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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:

delengesakl, v.r.s.(person or thing) under a spell.
delengesakl a mla medengesakl; chad a mla melengesakl er ngii; olengit a mekngit el kirel; dongeseklii er a chelid.
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rredem, v.r.s.has had handle put on; installed; attached.
rredem a ngar ngii a ordemelel; mla meredem; rredomel; osib a rredem.
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telebiall, v.r.s.gestured to with raised eyebrows.
telebiall a toberall; mla metebiall; tobiall a medal; menglou a medal.
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uldermerem, v.r.s.pushed or forced (under water, into ground, etc.).
ulderemerem a mla moderemerem; ulsarech el ultuu er a daob; ert a ulderemerem er a daob; odermeremel.
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ulsobel, v.r.s.saved, rescued or taken care of.
ulsobel a mla mosobel; beluulechad a ulsobel er a kodellel a ngelekel a Dios; ulsebelii, osobel, osebelel.
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ultab, v.r.s.placed on raised surface; hindered or delayed temporarily; seated (in doorway) with legs dangling outside; sitting down for a short time.
ultab a mla motab; diak el lerrekui; otebengii; dirkak lebo el merek; otab, otebengel a cheldecheduch; ultab a diak le meketeket el dengchokl; ak di ultab er a tuangel; otebengii e olengull, otab a klebngel; otebengel.
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ultoech, v.r.s.pierced or drilled through.
ultoech a mla motoech; mla mo chemolt; tmoech, otechii er a belsibs, ultoech er a bitang; otechel.
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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:

cheatel, v.a.s.(rope; wire; fishing line; etc.) is to be wound; (baby) is to be cuddled.
cheatel a kirel el mechaet; chemetii, chemaet a ekil, mengaet, chetel.
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chesbungel, v.a.s.is to be scooped or spooned out.
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chiitel, v.a.s.is to be thrown away or abandoned.
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dengesall, v.a.s.is to be looked up at.
dengesall a omes er a bab; kirei el medanges; dongesii, dmanges a berikd el buuch, melanges er a sils; dengesel a buuch.
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otebengall, v.a.s.is to be placed on raised surface.
otebengall a kirel el motab; oltab er a remeleboteb, otebengii e merolung, otebengel.
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terdall, v.a.s.is to be irritated/annoyed/frustrated.
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ukllemesall, v.a.s.is to be brightened or enlightened.
ukllemesall a kirel el mukllomes; omekllomes; ochotii a ungil el rael; meklemesii a milkolk a rengul; mekllomes a real, uklemesel.
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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
chedeadjellyfish; nettle.chedead not knowing where to go.
chelucheb(taro or banana) leaf or bag used for covering food being cooked; type of coral which grows on top of or covers other corals.chellobelcovered; shady.
tedobech(one) half.tedobechhalf-filled; crazy; irrational.
chedeadjellyfish; nettle.chedeadjellyfish; nettle.
daktfear; awe.bedektallfearful; shy.
iudoraiburent-a-car; U-drive car.iudoraiburent-a-car; U-drive car.
ureorwork; job; task.bekureorwork a lot; hard-working; diligent.

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
diak lodengelii a rengul(person) unaware of his limitations or overestimates his abilities or overextends himself with committments.
teloadel a rengulindecisive.
ulsemuul a rengul(person) humble.
komeklii a rengul(person) controlling themselves; (person) holding their tongue.
chelam a rengulheartbroken.
techetech a rengulstubborn; obsessed; determined.
oba a rengulindependent; self-willed.

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