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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:

chelemus, v.r.s.amputated; (person) having amputated limb.
chelemus a delebes; delebokl, chumsengii a chimal, chelemsengel.
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chelimetemet, v.r.s.(hand) closed to make fist; crushed into ball.
chelimetemet a mla mechimetemet diak le blerek, choimetemetii a chimal; choimetemet a babier, chimetemetel.
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derreder, v.r.s.headed; ruled; governed.
derreder a ulekrael; cheldereder, mla medereder; mechedereder, mosisechakl, derreder me te meduch a urreor.
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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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nglemachel, v.r.s.in a state of having chewed betel.
nglemachel a melamech; diak a buuch me ng diak de nglemachel.
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rrechorech, v.r.s.stolen; robbed.
rrechorech a nglai; mla merechorech a udoud, rucherechii a mlai; recherechel.
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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:

odekedekall, v.a.s.is to be chased or run after; is to be caught with or fought (with).
odekedekall a kirel el modekedek; kirel el moreked; orekedii, odekedekii a merechorech, odekedek, odekedekel.
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tebongel, v.a.s.(hands, dishes, etc.) are to be washed/rinsed.
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udechemall, v.a.s.is to be caught or captured.
udechemall a kirel el mudechem; kirel el motoir el moreked; mdechemii a malk; mdechem a babii, udechemel.
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udelmall, v.a.s.(weapon) is to be aimed; is to be focused on or at.
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ukall, v.a.s.is to be cut or pushed down.
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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
chermallhibiscus (bark used as a rope; leaves used as mulch for taro).chermall having vagina which lubricates quickly.
chelechedsmall sea crab.chelechedsmall sea crab.
kltombluntness; dullness.ketom(knife, etc) blunt or dull.
singchwaist; pelvis; lower back.bekesingch
berechsmell of raw fish.bekeberechsmell of the sea or raw fish.
chetbaelelephantiasis.chetbaelelephantiasis.
bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).bisech(person) easily aroused sexually.

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
ulsemuul a rengul(person) humble.
mengesib er a rengul get someone angry.
orrechorech a rengulextremely angry; wild with anger.
mengerar er a rengul criticise; insult; put down; make someone feel ashamed; hurt someone's feelings.
melai er a rengulpersuade.
omatek er a rengul restrain ones\ desire\ to\ do\ something\;\ keep\ ones desire(s) to oneself.
rengul a ngaisyolk of egg.

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