Halo teman! This verb is really impressive! And I would say yes, it has near the same use as the word "adalah", but with additional functions. According to a grammar text, "merupakan" is formed as an active verb by using "me--kan" and the root word "rupa" that means "form", "figure", "aspect", "appearance", between other meanings. A big difference with "adalah" is that can be combined with modifiers as "telah", "sudah", "akan", so the aspect (perfective) and the tense meaning can be stressed, while "adalah" has a kind of rigid equation, and cannot accept those markers; "adalah" is negated with "bukan", while "merupakan", as a full verb, can accept "tidak" or "bukan", also can accept the modal "bisa"; other difference but perhaps not always respected (as I have seen some texts using "merupakan" + adjectives in the predicate), is that "adalah" can be linked with adjectives (as a copulative verb), but "merupakan" can only accept nouns, nouns phrases (edit: it cannot accept a proper noun, a pronoun, or a demonstrative as the only agent) in the predicate. I will try to give some links or to mention the book from the Google site, perhaps to compare with other grammar concepts and reviews about Indonesian verbs.
http://cslipublications.stanford.edu/HPSG/2016/headlex2016-mbm.pdf (16 pages)
http://nlp.ipipan.waw.pl/HeadLex16/moeljadi_etal.pdf (5 pages)
http://compling.hss.ntu.edu.sg/who/david/slides/ISMIL19_davidmoeljadi.pdf (a more extensive analysis, including zero copula, "adalah", "ialah", "merupakan", "menjadi", 44 pages)
From Google Books:
Selamat belajar! :)
Thank you for your effortful reseach! Even though I studied semantics I still don't really get it. What's the actual benefit of using "merkupakan"? What information or subtle connotation does "Dia bukan merupakan Tono" add compared to "Dia bukan Tono"? Any suggestions are appreciated. :)