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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:

chellooch, v.r.s.masturbated.
chellooch a mla mechelooch; mengelooch a odoim le ng diak ongraol, chelochel.
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cheloit, v.r.s.thrown away; abandoned; discarded; (money) spent unnecessarily.
cheloit a blides; mla mechoit; choitii a mechut el mlai, chemoit a besbas.
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delbard, v.r.s.laid crosswise; perpendicular; (speech, behavior) inappropriate.
delbard a diak el llemolem; ka el melemalt, tochedesuch, tbard, kerrekar a delbard er a rael, diberdel.
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klderaol, v.r.s.moored with outrigger away from shore.
klderaol a ulak, mlil a omerael a klderaol er a cheldukl; koderolii, koderaol a mlai er a klemedaol; kederolel.
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selloakl, v.r.s.grabbed at and shaken or stirred.
selloakl a mla meseloakl; mla mesalo; rrutech er a betok el chim; selloakl el kall a olsecher; soleueklii; solouakl.
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telechelokl, v.r.s.moved or push up and away; cleared; blown up by wind.
telechelokl a blkais; mla metechelokl, mla metukouk; tucheleklii a chutem; tuchelokl a chesimer; techeleklel.
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uldum, v.r.s.made to appear.
uldum a mla modum; ulecholt, ngalek a uldum a bdelul er a daob; mla tmoech; odmii, odum, sils a uldum; odmil.
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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:

chitekill, v.a.s.to be sung.
chitekill a kirel el mechitakl; choiteklii a "Belau el oba klisiich"; mengitakl er ngii.
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diesall, v.a.s.is to be removed or extracted.
diesall a kirel el meduis; dmuis a delsangel, duiesii, otobed er a chelsel; meluis a semum, diesel a semum.
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ngikall, v.a.s.is to be danced.
ngikall a kirel el meloik er ngii; ngera el ngloik a ngikall? karkimenai me a ngera a ngikall?
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ochelall, v.a.s.(fish) is to be scaled.
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serechall, v.a.s.is to be cleansed/bathed in hot water.
serechall a serochel; kirel el mesarech, smarech a cheluib el mo toluk, serechel a cheluib.
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techeball, v.a.s.is to be removed/scraped up/cut out/uprooted.
techeball a techibel; kirel el metecheb; nguu a belsiich er a ngot, tochebii a nguu el rokir, nguu er a uchul.
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ukrengall, v.a.s.is to be guided, advised or led.
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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
uloechspear(?).uloech(person) in a hurry to go somewhere.
H.O.(abbrev.) Babeldaob (used pejoratively).H.O.unexperienced in Western ways; ignorant of modern conveniences.
singodor of sperm.besingsmell of sperm; smell unclean (esp., used in insults referring to women).
martilionghammer.martilionghammer.
cheballwhite-leafed taro (yautia); gray/white hair.cheballwhite-leafed taro (yautia); gray/white hair.
chermallhibiscus (bark used as a rope; leaves used as mulch for taro).chermallPalauan money in form of green or blue glass beads.
daktfear; awe.bedektallfearful; shy.

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
seselk a rengulbored; impatient.
urrengulelurungulel
chetellaok a rengulchetellaok
oubuch a rengultreat person as if he or she were one's spouse.
telirem a rengulfeelings hurt.
merechorech a rengulselfish; greedy; stingy.
moded a rengul(person is) easygoing/even-tempered.

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