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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:

chelab, v.r.s.has ashes put on it.
chelab a mla mechab; ngar ngii a chab, chobur, chuab, sers a chelab, chebul.
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cheluml, v.r.s.(fire) started up or kindled.
cheluml a mla mechuml; ngau a mla kmard.
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telab, v.r.s.(ear, nose) pierced for ring etc.
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telikak, v.r.s.(legs) spread apart.
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teloched, v.r.s.wounded or pricked with thorn.
teloched a telemall; teloched el chais a diak le merang me a lechub e ng cheleuid
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uleong, v.r.s.jumped or vaulted over.
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ulimoim, v.r.s.lowered; (boat) moved out to deep water.
ulimoim a mla moimoim; ngar bab el mei; oimimii, oimoim a mengur, "menga ulimoim" a menga a ulechar e merael el kall, oimimel.
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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:

berekedall, v.a.s.is to be pasted or glued onto; is to be leaned against.
berekedall a kirel el obereked. mereked a babier, merekedii, omereked er ngii.
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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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chiitel, v.a.s.is to be thrown away or abandoned.
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edongel, v.a.s.is to be coaxed into doing something; is to be flattered/whetted/sharpened; easily flattered.
edongel a chad el di beot el mo oumera a diak le mera el chetengakl; edengii, edengel.
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kiutall, v.a.s.(weeds; grass) is to be cut; (garden; village; road; etc.) is to be cleaned up.
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osebekall, v.a.s.is to be made to fly.
osebekall a kirel el mosebek, osebekii, osebek a skoki, osebekel.
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tetkall, v.a.s.is to be pointed at or appointed.
tetkall a kirel el metutk; tutkii a bobai; tmutk a mengur; tetkel.
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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
iluodelstones, coconut shells, or similar objects used as support for cooking pot during serving.iluodel(people) sitting, standing or arranged in a circle; (stone platform) built circular.
burachedskin disease in which white spots spread over body.burachedhaving skin covered with white spots.
kerdikyaws; framboesia.kerdiksuffering from yaws.
beraomfish kept until slightly spoiled and then wrapped and barbequed.beraom (fish) slightly spoiled.
lalechpus.bellachelpurulent; festering; (woman's genitals) unclean and smelly; (starchy food) too soft or slimy.
chemadechcoconut sap.chemadechcoconut sap.
bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).

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
oltamet er a rengulpull at someone's heartstrings; mean a lot to someone.
ungil a rengulhappy; glad; kind.
kersos a rengulyearning; anxious (to see).
blak a rengulhard-working; diligent; eager; attentive; interested in; intent upon; decided on; in favor of.
omatek er a rengul restrain ones desire to do something; keep ones desire(s) to oneself.
oubuch a rengultreat person as if he or she were one's spouse.
ungial a rengulhappiness; joy.

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