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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:

blutek, v.r.s.shut; closed.
blutek a mla obutek; ulsiu, mutek, mtekii, blutek a medal, btekel.
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derrai, v.r.s.(wound) irritated.
derrai a mla mederai; lmuut el ochidii a ringel; dorir a blodk, dorai a keltkat, deril.
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lloched, v.r.s.(string, cord, wire, etc. or relationship between villages) broken.
lloched a llechidel. Telemall el deleuill era beluu ma beluu.
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ngelsakl, v.r.s.divided; separated; (wood) removed from fire; moved out of the way.
ngelsakl a chacheroid; diak lulturek; idungel a ngelsakl me a ngau a ulekoad; ngoseklii, ngosakl, ngeseklel.
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rrederad, v.r.s.(flowers, etc.) picked here and there.
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seliik, v.r.s.(object or person) looked for or searched for or having been sought after.
seliik a mla mesiik; mla metik, rrechorech el udoud a seliik; smiik; skel.
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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:

bedkall, v.a.s.is to be trapped or ensnared.
bedkall a kirel el obedikl; medeklii a malk, medikl a beab, bedeklel.
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betekall, v.a.s.is to be shut or closed.
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bichall, v.a.s.is to be sifted or filtered.
bichall a biochel; kirel el obiich, michii, osiik, omiich a tekoi, bichel a klemerang.
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chechedall, v.a.s.is to be husked.
chechedall a kirel el mecheched; chochedii, mengeched a lius, chechedel
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chetuul, v.a.s.(fish) smoked; having the potential of giving off too much smoke.
chetuul a kirel el mechat; techa mengat a ngikel? chotur, chemat a ngikel, chetul.
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ngbatel, v.a.s.(clothes; etc.) are to be taken off; is to be pulled out/freed/absolved.
ngbatel a kirel el mengubet; mekedoked a lechetel; ngubetii er a cheliseksikd; nguubet a okul; a ouak a ngbatel.
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uksoangel, v.a.s.is to be made used to or trained.
uksoangel a kirel el muksau; omeksau er ngii; meruul er ngii el mo smau, mo soal; omeksau, meksongii ngalek; ngalek a uksoangel er a urreor; uksongel.
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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.
baikingdisease; germs.baiking(person) unsanitary/unhygienic (in one's habits).
chemarsleak (in something like a boat or a bucket).chemarsleak (in something like a boat or a bucket).
chermallhibiscus (bark used as a rope; leaves used as mulch for taro).chermallhibiscus (bark used as a rope; leaves used as mulch for taro).
bangchbite.sekebangch(animal, person) prone to biting.
chelechelouldandruff.chelecheloulhaving dandruff.
koltgold.koltgold.

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
diak lemesim a rengulstick to one's convictions; not change one's mind.
diak lodengelii a rengul(person) unaware of his limitations or overestimates his abilities or overextends himself with committments.
olsarech er a rengulhold in or control emotions, anger etc.
mereng er a rengulplease; go along with (so as not to hurt feelings).
medul a renguldisgusted with.
diak a rengulinconsiderate; impolite.
kngtil a rengul(someone's) being mean or feeling sad or frustrated.

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