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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:

chelemochem, v.r.s.urinated on.
chelemochem a mla mechemochem; chumechemii, mengemochem er a ulaol, chemechemel.
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cheleodel, v.r.s.patched; (injured limb) patched up and hard to move; sewn, stitched or fixed temporarily.
cheleodel a mla mecheed; cheleed diak le melemalt, chimal a cheleodel.
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chelsbreber, v.r.s.painted.
chelsbreber a mla mechesbreber.
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selekesako, v.r.s.crawled; crept over.
selekesako a mla mesekesako; mla melekesako er ngii; sokesekeuii a blai; sekesekoel a blai.
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territel, v.r.s.hunted; investigated.
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ulechadu, v.r.s.cut with scissors; picked up with tongs.
ulechadu a mla mochadu; delebes er a ochadu, mecheduii, mechadu a mamed, ocheduel a bail.
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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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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:

bedoel, v.a.s.(ball, etc.) is to be caught; is to be grabbed.
bedoel a kirel el obed; bduu a bedoel. medir a bduu, med, omed, bedeel a bduu.
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bliil, v.a.s.is to be regulated or restricted.
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chesmerall, v.a.s.is to be closed, confined or locked in (e.g. as punishment).
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debesall, v.a.s.is to be cut or snipped.
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sebechekill, v.a.s.is to be defended or helped.
sebechekill a kirel el mesebechakl, sobecheklii, odesebii, ngoseuir, buik a sebechekill, sebecheklel.
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semesemiil, v.a.s.is to be shaken.
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ukbetengall, v.a.s.is to be made easy or cheap.
ukbetengall a kirel el mukbeot; remuul el mo beot, mekbetengii a urreor, mekbeot a char, ukbetengel.
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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
chemaiongdragonfly.chemaiongdragonfly.
chuisworm; maggot.bederechuis(starchy food) spoiled (by water); decomposing or moldy.
dechuswart; mole.dechuswart; mole.
chadliver.chedengaolhave a large liver.
bengtpurple colored sweet potato.bengtpurple colored sweet potato.
mudechvomit.bekemudechsmell of vomit.
bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).bisech(person) easily aroused sexually.

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
omud a rengulfed up with; exasperated; can't stand.
kedidai a rengulstubborn; scornful; condescending.
chelemekl a rengul(person) holding a grudge; (person) strong, stubborn, persistent, determined.
chetellaok a rengulchetellaok
cheldeng a rengulconfused; surprised; stubborn; dull-witted; slow (in understanding).
mekngit a rengulfeel sorry/sad about; mean; inconsiderate.
suebek a rengulworried; anxious.

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