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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:

blengedoaol, v.r.s.wandering around with no fixed abode.
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blisekl, v.r.s.permitted to do something, but grudgingly.
blisekl a blid, omisekl e meruul a diak el soal, bliseklel.
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bloes, v.r.s.shot.
bloes a bleakl; mla oboes, mosii, belochel a bloes, omoes, bosel.
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klemuu, v.r.s.(person) having shaven head or closely-cropped hair.
klemuu a mla mekemuu; komungii a bdelul, mengemuu; telamk a chiul.
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ulekbat, v.r.s.(something) hidden or hard to find.
ulekbat a meringel el osiik; bulis a omekbat er a olsiseb mekngit el kar er a Belau; ulekbat er a milosii a president; mla mukbat.
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uleketmokl, v.r.s.arranged; put in proper place; neat, well-organized.
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urralm, v.r.s.(clothes) rinsed.
urralm a mla muralm; mla mralm a selokel; urelmel.
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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:

bertachel, v.a.s.(hands) are to be clapped; is to be slapped; deaf (i.e., has to be tapped on the back to get attention).
bertachel a kirel el obrotech; mertechii, mrotech, mechad a bertachel.
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besengall, v.a.s.is to be tied into bundle; is to be pulled vigorously or grabbed.
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chelutall, v.a.s.is to be slapped.
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kedebengall, v.a.s.is to be shortened.
kedebengall a kirel el mo kedeb; bilek a kedebengall, kodebengii a bail, mengedeb er ngii; kedebengel.
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ngemodel, v.a.s.is to be washed off or mopped.
ngemodel a kirel el mengemed; ngomedii a ulaol; nguemed a tebel, melemed; ngemedel.
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ocheroall, v.a.s.(turtle) is to be turned face up; (clothes) are to be turned inside out.
ocheroall a kirel el mochero; mechereuii, uel a ocheroall; mo dengarech; ocherouel.
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riomel, v.a.s.is to be collected or gathered and transported.
riomel a kirel el meriim; kloleklel a riomel, riemii, reuiim; ngmai el rokui el otobed; riemel.
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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
rasechblood.rasechbloody.
bobaipapaya tree (including fruit).bobaidull; slow-witted.
chadliver.chedengaolhave a large liver.
mechiechab hole.mechiechab(teeth) full of cavities.
silssun; day.bekesils(boys) smell sweaty or gamey (after perspiring in sun).
cheludechwooden float for fish net; light weight wood used to make corks.cheludech(wood) dried out (and light in weight).
cheballwhite-leafed taro (yautia); gray/white hair.cheballwhite-leafed taro (yautia); gray/white hair.

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
mechese a rengulbecoming surprised.
kie a rengul calm down; stop worrying.
betachel a rengulis to be pleased/satisfied/appeased; content.
bechelechelingaol a rengulselfish; greedy; stingy; self-centered.
melekoi a renguldetermined; well-motivated; make rasping or humming sound in the lungs; make humming moise while sleeping; (cat) purr.
mereng er a rengulplease; go along with (so as not to hurt feelings).
ngelekel a rengulfavorite child.

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