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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:

cheleokl, v.r.s.having something stuck in throat; (machine) broken.
cheleokl a mla mecheokl; merekeklii a tungd, ngar er ngii a tungd er a omerkolel; cheleokl a telemall el mesil; bilas a cheleokl.
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kliut, v.r.s.(weeds, grass) cut; (garden, village, road, etc.) cleaned up.
kliut a mla mekiut; kluotel, nglaml e rriik; mla mekedmokl el mo mededaes; kiuetii a beluu, kmiut a blai, kutel.
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nglaml, v.r.s.(grass, garden, yard etc.) cut.
nglaml a nglemull; mla mengaml; ngomlii a rael; nguaml, melaml, ngemlel.
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rriomel, v.r.s.collected/gathered and transported.
rriomel a klalo el ngii a meriim; klalo el mlengai a rriomel; rrimelel.
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ulengaok, v.r.s.whistled to.
ulengaok a mla mongaok; mla ongokii a ngaok; ongaok, ngokel, ongokel.
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ultekau, v.r.s.held in lap; (house) supported (by foundation, etc.).
ultekau a mla motekau; ngar er a ouach; mechas a ultekau er a ngalek, otekur, oltekau a chimal, otekul.
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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:

bikall, v.a.s.is to be raised/outstretched.
bikall a kirel el oboik; meluoik er ngii el mo deluoik, lild a bikall.
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kudall, v.a.s.is to be dammed or delayed.
kudall a kirel el mekaud; melecha kaud, koudii a ralm, kmaud a bong, kudel.
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ngemull, v.a.s.(grass; garden; yard; etc.) is to be cut.
ngemull a kirel el mengaml; ngomlii a mekesokes, nguaml a rael, melaml; ngemlel.
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sball, v.a.s.(ground) is to be broken, plowed or dug.
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sechesall, v.a.s.is to be propped open.
sechesall a kirel el mesuches; suchesii, meluches, baiong a sechesall; smuches.
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tongekill, v.a.s.is to be put or thrown up high.
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uketkall, v.a.s.is to be reminded.
ukltkall a kirel el muklatk; omeklatk me lak lobes a klumech; mekltkii me lolim a kar, ukltkel.
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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
mbesaoldrool; spittle.mbesaol(person) drooling (a lot).
bikodelhives or rash from allergies; allergic reaction affecting the skin.bikodelhives or rash from allergies; allergic reaction affecting the skin.
rubakelder; old man; chief; foreign man; boyfriend; husband.rubakhaving the qualities of an old man.
chiukl(singing) voice.cheiukl(person) having a good singing voice.
cheolubarnacles.cheolubarnacles.
besbastrash; rubbish; litter; debris.besbesiileasily litter.
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebausmell of vagina.

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
teloadel a rengulindecisive.
ralmetaoch a rengulinsensitive; not easily affected; easygoing; casual; prone to avoiding responsibility.
melemedem er a rengulcool down one's anger.
mesbesubed er a rengulprepare someone (psychologically) for something; pave the way for more serious discussion with someone; inform gradually or indirectly.
omal er a rengulastonish; amaze; impress; cause admiration.
luut er a rengulanything causing one to lose one's resolve.
mechas a rengulbe surprised at.

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