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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:

blerroel, v.r.s.speared with beroel.
blerroel a mla oberoel; berruchel er a beroel, omeroel, merelii, berelel.
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blsiul, v.r.s.(person) well advised or guided; brainwashed.
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chelsbocheb, v.r.s.(boat) has boards of frame put on.
chelsbocheb a mla mechesbocheb; chosbechebii, mla melecha chosbocheb er a blai, mengesbocheb, chesbechebel.
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chelubel, v.r.s.spilled; poured out; used up; out of stock; (widower and children) left alone (without wife or mother).
chelubel a mla mechubel; uleitel, chubelii, chuubel, chebelel, mengubel, chebelel a uasech.
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telau, v.r.s.heated/cooked lightly; heated so as to become bendable; rubbed; massaged.
telau a mla metau; melau a cheled tmau a such; teul er a mekeald.
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telechelokl, v.r.s.moved or push up and away; cleared; blown up by wind.
telechelokl a blkais; mla metechelokl, mla metukouk; tucheleklii a chutem; tuchelokl a chesimer; techeleklel.
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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:

bertachel, v.a.s.(hands) are to be clapped; is to be slapped; deaf (i.e., has to be tapped on the back to get attention).
bertachel a kirel el obrotech; mertechii, mrotech, mechad a bertachel.
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cherotel, v.a.s.is to be defecated on.
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chesill, v.a.s.is to be get blackened with soot or ink.
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kedebengall, v.a.s.is to be shortened.
kedebengall a kirel el mo kedeb; bilek a kedebengall, kodebengii a bail, mengedeb er ngii; kedebengel.
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ksmedall, v.a.s.(fish) is to be choked.
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semikel, v.a.s.is to be husked by hand.
semikel a kirel el mesamk; mengai a semkel; kukau a semikel; semikel a klalo el betok a semkel; semsemikel.
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tkiil, v.a.s.is to be struck with fist.
tkiil a kirel el metik; tikir, tmik; diak el tkiil a chad.
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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
chullrain; rainy season.chullrain; rainy season.
kekeuathlete's foot; tinea.kekeuhaving athlete's foot.
mekealdhot water; hot drink (esp., coffee).mekeald warm; hot.
rirfallen leaves of kebui.merir(leaves) yellow.
iitmiss; failure.iitpast; over (with); finished; through.
kimtype of large clam; female genitals.bekekimsmell of clams (after cleaning or cooking clams).
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.

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
moalech a renguldisappointed; dismayed.
ungil er a rengulfine or all right with.
ngodech er a rengulfind something strange, different or suspicious.
mechedeng a rengulget surprised, puzzled or perplexed (by someone's behavior, etc.).
mengas er a rengulastonished; surprised.
berngel a rengulanything discouraging to one's spirit.
dmeu a rengulhappy; glad; joyful; appreciative.

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