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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:

cheliotel, v.r.s.containing squeezed coconut milk.
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chelsuar, v.r.s.(face) slapped; slapped in the face.
chelsuar a chelsbad, chellebed a medal, mla mechesuar.
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delilech, v.r.s.dipped (and removed from water).
delilech a mla medilech; ngar er a ralm; dellochel, selokel a delilech , dilechii, dmilech, delechel a selokel.
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kladikm, v.r.s.right-handed; graceful (esp., in dance).
kladikm a meduch e klebokel; ungil el meloik e oungelakel, kladikm er a tekoi me a cheldecheduch.
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selumk, v.r.s.(hair) pulled out; torn out
selumk a mla mesumk; mla sumkii a sechelil er a klaibedechakl; suumk a chiul.
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telberechel, v.r.s.having acted tough.
teleberechel a mekekeam; odikel; merechereched e klou a ngerel; teleberechelel.
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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:

kseksall, v.a.s.(metal, wood, etc.) is to be filed.
kseksall a ksekikl; kirel el meksous.
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ochisall, v.a.s.(new) is to be announced or told.
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orsersall, v.a.s.is to be drowned or made to sink.
orsersall a kirel el morsors, locha er a bertakl; orsersii a mechut el diall, orechorech, orsersel.
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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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sechaol, v.a.s.is to be jerked/pulled.
sechaol a kirel el mesuch; suchar a chimal, smuch, diak el sechaol a chimal a ngalek e le ng moudach.
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udidall, v.a.s.is to be bridged.
udidall a kirel el mudid; loia did er ngii; omdid er a toachelmid; mdidar, omoachel a udidal a delebechel er a didall.
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uksoangel, v.a.s.is to be made used to or trained.
uksoangel a kirel el muksau; omeksau er ngii; meruul er ngii el mo smau, mo soal; omeksau, meksongii ngalek; ngalek a uksoangel er a urreor; uksongel.
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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
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebausmell of vagina.
bangikoibutterfly; moth.bangikoibutterfly; moth.
chelechedsmall sea crab.chelechedarea of shallow water (usually exposed at low tide and good for fishing).
H.O.(abbrev.) Babeldaob (used pejoratively).H.O.unexperienced in Western ways; ignorant of modern conveniences.
chetbaelelephantiasis.chetbaelelephantiasis.
kikoisea clam.kikaolhaving a large vagina.
kemangetlength (of string, etc.) which exceeds what is needed or expected.kemangettall; long (in time or dimension).

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
ultebechel a rengulhonest; mature and responsible.
rengulhis/her/its heart; spirit; feeling; soul; seat of emotions.
merat a renguldeeply disappointed or hurt.
omud a rengulfed up with; exasperated; can't stand.
melemlim a rengulCurious, prying, snoopy, inquisitive, nosy.
melemed a rengulcool down one's anger.
klou er a renguldetermined.

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