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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:

blsuus, v.r.s.expanded; made to swell.
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kloi, v.r.s.(boat) placed on supports.
kloi a mla mekoi; kloi a bos; ng mla ngmasech er a meched; ngar er a koi, kmongii, kmoi, kongel.
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llemolem, v.r.s.(long object) laid down lengthwise; (work, schooling, etc.) completed; accomplished; (path, stream, etc.) followed; parallel.
llemolem a telamet; mla melemolem; lemelemel, lilemelemii a skuul a mlo er a ullebongel; llemolem a skulel, bambuu a llemolem er a rael.
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selenges, v.r.s.(coconut tree) tapped for sap.
selenges a mla mesenges; ilaot a selenges; songesengii; songes, sengesengel.
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telutk, v.r.s.pointed at; appointed.
telutk a nglilt; mla metutk; telutk el mo er a omerael; tutkii, ngar er basech; tetkel.
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ulad, v.r.s.(rope) made out of coconut cord.
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uldoim, v.r.s.has odoim added to it; given odoim.
uldoim a ngar er ngii a odimel; uldoim a telochel, kles a uldoim; mdimii, mdoim, udimel.
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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:

bliil, v.a.s.is to be regulated or restricted.
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btengetall, v.a.s.is to be sanded, smoothed or polished.
btengetall a kirel el obtanget, toluk a btengetall, mtengetii a toluk, btengetel a chesiuch.
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chebsuul, v.a.s.is to be spun.
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cheladel, v.a.s.easily consoled.
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orsngall, v.a.s.is to be drowned.
orsngall a kirel el moros; orros, olduleb, orsngii, diak el orsngall a charm; orsngel.
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tekiungel, v.a.s.needs to be talked to; (person) is being talked about (because of bad behavior, etc.).
tekiungel a kirel el mo er ngii a tekoi; soadel er a beluu, tekiungel er a beluu er a omengubs.el sers.
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tukukall, v.a.s.(land) is to be cleared.
tukukall a kirel el metukouk; melukouk er ngii; toukukii a oreomel; toukouk a rael; tukukel.
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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
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebausmell of vagina.
cheremrumtype of sea cucumber; trepang.bekecheremrumsmell of sea cucumber.
tutkwart on sole of foot; disease of kebui leaves.tutkpointer; pole (for picking fruit).
mechasold woman; titled woman; foreign woman; male's father's sisters; girlfriend; wife.mechasget blackened with soot or ink; (pot) get burned or discolored.
bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).
mongkcomplaint; criticism.bekemongkalways complaining.
chaisnews.merael a chiselwell-known; famous; infamous; (person) popular. (news) spreading quickly.

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
kekere a renguluncomfortable; impatient.
klou er a renguldetermined.
mesmesim a rengulunstable; changing one's mind easily.
ngmasech a rengulget angry.
ngelekel a rengulfavorite child.
mesbesubed er a rengulprepare someone (psychologically) for something; pave the way for more serious discussion with someone; inform gradually or indirectly.
mengurs er a rengulattract.

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