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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:

blsibs, v.r.s.drilled; (ear) pierced.
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chelsuart, v.r.s.covered with asphalt.
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delemumuu, v.r.s.sex-crazy; lustful.
delemumuu a deleberuou.
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delengesakl, v.r.s.(person or thing) under a spell.
delengesakl a mla medengesakl; chad a mla melengesakl er ngii; olengit a mekngit el kirel; dongeseklii er a chelid.
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ilmokl, v.r.s.loosened.
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klsekes, v.r.s.(chant, lullaby, etc.) sung.
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telaiu, v.r.s.rubbed; smoothed over; petted.
telaiu a mla metaiu; mla toiuii a bdelul; mla tmaiu a bedengel, melaiu er ngii; tiuel a smecher.
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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:

blechall, v.a.s.is to be mixed or dissolved.
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chechall, v.a.s.(ingredients for betel nut chewing) are to be supplemented with tobacco.
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kesiil, v.a.s.(coconut or taro) is to be grated or scraped.
kesiil a kirel el mekes; menges a lius, kesiil a kles er a klechedaol, kosir, kmes a kles, kesil.
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ngkuul, v.a.s.is to be transported or moved.
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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, ortertel a reng.
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otilall, v.a.s.is to be laid down.
otilall a kirel el motuil; otuil a tekoi er a merreder, otilel.
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tetekill, v.a.s.is to be plucked or torn off; is to be pulled at.
tetekill a kirel el metetekakl; toteklii a dui; meltekakl er ngii, totekakl a okul a ert, teteklel.
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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
chelechedsmall sea crab.chelechedambidextrous.
karmasuuscowfish.karmasuus
mbesaoldrool; spittle.mbesaoldrool; spittle.
telengtungdwild tamarind; lead tree.telengtungdwild tamarind; lead tree.
martilionghammer.martiliongclumsy; ungraceful; untalented; (person) blunt or hard-hitting (in his words).
lalechpus.bellachelpurulent; festering; (woman's genitals) unclean and smelly; (starchy food) too soft or slimy.
riamelfootball fruit (Pangi; Payan).bekeriamelsmell like football fruit; sweaty; have a strong body odor (especially, as result of diet or poor hygiene).

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
ungial a rengulhappiness; joy.
medecherecher a rengul stubborn; adamant; not easily swayed.
seselk a rengulbored; impatient.
blak a rengulhard-working; diligent; eager; attentive; interested in; intent upon; decided on; in favor of.
mekngit a rengulfeel sorry/sad about; mean; inconsiderate.
oubuch a rengultreat person as if he or she were one's spouse.
kersos a rengulyearning; anxious (to see).

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