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Palauan Adjectives

The following is a brief discussion about Palauan adjectives. For a longer exploration, please refer to discussions of state verbs in the Joseph Handbooks. According to the official Lewis Joseph grammar book of Palauan, there are no Palauan parts of speech called adjectives. However, Palauan does, of course, have words used to describe other words. In English, we call these words adjectives. Examples of English adjectives are dangerous, beautiful, and hot.

Palauan Resulting State Verbs

In Palauan, words corresponding to English adjectives are called state verbs. There are several types of Palauan state verbs. The most common are resulting state verbs which occur as a result of a verb. Some examples:

Here is a list of seven random Palauan verbs and their resulting state verbs:

bles, v.r.s.in a state of having forgotten something/having put something out of one's mind.
bles a mla obes; urriid er a omelatk, bles er a urreor, klou el bes.
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blikel, v.r.s.raised; outstretched.
blikel a mla obikel el mo bedul bab a tedobech; mikelii, mikel a chimal, omikel a ochil.
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chelaet, v.r.s.(rope; wire; fishing line; etc.) wound; (baby) cuddled.
chelaet a mla mechaet; iluodel iliud, chemetii, chemaet a ekil.
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deleu, v.r.s.folded; creased; bent.
deleu a mla medeu; deleuul; diak el melemalt; llemolem, dour a chimal, dmeu a babier, meleu, deul.
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klsakl, v.r.s.(something) wrong/the matter.
klsakl a ngar er ngii a telemall; mla mekesakl? ke klsakl? tia ng klsakl?
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kludem, v.r.s.placed close together (in space or time).
kludem a kaiuekeed; mekudem, kudemii; kuudem, mekudem el dellomel
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Palauan Anticipating State Verbs

Anticipating state verbs in Palauan are like resulting state verbs. However, instead of describing the state of something after a verb has modified it, these describe the state of something before a verb is anticipated to modify it. Here's seven random Anticipating State Verbs:

bengtall, v.a.s.(hair) is to be curled/twisted.
bengtall a bengutel, kirel el obungt, mengtii a bdelul, mungt.
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dechall, v.a.s.is to be increased or raised in amount.
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isall, v.a.s.is to be rowed, paddled or stirred.
isall a kirel el meius; isar a mlai, imus a ilumel, isal.
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ngemall, v.a.s.is to be smoothed or stroked.
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odeleball, v.a.s.is to be dipped into water.
odeleball a morsors er a daob; kirel moduleb; odelebii; olduleb er a daob, odelebel.
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oreokel, v.a.s.is to be touched (lightly).
oreokel a di moreek e tochetech; di moreek e lmangel.
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otematel, v.a.s.is to be pulled at; is to be drawn tight/taut.
otematel a kirel el motamet, kirel el mekurs; oltamet a kerrekar, kursii, otemetii a chimal, otemetel.
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State Verbs with Related Nouns

In English, a common thing to do is to ask 'how XXXX is something,' where XXXX is an adjective. For example, 'how hot is that,' or 'how dangerous is that,' are common English expressions.

This is true in Palauan as well in a form like, 'ng uangarang a kleldelel,' which translates literally perhaps to something like, 'it is like what, its heat,' or figuratively as, 'how hot is it.' The word kleldelel is a possessed noun meaning 'its heat.' See the nouns page for a longer explanation of possessed nouns.

Many of these Palauan nouns have related state verbs which translate to, and are used as, English adjectives. Here is a list of seven random Palauan nouns along with their corresponding state verbs.

Palauan_NounEngish_NounPalauan_AdjEnglish_Adj
kobesossea horse.kobesossea horse.
berechsmell of raw fish.bekeberechsmell of the sea or raw fish.
kesaiinsufficient quantity.kesaiinsufficient quantity.
cheisechpermanent stain.cheisechpermanent stain.
bikodelhives or rash from allergies; allergic reaction affecting the skin.bikodelbroken out in hives.
chemadechcoconut sap.chemadech (plant) unripe or green; (food) raw or uncooked; be in full standing position when dancing; brand new.
tedobech(one) half.tedobech(one) half.

Reng Idioms as Adjectives

There are many Palauan expressions which use a state verb to describe the Palauan word reng which means spirit or heart. These are idioms which mean their literal and figurative meanings are not the same. Typically, but not always, the figurative meaning describes an emotion. An example is kesib a reng, which literally means a sweaty heart but figuratively it means to be angry. Here is a list of seven random examples of these reng idioms:

PalauanEnglish
raud a rengulvariable; indecisive.
komeklii a rengul(person) controlling themselves; (person) holding their tongue.
rrou a rengulsuddenly confused or perplexed.
smiich a rengulfeel proud about (someone).
olsebek er a rengulworry (unintentionally); startle.
mechedeng a rengulget surprised, puzzled or perplexed (by someone's behavior, etc.).
teloadel a rengulindecisive.

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