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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:

kladikm, v.r.s.right-handed; graceful (esp., in dance).
kladikm a meduch e klebokel; ungil el meloik e oungelakel, kladikm er a tekoi me a cheldecheduch.
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klsous, v.r.s.(metal, wood, etc.) filed.
klsous a klsoks; mla meksous er a ksous.
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nglader, v.r.s.sent or seen off; returned; sent back; (bride) brought to prospective husband family.
nglader a mla mengader; mla ngoderii; ngelekel a nglader; ngederel
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seledem, v.r.s.propositioned; proposed.
seledem a mla mesedem; te seledem er a omenged; sodemii er a klsau; kesedem; sedemel.
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serrochel, v.r.s.stepping on.
serrochel a mla mesarech; dechor er bebul; sorechii a deel, smarech, serrochel er a chetemel.
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ulekingar, v.r.s.seated; appointed.
ulekingar a kiei a rengul; diak el beot el mo kesib a rengul; ulekingar a rengul a meduch el omudech a beluu.
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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:

chemuul, v.a.s.about to be broken in two.
chemuul a kirel el mecham; kerrekar a chemuul; chomur, chuam a sengsongd, chemul.
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ochedecheraol, v.a.s.is to be made to stand; is to be built.
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ongchengchall, v.a.s.is to be dropped down from tree; (restriction) is to be removed.
ongchengchall a kirel el mongchongch; ongchengchii a bul er a uel; mo diak a bul el telkib, ongchengchel.
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otirall, v.a.s.is to be chased.
otirall a oteil.
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rekemall, v.a.s.is to be broken into pieces or smaller denomination; (money) is to be exchanged.
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ukderebereball, v.a.s.is to be made to sit like a man.
ukderebereball a kirel mukderboreb; mekderberebii a chad er a blai e msa ngerachel; mekdereboreb a ochil; ukderberebel; reberebel.
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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
chudelgrass.chudelmarijuana.
bekngiukmold; (food) moldy/mildewed.bekngiuk(food) moldy/mildewed.
kelebusjail, prison.kelebusjail, prison.
burekswelling.oburekget dyed or stained with color.
bidokelhives.bidokel broken out in hives.
rasechblood.rasechblood.
rubakelder; old man; chief; foreign man; boyfriend; husband.rubakelder; old man; chief; foreign man; boyfriend; husband.

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
bletengel a rengulnonchalance; laziness.
mechitechut a rengulweak willed; unmotivated; easily discouraged.
olsiich er a rengultake pleasure in someone else's pain, difficulties, problems, etc.
mengedecheduch er a rengulthink; say to oneself.
obais a rengulget fed up with; become unable to cope with.
becheremremangel a rengulgreedy; stingy.
mengeokl er a rengulburden; bother; cause concern; weigh on.

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