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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:

bldoel, v.r.s.having something in the hand.
bldoel a olab, bldoel a udoud.
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chelsbocheb, v.r.s.(boat) has boards of frame put on.
chelsbocheb a mla mechesbocheb; chosbechebii, mla melecha chosbocheb er a blai, mengesbocheb, chesbechebel.
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cherroakl, v.r.s.(ankle) twisted or sprained.
cherroakl a mla mocheroakl; ulechoid a ulengeruaol er a ochil, ulecheroakl.
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seluud, v.r.s.shredded; stripped off.
seluud a seloud; mla mesuud; mla smuud a berdel a kim.
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ulekord, v.r.s.completed; perfected.
ulekord a blekord; ungil a rrellel; itabori a ulekord.
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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:

bedoel, v.a.s.(ball, etc.) is to be caught; is to be grabbed.
bedoel a kirel el obed; bduu a bedoel. medir a bduu, med, omed, bedeel a bduu.
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betochel, v.a.s.is to be thrown at, pounded or cracked.
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betutall, v.a.s.is to be chiseled.
betutall a kirel el obetuut, ometuut, metuut a kerrekar, mtutii,betutel.
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cheseksiktall, v.a.s.(someone) is to be involved or mixed up in.
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chesuerngall, v.a.s.(face) is to be slapped; is to be slapped in the face.
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orretall, v.a.s.is to be made to run.
orretall a kirel el morurt; skuul er a kldachelbai a orretall, orretii el mo ungil, orurt a osisechakl er a usaso, orretel.
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tingetall, v.a.s.is to be plugged up.
tingetall a dengobel; kirel el metinget; tingetii, tminget a butiliang.
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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
martilionghammer.martiliongclumsy; ungraceful; untalented; (person) blunt or hard-hitting (in his words).
telengtungdwild tamarind; lead tree.telengtungdwoven with small weave.
cheluchcoconut oil; fuel (e.g. gasoline, kerosene, diesel oil, etc.); grease (from meat being cooked).bekecheluchsmell of coconut oil.
kemangetlength (of string, etc.) which exceeds what is needed or expected.kemangetlength (of string, etc.) which exceeds what is needed or expected.
mechasold woman; titled woman; foreign woman; male's father's sisters; girlfriend; wife.mechasold woman; titled woman; foreign woman; male's father's sisters; girlfriend; wife.
besbastrash; rubbish; litter; debris.besbesiileasily litter.
chiechabhole; hollow; cavity (in tooth).mechiechab hole.

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
ungil er a rengulfine or all right with.
mengesib er a rengul get someone angry.
olengasech er a rengulmake or get (someone) angry.
mengedecheduch er a rengulthink; say to oneself.
mechitechut a rengulweak willed; unmotivated; easily discouraged.
titmekl a rengultimid; scared.
medecherecher a rengul stubborn; adamant; not easily swayed.

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