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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:

bellutel, v.r.s.(clothes) turned inside out.
bellutel a ulechero; blult, meltii, mult, bellutel a bilel, beltel.
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blerek, v.r.s.spread; stretched out; propagated.
blerek a mla oberek; berrokel, omerek a babier, merekii, merek a chais, berekel.
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chelderoder, v.r.s.put together or into order; arranged.
chelderoder a mla mechederoder choderoder a babier, chederderel a babier, ungil el blechobech.
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cheluum, v.r.s.wrapped in leaves or betel nut fiber and baked.
cheluum a cheluomel el ngikel.
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delidech, v.r.s.blinded or dazzled by a strong light.
delidech a mla medidech; dichel a sils a mo er a medal, delidech a medal er a dichel a sils
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telemall, v.r.s.broken; out of order; (relationship) strained.
telemall a telerruud; mla metemall; tomall a klalo; melemall, temellel.
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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:

berudall, v.a.s.is to be torn/pulled off.
berudall a kirel el oberuud; merudii, meruud a chesimer, berudel.
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doechel, v.a.s.is to be cut or wounded.
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ortertall, v.a.s.(desire) is to be suppressed; is to be pushed into ground.
ortertall a kirel el mortert; mengai el mo er eou; ortert a mekedidai el chutem; ortertii a kldidiul a rengul, orterte1 a reng.
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osebelall, v.a.s.is to be saved, rescued or taken care of.
osebelall a kirel el mosobel, urrechorech el dial! a osebelall a rechad, osebelii, osobel, osebelel.
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rsoal, v.a.s.is to be washed or rinsed off.
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tebidall, v.a.s.(lantern, etc.) is to be turned on.
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ukeruul, v.a.s.is to be given medicine; (fish) is to be salted.
ukeruul a kirel el mukar; omkar; osbitar a blil a ukeruul el omkar a secher; toktang a omkar a secher.
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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
chadman; person; human being; living being; someone; somebody; anyone; anybody.chadalive; living.
chedechuulknack/magical power for doing things; blueprint; plan (for house, bai, etc).chedechuulingenious; clever; inventive.
H.O.(abbrev.) Babeldaob (used pejoratively).H.O.unexperienced in Western ways; ignorant of modern conveniences.
cheremrumtype of sea cucumber; trepang.bekecheremrumsmell of sea cucumber.
cheludechwooden float for fish net; light weight wood used to make corks.cheludech(wood) dried out (and light in weight).
chermallhibiscus (bark used as a rope; leaves used as mulch for taro).chermallcheromel
kesaiinsufficient quantity.kesaiinsufficient; not enough; few.

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
ngelekel a rengulfavorite child.
milkolk a rengul(person is) stupid.
turk a rengulturk
ralmetaoch a rengulinsensitive; not easily affected; easygoing; casual; prone to avoiding responsibility.
tmurk a rengulsatiated; fed up with.
dechal a rengul perseverance; ambition; strong will.
ungial a rengulhappiness; joy.

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