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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:

delasech, v.r.s.carved; built.
delasech a mla medasech; blai a delsachel, melasech, dosechii, dmasech, desechel.
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klebkab, v.r.s.fastened with ring.
klebkab a mla mekebkab; ngar ngii a kebkab, merechorech a klebkab e chimal.
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klertall, v.r.s.scratched; raked.
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klsakl, v.r.s.(something) wrong/the matter.
klsakl a ngar er ngii a telemall; mla mekesakl? ke klsakl? tia ng klsakl?
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selauch, v.r.s.broken off; (child) carried at side with legs astraddle.
selauch a mla mesauch; nglai, buuch a selauch, souchii, smauch, suchel.
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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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ulekrur, v.r.s.embarrassed.
ulekrur a mla mukrur; omekrur, mekerrengii; ulekrur a berrotel e le ng merur; rrengel.
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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:

bedachel, v.a.s.(canoe, boat, etc.) is to have curve made in it.
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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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delemekill, v.a.s.(post, stick, etc.) is to be driven into ground.
delemekill a kirel el medelemakl; kirel mukedechor; dolemeklii er a chutem; dolemakl a smengtel a chutem, mellemakl, delemeklel.
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ocherengaol, v.a.s.is to be counted or included.
ocherengaol a ocherengall.
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odengelengelall, v.a.s.is to be sent or thrown down slope; is to be sailed downwind.
odengelengelall a kirel modengelengel; odengelengel a kerrekar er a taoch.
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okesioll, v.a.s.is to be copied or imitated or made the same.
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okingall, v.a.s.is to be seated or appointed.
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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
dechudechdirt; mud; patching material; filling (for cavity).dechudechdirt; mud; patching material; filling (for cavity).
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebausmell of vagina.
chemarsleak (in something like a boat or a bucket).chemars(boat, bucket, etc.) leaky; leaking.
lalechpus.bellachelpurulent; festering; (woman's genitals) unclean and smelly; (starchy food) too soft or slimy.
mbesaoldrool; spittle.mbesaol(person) drooling (a lot).
lottapeworm.lot having a tapeworm.
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebau(cooked meat or fish, cooking pot, etc.) foul-smelling.

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
mereng er a rengulplease; go along with (so as not to hurt feelings).
omak er a rengul(person) takes the edge off (his/her) hunger.
rengul a cheluch dregs of coconut oil.
mengedecheduch er a rengulthink; say to oneself.
chelam a rengulheartbroken.
melatk a rengulconsider someone's feelings.
seselk a rengulbored; impatient.

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