mobil biru kakak suami dia or Mobil biru kakak laki-laku suaminya.
  9. Mobil biru adik perempuan suami Rini.
  10. Mobil anak perempuan kakak laki-laki suami Rini.

Exercise B

Write the following noun phrases in their English equivalent.

  1. Isteri dia or istrinya.
  2. Istri Pak Budi.
  3. Sepatu baru istri Pak Budi.
  4. Sepatu baru anak laki-laki Pak Budi.
  5. Sepatu merah anak perempuan saya.
  6. Sepatu hitam anak laki-laki saya.
  7. Mobil lama isteri saya.
  8. Mobil baru kakak isteri Pak Joko.
  9. Mobil baru anak laki-laki guru saya.
  10. Mobil baru anak perempuan guru saya.

Answer B

  1. His wife.
  2. Budi’s wfe.
  3. Budi’s wife’s new shoes
  4. Budi’s son’s new shoes.
  5. My daughter’s red shoes
  6. My son’s black shoes.
  7. My wife’s old car.
  8. Joko’s wife’s brother’s car.
  9. My teacher’s son’s new car.
  10. My teacher’s daughter’s new car.


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About the Author: asimonoff

I’m an Indonesian language instructor, instructional material developer, reading test developer, and interpreter. I have been teaching Indonesian to adult students for 15 years, and have been teaching students from many backgrounds, such as private, military and diplomatic service employees. I’m Indonesian, but am living in the US now; my exposure to different cultures in my home country and in the US has enriched my knowledge in teaching Indonesian as a second language. I approach the teaching of the Indonesian language by developing students’ critical cultural awareness and competence. This method of teaching has been proven to be a key to the success of my students. Students become conscious of the essential role culture plays in the language.