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"mengapa" vs "kenapa"

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  • #16
    You're welcome! I'm glad i could help...

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    • #17
      Its the best to use "mengapa" instead of "kenapa"
      If you want to use "kenapa", just use "apa"
      Last edited by EricConan; 10-12-13, 14:59. Reason: delete the question mark

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      • #18
        I have never heard of "kenapa" to mean "what." that doesn't make any sense...

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        • #19
          Originally posted by rabbid View Post
          I have never heard of "kenapa" to mean "what." that doesn't make any sense...
          I agree, except in the sense of "What?" as shorthand for "What's the matter?" because then it really means "Why are you crying/upset etc?" Certainly couldn't use "Kenapa itu?" to mean "What is that [thing]?".

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          • #20
            kenapa = mengapa = why

            you can use kenapa (informal) or mengapa (formal) when you want to ask the reason of something.
            but sometime people use 'kenapa' to ask something that unclear.
            example:
            when my friend talking to me about something but i just don't heard it well because i am concentrating about other things,
            sometime i will say 'kenapa?' and hoping that my friend will repeat or explain his/her words again.

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            • #21
              in Bahasa Indonesia there is a Refined Spelling of any word or infamous as Ejaan Yang Disempurnakan (EYD). in EYD the term for "Why" or question word to ask cause, reason, or motive behind doing something is "Mengapa".
              for example : mengapa dia menangis? why is he/she crying?


              "Kenapa" is basicly NOT a question word. the original form of kenapa is constructed by two words, 1. "kena" literally hit, suffer from something. 2.it is paired with question word "apa" so,, kena + apa = kenapa . since we have quetion word "apa" there so the interogative function is automatically attached.

              the true function of kenapa is to ask what someone or something suffered from or hit by.

              examples:

              "kenapa kakimu?" the most similar english translation : "what happened to your leg?"

              "kaki saya sakit" "my leg is hurt"

              "mengapa kakimu sakit?"

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              • #22
                That's really interesting thanks.

                That is also the reason I started this thread, because the word "kenapa" does not seem to be a pure equivalent to "why" it seems to be more nuanced with an element of "what" in it.

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                • #23
                  "kaki saya sakit" --------- "my leg is hurt"

                  "Mengapa kakimu sakit? ---" why your leg is hurt?"

                  "karena saya jatuh dari sepeda" ---- " because i fell from my bike"


                  *the last sentence reveal the exact part of "mengapa" works.. it is to ask reason behind something (why)



                  if you ask me why most of local people use "kenapa" to ask "why" instead of "mengapa". the most accurate answer is in the easier pronounciation . Kenapa is much easier to pronounce than mengapa and the function not so different but not totally the same


                  this is a little complicated elaboration of Mengapa and Kenapa,, but this is true. i hope you confuse no more for the using.

                  why? ------ mengapa?

                  what happened to ....?-------- kenapa .... ?

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                  • #24
                    interesting reason - yes it sounds like laziness. So even though it's a bit wrong they understand it amongst each other. But when a foreigner starts saying kenapa for "why" it will confuse them and not sound right to them - so I think I'm going to go back to using mengapa as I used too - it may be too formal but at least I know it's correct!

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Berlarutlarut View Post
                      interesting reason - yes it sounds like laziness. So even though it's a bit wrong they understand it amongst each other. But when a foreigner starts saying kenapa for "why" it will confuse them and not sound right to them - so I think I'm going to go back to using mengapa as I used too - it may be too formal but at least I know it's correct!

                      hahaha.. yeah i cannot deny that there's no guarantee local people will know the exact difference between "mengapa" and "kenapa" unless they take Indonesian Literature as a major. they meet "mengapa" only written in every problems on exams paper they had during school, and hear "kenapa" almost everywhere. so they tend to believe that "mengapa" is formal and "kenapa" is informal and conversational.

                      yes, use "mengapa" for "why", and if you happen to be in a conversation with locals that use "kenapa" for "why",,, you can correct them and give proper explanation

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                      • #26
                        haha - yes I will do

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by orysativa View Post
                          in Bahasa Indonesia there is a Refined Spelling of any word or infamous as Ejaan Yang Disempurnakan (EYD). in EYD the term for "Why" or question word to ask cause, reason, or motive behind doing something is "Mengapa".
                          for example : mengapa dia menangis? why is he/she crying?


                          "Kenapa" is basicly NOT a question word. the original form of kenapa is constructed by two words, 1. "kena" literally hit, suffer from something. 2.it is paired with question word "apa" so,, kena + apa = kenapa . since we have quetion word "apa" there so the interogative function is automatically attached.

                          the true function of kenapa is to ask what someone or something suffered from or hit by.

                          examples:

                          "kenapa kakimu?" the most similar english translation : "what happened to your leg?"

                          "kaki saya sakit" "my leg is hurt"

                          "mengapa kakimu sakit?"
                          That is an interesting theory, but regardless, today 'kenapa' is used interchangeably with 'mengapa'. According to KBBI 'kenapa' means "kata tanya untuk menanyakan sebab atau alasan; mengapa".

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                          • #28
                            yes nimbus.. KBBI online say so,,
                            but if you have extra time ,, please compare it with the definition in big thick written KBBI latest edition,, and compare what you find about "kenapa" and "mengapa".
                            I did compare them before i posted my elaboration about them,,

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by flyhighxx View Post
                              Hi there

                              I hope my explanation clears up your curiosity about the difference between " Kenapa" and " Mengapa"
                              First of all " mengapa " isn't used that often on daily conversation..normaly used for, u know like,Childrend's play such as :Fairytales,Story telling ( used alot )
                              So i hope that explains a bit about " Mengapa "
                              Moving on to " Kenapa " : "Kenapa" in English is either "why" or "what"
                              The difference between those two is " The intonation " ===> How you say it
                              When you use " Why" or " What " in English , you say it in a different Intonation right?
                              It's the same way with " kenapa "..
                              You have to use different Intonation for " Kenapa (Why) and Kenapa (What)
                              That is something that you have to learn from local people or from " Indonesian Teacher / Bahasa Teacher "

                              Note : Although "Mengapa" is rarely used on a daily basis, it has the same meaning and intonation with " kenapa (Why) "

                              Hope that helps
                              There is no way "Kenapa" is equal to "why" or "what" in English. "Kenapa" only means "why" in English. Don't make people confused about your explanation.

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                              • #30
                                In short, normally "mengapa" is used in formal basis, and "kenapa" is used in informal basis.

                                And in daily conversation (especially in western jawa), you may heard kenapa such as "what".....but I can say rather "pardon"

                                Eg, you are going to a warung, you may try to order one bakso...but the waiter couldn't hear you well, due to noise or your murmur etc,

                                then the waiter may say "kenapa?" ....it means he would say "pardon?" (near to "what" than "why")

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