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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:

delebekekl, v.r.s.(house) having had roof or overhang lengthened.
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rrekui, v.r.s.finished (completely).
rrekui a mla merekui; blai a rrekui a urrerel; mla mo merek; rekil.
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selbechakl, v.r.s.defended; helped.
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telboid, v.r.s.(lantern etc.) turned on.
telboid a mla metboid; dengki a telboid, tibidii a boes, tiboid a bosir, melboid; tbidel.
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uldik, v.r.s.banished; exiled; sent away.
uldik a ultobed; mla modik; mla motobed, odikii er a blai; mla dmik; odikel.
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uldoud, v.r.s.given money; paid.
uldoud a mla mudoud; uldoud er a demal; mla ngmai a ududel; mdudii; mildudii; ududel.
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ulekesiu, v.r.s.copied; imitated; made the same.
ulekesiu a meruul el mo ua ngii; mla mokesiu; mekesiur a bilel er a bilek; omekesiu a llecheklel a sensei; okesiul.
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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:

bechengall, v.a.s.is to be stepped on and crushed.
bechengall a kirel el meoch, omoch er ngii; mechengii, delul el meduu a ochengall.bechengel
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cherecheruul, v.a.s.(liquid; etc.) is to be stirred up/agitated.
cherecheruul a beot el mecherechar; mechecherechar, cherecheruul el omoachel.
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idesall, v.a.s.(fruit) is to be pared or shredded.
idesall a kirel el meiides; bobai a idesall, idesii a bobai, melides er ngii, idesel.
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kingall, v.a.s.is to be sat upon.
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ochiball, v.a.s.is to be lifted up or revealed.
ochiball a kirel mochiib; mochederiib, klalo er a skoki a ochiball el kirel a skel a mekngit el kar; ochidall, ochibel.
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ongesechekill, v.a.s.(pants, etc.) are to be pulled up; is to be moved up to particular position; is to be praised or elevated.
ongesechekill a kirel el mongesechekl; rredemelel a mo er a bab; ongesecheklii, ongesecheklel.
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tichall, v.a.s.is to be lighted or illuminated.
tichall a kirel el metuich; tuiechii a rael; tmuich a ngikel, tichel.
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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
smuuchscorpion fish (hardly moves in water).smuuchscorpion fish (hardly moves in water).
tebullswelling; earth mound.tebullbulging, hanging.
telengtungdwild tamarind; lead tree.telengtungdwild tamarind; lead tree.
bidokelhives.bidokelhives.
chelechelouldandruff.chelecheloulhaving dandruff.
iudoraiburent-a-car; U-drive car.iudoraibu (woman) loose or fast.
semumtrochus.semum having deformed fingers or toes.

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
mekngit a rengulfeel sorry/sad about; mean; inconsiderate.
smecher a rengulhomesick.
chebosech a rengulboring; dull; poor at speaking.
ngodech er a rengulfind something strange, different or suspicious.
mesbesubed er a rengulprepare someone (psychologically) for something; pave the way for more serious discussion with someone; inform gradually or indirectly.
omekerrau er a rengulconfuse; puzzle.
mengaidesachel a rengulcompetitive.

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