Verbs with "me-" as a prefix are active verbs. In the definition of active verbs:
Active verb is a term in traditional English grammar for a verb used primarily to indicate an action, process, or sensation as opposed to a state of being.
In sentences I got to in Duolingo, most of them used the "me-" prefix to give a present tense verb. An example I created is:
- "Saya makan makanan." - "I eat food."
- "Saya memakan makanan." - "I am eating food."
Using "me-" is a bit complicated, because it requires a spell change on the base verbs just to create a smoother pronunciation for speakers. Depending on the starting letter of the base verb, "me-" would get an additional letter/s and said starting letter will be dropped off of the verb to make the word. Some examples are:
- "tulis" (write) - "menulis" (to write)
- "hilang" (lost) - "menghilang" (disappear)
- "beri" (give) - "memberi" (to give)
As seen in the 2nd example, an adjective can turn into a verb through "me-". There are many forms of these:
- "panjang" (long) - "memanjang" (to become longer)
- "besar" (big) - "membesar" (to become bigger)
Even nouns and places can have "me-" to express a new meaning.
- "cat" (paint) - "mengecat" (to paint)
- "darat" (ground/land) - "mendarat" (to land)
- "seberang" (across) - "menyeberang" (to cross)
The numbers one and two can be turned into verbs too:
- "satu" (one) - "menyatu" (unite)
- "dua" (two) - "mendua" (split in two)
So basically, the prefix "me-" can create active verbs and verbs from other words.
Sources of research: