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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:

bldikl, v.r.s.trapped; ensnared.
bldikl a mla obedikl, malk a bldikl, medeklii, bedeklel.
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bliich, v.r.s.sifted; filtered.
bliich a blibiich.
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cheltakl, v.r.s.held/led by the hand.
cheltakl a mla mechetakl; chotakl, choteklii a til, mengetakl a ngikel, cheteklel.
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cheltinget, v.r.s.(pipe, etc.) blocked up.
cheltinget a telenget a medal, mla mechetinget; chitngetii, cheltinget el ollumel.
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rririau, v.r.s.shaken.
rririau a mla meririau er ngii; iedel a rririau me ng mla ruebet a rdechel.
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terrukel, v.r.s.divided into portions.
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uldekedek, v.r.s.chased; run after; caught up with; fought.
uldekedek a mla modekedek; ulsarech, oserechii; ngmasech er ngii; uldekedek e oubekeu er ngii.
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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:

bedkall, v.a.s.is to be trapped or ensnared.
bedkall a kirel el obedikl; medeklii a malk, medikl a beab, bedeklel.
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buchall, v.a.s.is to be split or cracked.
buchall a bouechel; kirel el obouch; omouch a idungel, mouch, buchel a bambuu.
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chesuall, v.a.s.(food) is to be stirred so as not to stick to pan.
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debesall, v.a.s.is to be cut or snipped.
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delemekill, v.a.s.(post, stick, etc.) is to be driven into ground.
delemekill a kirel el medelemakl; kirel mukedechor; dolemeklii er a chutem; dolemakl a smengtel a chutem, mellemakl, delemeklel.
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dengesekill, v.a.s.(person or thing) is to be put under a spell.
dengesekill a kirel el medengesakl; kirel medebeakl; dongeseklii er a chelid, omelengesakl a rechad a mekull; dengeseklel.
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sisall, v.a.s.is to be deloused.
sisall a kirel el mesais a bdelul; mengai a kud 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
ngerachelduty; responsibility.bekengerachelresponsible; always attentive to one's duties or obligations.
mechasold woman; titled woman; foreign woman; male's father's sisters; girlfriend; wife.mechascoconut at later stage (between medecheduch and metau) when shell blackens and husk turns yellowish brown.
chelechedsmall sea crab.chelechedsmall sea crab.
dechudechdirt; mud; patching material; filling (for cavity).dechudech dirty; muddy.
cherouwhite mushroom; white scar.cherouhaving a white scar; whitish; Caucasian.
chetbaelelephantiasis.chetbael swollen from elephantiasis.
rubakelder; old man; chief; foreign man; boyfriend; husband.bekerubaksmell like an old man.

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
ralmetaoch a rengulinsensitive; not easily affected; easygoing; casual; prone to avoiding responsibility.
klou a rengulpatient; confident.
mechedeng a rengulget surprised, puzzled or perplexed (by someone's behavior, etc.).
melatk a rengulconsider someone's feelings.
mekreos a rengulmiserly; avaricious; selfish.
cheldeng a rengulconfused; surprised; stubborn; dull-witted; slow (in understanding).
turk a rengulturk

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