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Nouns - Gender & Number

Common derivational affixes for nouns are peng-/per-/juru- (actor, instrument, or someone characterized by the root), -an (collectivity, similarity, object, place, instrument), ke-...-an (abstractions and qualities, collectivities), per-/peng-...-an (abstraction, place, goal or result).

Malay does not make use of grammatical gender, and there are only a few words that use natural gender; the same word is used for he and she or for his and her. Most of the words that refer to people (family terms, professions, etc.) have a form that does not distinguish between the sexes. For example, adik can both refer to a younger sibling of either sex. In order to specify the natural gender of a noun, an adjective has to be added: adik lelaki corresponds to "brother" but really means "male younger sibling". There are some words that are gendered, for instance puteri means "princess", and putera means "prince"; words like these are usually absorbed from other languages (in these cases, from Sanskrit).

There is no grammatical plural in Malay. Thus orang may mean either "person" or "people". Plurality is expressed by the context, or the usage of words such as numerals, bebərapa "some", or semua "all" that express plurality. In many cases, it simply isn't relevant to the speaker.
Reduplication is commonly used to emphasize plurality. However, reduplication has many other functions. For example, orang-orang means "(all the) people", but orang-orangan means "scarecrow". Similarly, while hati means "heart" or "liver", hati-hati is a verb meaning "to be careful". Also, not all reduplicated words are inherently plural, such as orang-orangan "scarecrow/scarecrows", biri-biri "a/some sheep" and kupu-kupu "butterfly/butterflies". Some reduplication is rhyming rather than exact, as in sayur-mayur "(all sorts of) vegetables".
Distributive affixes derive mass nouns that are effectively plural: pohon "tree", pepohonan "flora, trees"; rumah "house", perumahan "housing, houses"; gunung "mountain", pegunungan "mountain range, mountains".
Quantity words come before the noun: seribu orang "a thousand people", beberapa pegunungan "a series of mountain ranges", beberapa kupu-kupu "some moths".

But, even the word like ''house'' is ''rumah'', you can still use ''rumah-rumah''. eg. ''These houses are very big'' which is in Malay, we say ''Rumah-rumah ini amat/sangat besar'' or ''Rumah-rumah ( houses ) / in ( this ) / amat/sangat ( very ) - besar ( big ).




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