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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:

bluus, v.r.s.ordered; imported.
bluus a mla obuus, omuus a kall, musii a blai, muus a kles, uesel.
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chelab, v.r.s.has ashes put on it.
chelab a mla mechab; ngar ngii a chab, chobur, chuab, sers a chelab, chebul.
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chelemcham, v.r.s.broken into pieces.
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chelert, v.r.s.defecated on.
chelert a mla mechert; chortii, ngar er ngii a dach er ngii; chertel.
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klub, v.r.s.(coconuts) paired or coupled.
klub a klbael; mla mekub, mengub a lius, teblo el kakub, remeloik a klbael; kuub a lius.
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uldars, v.r.s.lifted up; (arm, leg) stretched or extended.
uldars a mla modars; oba chimal el mo er a bab; odersii a chimal, odars a udoud, odersel.
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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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chesobel, v.a.s.(taro tubers) are to be cut.
chesobel a kirel el mecheseb; cheklii a tech er a dait, chosebii, chueseb a dait, chesebel.
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kekesuul, v.a.s.is to be scratched (because itchy).
kekesuul a kirel el mekekas; mengkas er ngii, kukesur a mekekad, kokas a bedengel, kekesul a bedengel.
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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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riueruall, v.a.s.is to be fanned.
riueruall a kirel el meruoru, msa eolt; riueruii a smecher; riueruel.
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sebokel, v.a.s.is to be kicked.
sebokel a kirel el mesebek; osebokel er a rrat a sebokel; roderdii, sobekii, suebek, sebekel.
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terudall, v.a.s.is to be broken, torn or smashed down; is to be taken apart.
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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
cheludechwooden float for fish net; light weight wood used to make corks.cheludech(wood) dried out (and light in weight).
chelechedsmall sea crab.chelechedarea of shallow water (usually exposed at low tide and good for fishing).
ureorwork; job; task.bekureorwork a lot; hard-working; diligent.
olechutellarge bamboo raftolechutel(boat, person) slow-moving
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebau(cooked meat or fish, cooking pot, etc.) foul-smelling.
kikoisea clam.kikaolhaving a large vagina.
smuuchscorpion fish (hardly moves in water).smuuch(person) calm, placid, or unperturbed by problems or challenging circumstances.

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
telematel a rengulpleased; happy.
diak lemesim a rengulstick to one's convictions; not change one's mind.
kesib a rengulangry.
omult er a rengulconvince; persuade.
sisiokel a rengulfastidious; particular.
beralm a rengullazy; unmotivated; unconcerned; uncaring.
melekoi a renguldetermined; well-motivated; make rasping or humming sound in the lungs; make humming moise while sleeping; (cat) purr.

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