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Tinggal in context, Confusion about its uses and root meaning.


Tinggal =to stay meninggal dunia = to die (leave world?) Ketinggalan = to miss out

I'm confused about how tinggal works, as it seems the root word implies staying/remaining. But in some contexts to means to leave. Can anyone explain this?

Terimah Kasih untuk nasihat.

May 21, 2019



'tinggal' as a base word has several meanings.
(KBBI lists 11-12 different meanings/definitions)
It depends on the context what the word means in a sentence.


Please have a look at the example sentences in the KBBI definitions.
Those sentences provide the context for the various meanings/definitions.

'meninggal' is derived from this base word, but it only has one meaning :
'meninggal' = 'meninggal dunia' = to leave the world, to pass away, to die.

'ketinggalan' is formed by attaching the 'ke-an' affix to the base word.
'ketinggalan' can be a noun/verb, it is mostly used as a verb.
'ketinggalan' can have different meanings, depending on context.
(KBBI lists 7 different meanings/definitions)



Tinggal means to stay.

Meninggal = to die.

But, wait...

It's just a matter of seeing thing differently.

Meninggalkan = according to KBBI: 'to let it stay (still there, not taken away)'
(1) membiarkan tinggal (tetap ada, tidak dibawa pergi, dan sebagainya).

Dia Meninggalkan kami di sini.
She leaves us here.
or, she puts us to stay here

it's a nice word choice, isn't?

Tas itu ditinggalkan dia.
That bag is left by him.
or, that bag is put there to stay there by him

Dia Meninggal(kan) Dunia
She passed away
or, she let us stay in this world (while she went away)

and this sentence, usually said in funeral speech:

...keluarga yang 'ditinggalkan'...
...the deceased's family...
or ...the family that had been 'left (by the deceased) to stay' (in this world)...

You see, we dont say 'keluarga yang meninggalkan' but 'keluarga yang ditinggalkan'.

so... if someone meninggal dunia means that someone went to heaven (or hell--or just pit-black under the ground) but you stay here. You are 'ditinggalkan'.

Ketinggalan kereta
If we check the word 'Ketinggalan' in KBBI:
"(4) Verba (kata kerja) sudah ditinggalkan oleh (kereta api dan sebagainya)"
"(4) Verb (Verb) has been let to stay [in the station while the train depart] by (the train or others)"

Means that you don't go with the train, you don't go anywhere, you stay. (in Passive voice).


Keluarga yang ditinggalkan=family left behind

From what I can work out meninggal is just a polite way of saying died like in English there is passed away or gone.


Tinggal = to stay

I've always thought of "meninggal dunia" as a shortened form of "meninggalkan dunia". The circumfix "me-kan" can form a causative verb, so "meninggalkan" means to cause something to stay (behind). In this case, the deceased is causing the world to stay behind as they leave.

The circumfix "ke-an" forms a passive verb, so "ketinggalan" means "being made to stay (behind)" or "being left behind" or "missing out".

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