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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:

blekngiis, v.r.s.dried in the sun.
blekngiis a ulekngiis; mla mukngiis, mukdirt er a sils, mekngisii, okngisel.
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blomk, v.r.s.pumped.
blomk a mla obomk; blomk a cheluch, memkii, bemkel.
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blsuchel, v.r.s.(feathers, hair, etc.) plucked.
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chelalb, v.r.s.(outer surface of betel nut fiber) stripped off; (wood) whittled.
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teliu, v.r.s.carried with arm bent out and up; (card) drawn or picked.
teliu a telkool; mla metiu; tmiu a bilel, tiungar a ngelekel; meliu a ditel; tiungal a ngalek.
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teltekakl, v.r.s.plucked or torn off; pulled at.
teltekakl a nglai er a ulach; mla metetekakl a dui; totekakl a llel a tuu; teteklel.
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ulsobel, v.r.s.saved, rescued or taken care of.
ulsobel a mla mosobel; beluulechad a ulsobel er a kodellel a ngelekel a Dios; ulsebelii, osobel, osebelel.
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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:

kbekball, v.a.s.(house) is to be walled.
kbekball a kirel el mekboub; mo er ngii a kboub.
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kesekakel, v.a.s.(fish) is to be caught (with long net).
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ksekikl, v.a.s.(tapioca) is to be grated; (tapioca) requires grating before boiling.
ksekikl a cherduch el diokang el di kirelel meksous; diak el chedelumel.
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ochertall, v.a.s.is to be taken to the toilet.
ochertall a kirel el mochert; olechert, ochertii a ngalek; chemei; ochertel.
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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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terukel, v.a.s.is to be divided into portions; something (esp. food) to be divided into portions.
terukel a bliongel er a kall; terekelel a klobak me a rubakldil; rruklir el kall; terekelel a beluu.
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titall, v.a.s.is to be pierced (open).
titall a kirel el metit; tmit a ilumel el mengur; melit, titir, titil.
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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
semumtrochus.semum having deformed fingers or toes.
choalechsea urchin.choalechsea urchin.
bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).bisech(person) easily aroused sexually.
semumtrochus.semumtrochus.
uidfruit that has fallen off the tree on its own.udallis to be glued or pasted.
diablongdevil.diablongdevil.
boesgun; blowgun.sekeboesgo shooting a lot; good at shooting.

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
olturk a rengulsatiate; make someone give up (from fatigue); get one's fill of; insult continuously or mercilessly; let someone really have it.
rengul a cheluch dregs of coconut oil.
mengurs er a rengulattract.
ralmetaoch a rengulinsensitive; not easily affected; easygoing; casual; prone to avoiding responsibility.
melechang a llechul a rengulteach (someone) a lesson.
oltamet er a rengulpull at someone's heartstrings; mean a lot to someone.
obais a rengulget fed up with; become unable to cope with.

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