Eps-7: Personal Pronouns and Possessive Adjectives in Bahasa Indonesia

Like in English, bahasa Indonesia also recognizes personal pronouns and possessive adjectives. Talking about personal pronoun, English has subjective and objective pronouns. In bahasa Indonesia, both are the same in terms of application. All subjective pronouns below can be applied as objective pronoun. Talking about possessive adjectives, unlike English, possessive adjectives in bahasa Indonesia are in form of suffix - some are in one word with noun possessed while some others do not. Tables below describe our lesson.

Personal Pronouns

Personal Pronoun Degree of Formality English
Saya More formal I
Aku Less formal I
Anda Formal You
Kamu Less formal You
Kami Formal We
Kalian Both You (plural)
Mereka Formal They
Dia Less formal - for formal form, mention the name He/She

Possessive Adjectives

Personal Pronoun Possessive Adjective English
Saya/Aku Saya / -ku I
Anda/Kamu Anda / -mu You
Kami Kami We
Mereka Mereka They
Kalian Kalian You (plural)
Dia -nya He/She
Here are some examples regarding the use of both personal pronouns and possessive adjectives.
  1. Saya memiliki sebuah buku. Ini adalah bukuku.
  2. Anda memiliki sebuah buku. Ini adalah buku Anda.
  3. Kamu memiliki sebuah buku. Ini adalah bukumu.
  4. Kalian memiliki sebuah buku. Ini adalah buku kalian.
  5. Kami memiliki sebuah buku. Ini adalah buku kami.
  6. Kita memiliki sebuah buku. Ini adalah buku kita.
  7. Mereka memiliki sebuah buku. Ini adalah buku mereka.
  8. Dia memiliki sebuah buku. Ini adalah bukunya.

Kami vs Kita

Kami and kita are literally similar in meaning. However, both have subtle different in applications.

Kami is commonly used when one wants to talk (about all people refer to “we” in general) to other (person or people) while kita is used to talk to all people who are the part of “we”. If this line is confusing, let me explain it through an example.

Kami belajar bersama - In this example, kami is used because I talk to third person/people.

Kita belajar bersama - this example means I talk to all people whom I refer to “we/us”. This kind of sentence might be something like indirect affirmation that in this meeting, we should learn seriously - do not messing around.

Let’s have one more example.

Imagine that you and your friend are with me sitting around a table and there is a person, let say he is a friend of mine, sitting in another area in the same room which we sit in. When a friend of mine greets me and wants to have small conversation with me, I would say to a friend of mine (who is not the part of “we”) “kami sedang duduk bersama”. Kami is used because the one whom I talk with is not regarded as a part of “we” - as he sits in another area or we accidentally meet in that room.

Imagine that you and your friend are with me sitting around a table in a room. In the room are only you, your friend, and I. I would use “kita” instead of “kami” when I want to talk to you and your friend. Instead of saying “kami duduk bersama”. I would use “kita duduk bersama”.

Dia

In bahasa Indonesia, both “he” and “she” refer to “dia”. This is because Bahasa Indonesia does not commonly classify people based on gender instead of age - older or younger. That is why bahasa Indonesia has “kakak” to refer to elder brother/sister and “adik” that refers to younger brother/sister. Unlike English, no matter he/she is older or younger, both refer to brother or sister.