Indonesian Language Blog

Suffix “wan” and “wati” Posted by on Aug 19, 2018 in Uncategorized

Suffix “–wan” and “–wati” derived from Sanskrit, denote the gender in term of skills, specialization, character as well as profession. The suffix “–wan” occurs with bases, most of which are nouns.

In addition to suffix “–wan”, there is also suffix “–man”, which is derived from a small number of nouns ending with phoneme /i/. For example: budiman, seniman. Suffix “–man” is also a very common male Indonesian name, for example: Hariman, Poniman, Satiman, Tukiman, Supratman.

Study the following examples:
Male Female
seniman seniwati
karyawan karyawati
wartawan wartawati
biarawan biarawati
binaragawan binaragawati
olahragawan olahragawati
peragawan peragawati

In some cases, the suffix “-wan” can be gender-neutral but not all of suffixes “-wan” can be paired with “-wati”.
Study the following examples:

Male Meaning Female Meaning
seniman artist seniwati artist
karyawan employee karyawati employee
wartawan journalist wartawati journalist
biarawan monk biarawati nun
binaragawan bodybuilder binaragawati bodybulder
olahragawan sportman/atlete olahragawati sportman/atlete
peragawan model peragawati model

In some cases, the suffix “-wan” can be gender-neutral but not all of suffixes “-wan” can be paired with “-wati”.

Study the following examples:
bangsawan aristocratic
hartawan wealthyman
rupawan handsome
budayawan cultural expert
dermawan benevolent
sastrawan man of letters, litterateur
negarawan humanist
ilmuwan scientist
jutawan millionaire
rohaniawan clergy
fisikawan physicist
pustakawan librarian

Do you find any Indonesian words related to the topic? Let me know.

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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.