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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:

berrekakl, v.r.s.swallowed.
berrekakl a mla oberekakl; merkeklii a kelel, omerekakl, berekeklel.
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delechudech, v.r.s.soiled (with dirt or mud); patched; tar; pitch; asphalt.
delechudech a mla medechudech; delechudech a chemars er a chado duchedechii, duchudech.
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delemedem, v.r.s.levelled; equalized.
delemedem a mla medemedem; tabesul, chutem a delemedamel.
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nglemiakl, v.r.s.climbed on.
nglemiakl a mla mengemiakl; mla melemiakl er ngii; buuch a ngimeklel.
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nglunguuch, v.r.s.prayed to.
nglunguuch a mla mengunguuch; ng nglunguuch me ng ungia rengul; ngunguchel.
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seluis, v.r.s.(match) struck or lighted.
seluis a mla meseuis; siuesur a mases; meleuis er a seuis; siuesul.
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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:

butall, v.a.s.is to be piled/heaped up.
butall a kirel el obuut; mengedidai, omuut, mutii a chutem, koididai, muut a besbas, mengudel, butel.
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cherdechedall, v.a.s.is to be fried.
cherdechedall a kirel el mecherdoched; chordechedii, chordoched a ngikel, cherdechedel.
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chertemall, v.a.s.is to have a sticky substance applied.
chertemall a kirel el mecheritem; chirtemii er a kar; chiritem, mengilt.
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cholodall, v.a.s.is to be comforted or consoled.
cholodall a kirel el mechelaod, mengelaod.
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ngesuul, v.a.s.is to be reduced in number/subtracted.
ngesuul a kirel el mengas; melas; diak lengesuul a ulechucher el udoud, ngosur, ngmai, ngesul.
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rsachel, v.a.s.(food, betel nut, medicine) is to be pounded; is to be punched.
rsachel a kirel el merusech; kukau a rsachel; remusech a belsiich.
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toechel, v.a.s.(compost) is to be made.
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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.bekebau(cooked meat or fish, cooking pot, etc.) foul-smelling.
chedeadjellyfish; nettle.chedeadjellyfish; nettle.
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.mechasold woman; titled woman; foreign woman; male's father's sisters; girlfriend; wife.
chermallhibiscus (bark used as a rope; leaves used as mulch for taro).chermallhibiscus (bark used as a rope; leaves used as mulch for taro).
kikoisea clam.merikikoiwavy; bulging in places.
kerisgoiter.keris (neck) swollen with goiter.

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
omal er a rengulastonish; amaze; impress; cause admiration.
medengelii a rengulregain consciousness (after a faint or stroke); (person) self-confident or self-assured; (person) knowing his abilities or capacities.
meleolt a rengul(person) carefree or nonchalant; (person) not easily disturbed or content to let things happen as they may.
diak lodengelii a rengul(person) unaware of his limitations or overestimates his abilities or overextends himself with committments.
sesuul a rengul(person) undecided.
rrau a rengulconfused/puzzled by/about.
olsebek er a rengulworry (unintentionally); startle.

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