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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:

bluut, v.r.s.piled/heaped up.
bluut a beluotel, cheldull, mla obuuta chutem, muut a besbas, koididai, butel.
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cheltelaol, v.r.s.made drunk.
cheltelaol a chetelaol, ulekoad er a rrom, cheltiruir er a chemachel.
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lloched, v.r.s.(string, cord, wire, etc. or relationship between villages) broken.
lloched a llechidel. Telemall el deleuill era beluu ma beluu.
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selmesumech, v.r.s.bidden farewell; given divorce payment; refused gracefully.
selmesumech a mla mesmesumech; buch a diak el selmesumech; diak a olmesmechel; mla merael.
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ulet, v.r.s.pressed; squeezed; (food) soft (from hitting ground).
ulet a mla mouet; lius a ulet, tul a kerebou a ulet, omet, met, meseos, omeseos.
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ultuull, v.r.s.carried on the back; held behind the back; carrying (person, thing) on the back; holding (hands) behind the back.
ultuull a ultour; ultuull er a ngelekel, oltour er a til.
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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:

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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dengesechall, v.a.s.(underbelly of crab) is to be opened.
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kiokl, v.a.s.is to be dug; is to be opened or unlocked; (clock, watch) is to be wound.
kiokl a kirel el mekiis; kiesii el mo delluchel, kmiis a chutem, mengiis er ngii, mesib.
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ldaol, v.a.s.(woman) is to have sexual intercourse.
ldaol a ldall.
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ngidall, v.a.s.is to be lifted out of water.
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odeseball, v.a.s.is to be relieved from pain; overwork; etc.
odeseball a kirel el modoseb; mo duoseb; oldoseb, chad a odeseball a rengul; mo ungil a rengul; odesebii, odoseb, odesebel a reng.
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okebiil, v.a.s.is to be restrained/held back.
okebiil a kirel el mokebai; meterob; buik a okebiil er a oterul a mekngit el kar; okebir.
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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
chiukl(singing) voice.cheiukl(person) having a good singing voice.
cheballwhite-leafed taro (yautia); gray/white hair.cheballwhite-leafed taro (yautia); gray/white hair.
tutaumorning; this morning.tutaumorning; this morning.
tutkwart on sole of foot; disease of kebui leaves.tutk (kebui leaves) diseased.
chaisnews.merael a chiselwell-known; famous; infamous; (person) popular. (news) spreading quickly.
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebausmell of vagina.
diulareng(someone's) happiness/joy.dmeuhappy; glad; joyful; appreciative.

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
melib er a renguldecide; make up one's mind.
meses a rengulindustrious; diligent.
seselk a rengulbored; impatient.
dmolech a rengulwise; prudent; careful in planning ahead.
mechese a rengulbecoming surprised.
oltak er a renguldeceive oneself about being someone's sweetheart.
Rengulbaititle of chiefs in Imeliik.

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