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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:

blodech, v.r.s.(canoe, boat, etc.) has curve made in it.
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blsiul, v.r.s.(person) well advised or guided; brainwashed.
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chelemcham, v.r.s.broken into pieces.
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cheltekill, v.r.s.held or led by the hand; carried; towed; persuaded; carrying something.
cheltekill a cheltakl, mengetakl.
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llik, v.r.s.(bottom of pot, basket) lined with leaves.
llik a ngar er ngii a lkil; mla melik; likir a chelais, lmik a blil a kall.
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teleu, v.r.s.widened; opened wide; (legs) spread; unfinished.
teleu a blok; teleu a chesimer; tmengii a ngerel, diak el blutek; tengel.
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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:

bekengall, v.a.s.is to be opened or spread apart.
bekengall a kirel el obok; mkisii, omok a medal, mekengii a chesimer, bekengel.
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disall, v.a.s.is to be increased or added to.
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kekeringall, v.a.s.is to be made smaller or reduced in size.
kekeringall a kirel el mo kekerei; mengkekerei; kokeringii a blengur, kmekerei a mo delikik el kall, diak le klou, diak luleiis; kekeringil.
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kimungall, v.a.s.(person) is to have head shaven.
kimungall a kirel el mekemuu; metamk a bdelul, kimungii el mo diak a chiul, klemuu, kimungel.
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odeleball, v.a.s.is to be dipped into water.
odeleball a morsors er a daob; kirel moduleb; odelebii; olduleb er a daob, odelebel.
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sedelall, v.a.s.is to be torn or dismembered.
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utetkall, v.a.s.(plant) is to be supported by stick put into ground; (site of house, etc.) is to be marked with sticks and strings.
utetkall a kirel el mututk; locha ututk; mtetkii a rael, mtutk, utetkel.
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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
bukcorner; angle; joint; node.bkebkuulhaving many nodes; rough-edged; (shin of leg) have bumpy surface.
bobaipapaya tree (including fruit).bobaipapaya tree (including fruit).
bodechcurved configuration/shape of boat.obodechcurved; (person) having back curved towards rear.
temamuuimaginary ghost with ugly face.temamuuimaginary ghost with ugly face.
cheludechwooden float for fish net; light weight wood used to make corks.cheludechwooden float for fish net; light weight wood used to make corks.
chemaiongdragonfly.chemaiong prone to moving from one boyfriend or girlfriend to another.
chedechuulknack/magical power for doing things; blueprint; plan (for house, bai, etc).chedechuulingenious; clever; inventive.

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 a rengulhappy; glad; kind.
bedis a rengulinconsiderate.
ngar er a eou a rengul(person is) humble/respectful.
meleolt a rengul(person) carefree or nonchalant; (person) not easily disturbed or content to let things happen as they may.
rrou a rengulsuddenly confused or perplexed.
mechuached a rengulevil; mean; stubborn.
bebeot a rengulrather undecided about something; not taking something too seriously.

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