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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:

delbochel, v.r.s.invented; introduced; composed; (blade of tool) chipped.
delbochel a delibech; beches el merruul; ngloik a le kemeldiil a delbochel.
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ilus, v.r.s.rowed; paddled; stirred.
ilus a mla meius; imus a mlai el merael; isal a mlai.
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telubokl, v.r.s.walked under.
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telukouk, v.r.s.foreskin pulled down.
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uldurech, v.r.s.told, asked or encouraged to do something; sent on an errand.
uldurech a mla modurech; ullab a tekoi el mong; Calista a uldurech; oderechii; odurech, oderechel.
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ulecheled, v.r.s.provided with fish.
ulecheled a mla ngmai a cheldil; meltom a ulecheled er a sechelil; mla mucheled, omecheled er ngii.
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ulengelt, v.r.s.sunk (into soft ground).
ulengelt a mla mongelt; ngar er a chelsel a chutem; mechas a ulengelt er a mesei, ongeltii, olengelt, ongeltel.
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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:

bengkengkoll, v.a.s.(object, usually long) to be laid on ground; exposed quickly by outgoing tide.
bengkengkoll a meched el obebengkangk a mlai er ngii.
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brukel, v.a.s.is to be dyed or colored.
brukel a kirel el oburek; omurek, mrekii a bail, brekel a such.
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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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okull, v.a.s.is to be anchored.
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rusall, v.a.s.is to be divided up/distributed.
rusall a reuikl; biongel, kirel merous.
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titechall, v.a.s.is to be wedged.
titechall a kirel el metitech; loia titechel; titechii a osib; tmitech a oles, melitech; titechel.
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urelmall, v.a.s.(clothes) are to be rinsed.
urelmall a kirel el muralm; omralm, mralm a selokel, mrelmii a klengoes, urelmel.
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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
bobaipapaya tree (including fruit).bobaidull; slow-witted.
kltombluntness; dullness.ketom(knife, etc) blunt or dull.
builmoon; month.buil moon-shaped.
cheludechwooden float for fish net; light weight wood used to make corks.cheludechwooden float for fish net; light weight wood used to make corks.
otekliklvertical support beam for buadel whose bottom end lis on imuul.oteklikllying down with feet in air.
kobesossea horse.kobesossea horse.
ngelloklnodding; dozing (off).olengelloklnod when sleepy; doze off.

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
mechitechut a rengulweak willed; unmotivated; easily discouraged.
bletengel a rengulnonchalance; laziness.
olturk a rengulsatiate; make someone give up (from fatigue); get one's fill of; insult continuously or mercilessly; let someone really have it.
omech er a rengultake the edge of one's hunger.
klikiid a renguluninvolved.
telirem a rengulfeelings hurt.
berngel a rengulanything discouraging to one's spirit.

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