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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:

blidokl, v.r.s.cast or tossed (e.g. fishnet); thrown underhand (as in softball); thrown out(side); located far from others (as if tossed away).
blidokl a mla obidokl; blides, mideklii, midokl, bideklel.
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chelad, v.r.s.(ear) slapped.
chelad a oumechad er ngii; diak el soal remenges, mla chemad a dingal.
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cheleklachel, v.r.s.cleaned by shaking with water inside; shaken.
cheleklachel a mla mecheklachel; choklechelii a ilumel, choklachel, mengklachel, cheklechelel.
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klemuu, v.r.s.(person) having shaven head or closely-cropped hair.
klemuu a mla mekemuu; komungii a bdelul, mengemuu; telamk a chiul.
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terrekakl, v.r.s.abused; not taken care of; carelessness.
terrekakl a diak el ulekedmokl; terrekakl el ngalek a diak le cheleoch; meterekakl er ngii; terrekeklel.
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uleksecher, v.r.s.made sick.
uleksecher a mla muksecher; rrom a mla meksecherii; uleksecher er a omeloko el dekool.
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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:

cheredengall, v.a.s.is to be crumbled or crushed.
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kikiull, v.a.s.(distance or course) is to be swum.
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ngkedall, v.a.s.(fine) is to be paid.
ngkedall a kirel el nguu a nguked; kirel a odanges; msa ngkedel.
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otebengall, v.a.s.is to be placed on raised surface.
otebengall a kirel el motab; oltab er a remeleboteb, otebengii e merolung, otebengel.
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reberebekall, v.a.s.is to be groped for.
reberebekall a kirel el mereberebek; merreuaech el osiik er ngii.
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ukdebechall, v.a.s.(plant) is to be cultivated; (business, etc.) is to be established or started.
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ukdengchekill, v.a.s.is to be seated.
ukdengchekill a kirel el mukedengchokl; mo dengchokl; mekedengcheklii, omekedengchokl er ngii.
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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
tangtikebikelsee-saw; teeter-totter.tangtikebikel(object) wobbly or in danger of falling over.
otekliklvertical support beam for buadel whose bottom end lis on imuul.otekliklvertical support beam for buadel whose bottom end lis on imuul.
chemaiongdragonfly.chemaiongdragonfly.
bodechcurved configuration/shape of boat.obodechcurved; (person) having back curved towards rear.
chetaubrief rain squall.chetaubrief rain squall.
riklbold/violent behavior.meriklbold; violent; restless.
chadliver.chedengaolhave a large liver.

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
bltkil a rengulone's affection/concern for.
nguibes a renguldesirous of; lusting after.
Rengulbaititle of chiefs in Imeliik.
seselkang a rengulbecoming bored or impatient.
chelemekl a rengul(person) holding a grudge; (person) strong, stubborn, persistent, determined.
ngar er a eou a rengul(person is) humble/respectful.
mekurt a rengul(someone's) feelings hurt.

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