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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:

chelaus, v.r.s.sprinkled with lime; woven.
chelaus a mla mechaus; chemelel a chelaus, mengaus, chusel a chemachel; chousii a oruikl, chemaus a tet, chusel.
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klekar, v.r.s.watched over; guarded; watchful (of one's behavior).
klekar a mengkar; bulis a klekar er a kelebus; omes e omtebechel er ngii; kokerengii, kokar, kekerengel.
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lling, v.r.s.punched with a hole.
lling a mla meling; chemars, ngar er ngii a blsibes; lingir, lming, lling el olekang.
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ngliik, v.r.s.(excrement) removed.
ngliik a mla mengiik; nglai a dach er ngii, ngikel a dach.
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teliu, v.r.s.carried with arm bent out and up; (card) drawn or picked.
teliu a telkool; mla metiu; tmiu a bilel, tiungar a ngelekel; meliu a ditel; tiungal a ngalek.
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ulchiis, v.r.s.chased away.
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ulekdereborb, v.r.s.made to sit like a man.
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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:

besebesall, v.a.s.(basket, box) is to be tied up.
besebesall a kirel el obesebes; mesebesii, mesaur, melechet a billum, omesebes.
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lebeluul, v.a.s.(hands) are to be washed/dunked in water.
lebeluul a kirel el melebal; mellib; ngalek a lebeluul a chimal, lobelur, lobal, meriso, lebelul a chimal.
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odermeremall, v.a.s.is to be pushed or forced (under water, into ground, etc.).
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okeradel, v.a.s.is to be lighted.
okeradel a kirel el mokard; mekerdii a olbidel; mekard, okerdel.
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riomel, v.a.s.is to be collected or gathered and transported.
riomel a kirel el meriim; kloleklel a riomel, riemii, reuiim; ngmai el rokui el otobed; riemel.
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sechesechall, v.a.s.is to be stuffed; (gun) is to be cocked or set.
sechesechall a kirel mesechesech; locha kelel a boes; melechesech, sochesech a bosir, sechesechel.
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sibesongel, v.a.s.is to be tripped or hindered.
sibesongel a olibesongel; ngii di le ngera el melibas; tetuk el kerrekar a sibesongel er a rael; mesaik el chad a sibesongel er a urreor.
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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
kelmolmaction of tickling (lightly).mekelmolmticklish; tingling; sensitive.
bekngiukmold; (food) moldy/mildewed.bekngiuk(food) moldy/mildewed.
tedobech(one) half.tedobech(one) half.
techiirhandnet with handle; cloth or screen for pressing coconut milk; sheath at base of coconut frond (used for pressing coconut milk).mekudem a techerel(person who) understands or catches everything.
chelechelouldandruff.chelechelouldandruff.
ngelloklnodding; dozing (off).olengelloklnod when sleepy; doze off.
kelebusjail, prison.kelebusjailed; in jail; (child, etc.) undergoing punishment.

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
diak lemesim a rengulstick to one's convictions; not change one's mind.
mesubed a rengulaccept; be resigned to; learn a lesson; learn from experience.
sengok a rengulcurious.
olturk a rengulsatiate; make someone give up (from fatigue); get one's fill of; insult continuously or mercilessly; let someone really have it.
ngellitel a rengulchoosy.
ngodech er a rengulfind something strange, different or suspicious.
berngel a rengulanything discouraging to one's spirit.

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