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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:

bludech, v.r.s.bound into sheaves; pacified.
bludech a mla obudech; mdechii, bludech el beluu a chimo ngerel; ngar ngii a kltalreng; bdechel a beluu.
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cheluomel, v.r.s.wrapped in leaves or betel nut fiber and baked.
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delemumuu, v.r.s.sex-crazy; lustful.
delemumuu a deleberuou.
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seluub, v.r.s.studied; learned; imitated.
seluub a mla mesuub; suub a chelitakl; suebii a ngloik; suebel
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teluk, v.r.s.cut; measured.
teluk a delobech; mla metuk; medebes; tukur a kerrekar; tmuk a ngikel; tkul.
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uldid, v.r.s.bridged.
uldid a mla mudid; ngar er ngii a did er ngii el omoachel; didil.
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uldikel, v.r.s.made to move/shake; (person) made active.
uldikel a ouedikel; mengidebtib; mengitengtik; uldikel er a rengalek cholechotel a bedengir el mesisiich
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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:

bedesall, v.a.s.(fish) is to be boiled in water; (tongue) is to be cut.
bedesall a mereched el mo marek, modes a ngikel, bedakl el diokang.
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beleball, v.a.s.is to be wound around with rope, cord, tape, etc..
beleball a kirel el obelebel; omelebel er ngii, melebelii a mesil, belebelel.
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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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oidall, v.a.s.is to be copied, translated or transferred.
oidall a kirel el moiuid; mutechei; chutem a oidall, oidii, oiuid a ngakl, oidel.
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okelall, v.a.s.is to be fed or made to eat.
okelall a okall.
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otuull, v.a.s.is to be carried on the back or held behind the back.
otuull a kirel el motour; oturii a ngalek, otour a babier, ngalek a otuull, oturel.
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titiuul, v.a.s.is to be rolled.
titiuul a kirel el metitai; melitai er ngii; titiuul a bduu.
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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
chelucheb(taro or banana) leaf or bag used for covering food being cooked; type of coral which grows on top of or covers other corals.chellobelcovered; shady.
rubakelder; old man; chief; foreign man; boyfriend; husband.bekerubaksmell like an old man.
H.O.(abbrev.) Babeldaob (used pejoratively).H.O.unexperienced in Western ways; ignorant of modern conveniences.
cheremrumtype of sea cucumber; trepang.bekecheremrumsmell of sea cucumber.
bangikoibutterfly; moth.bangikoibutterfly; moth.
chaziflavor, taste.chazitasty.
tengolldownward slope; descent.tengollslopping or steep (as seen from above).

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
llemesel a rengulhis/her/its intelligence.
bekesbesebek a renguleasily worried; worrisome.
omekerrau er a rengulconfuse; puzzle.
belalk a rengulfeel shame/fright.
chelimimuul a rengulchelimimii a rengul
mederdirk a rengulfeel scorn for.
mekngit er a rengulnot good for; not all right with.

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