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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:

chelisngekl, v.r.s.(head) turned to look.
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ngeliokl, v.r.s.(ongraol) cooked or boiled in water.
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selngerekl, v.r.s.flung down; dropped.
selngerekl a chemoit; mla mesngerekl; metech a babier me ng obriid; singerekl a belatong er a ulaol me ng obebeu.
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telab, v.r.s.(ear, nose) pierced for ring etc.
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telat, v.r.s.torn; shredded.
telat a selodel; mla metat; totengii a bilel; tmat a babier, tetengel a bilel.
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uldurech, v.r.s.told, asked or encouraged to do something; sent on an errand.
uldurech a mla modurech; ullab a tekoi el mong; Calista a uldurech; oderechii; odurech, oderechel.
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ulekbat, v.r.s.(something) hidden or hard to find.
ulekbat a meringel el osiik; bulis a omekbat er a olsiseb mekngit el kar er a Belau; ulekbat er a milosii a president; mla mukbat.
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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:

chiutekill, v.a.s.is to be wrung out or twisted.
chiutekill a kirel el mechiuetokl; mengiud, chiuteklii, choiuetokl a selokel.
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dbokel, v.a.s.is to be kicked (away) or swept away or fended off.
dbokel a kirel el medibek; dibekii a bduu, duibek, melibek a bduu el olab a uach, dbekel.
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dedungall, v.a.s.is to be tattoed.
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koesengall, v.a.s.(plants) are to be fertilized.
koesengall a kirel el mekoeas; locha ramek; koesengii, mengoeas er ngii.
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ochechall, v.a.s.is to be asked for persistently.
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odeleball, v.a.s.is to be dipped into water.
odeleball a morsors er a daob; kirel moduleb; odelebii; olduleb er a daob, odelebel.
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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
kldolsfatness; thickness.kedols(round object) fat, thick or wide. Commonly used to describe betelnuts and coconuts.
lalechpus.bellachelpurulent; festering; (woman's genitals) unclean and smelly; (starchy food) too soft or slimy.
cheisechpermanent stain.cheisechpermanent stain.
ngulasthma.ngulasthma.
kerdikyaws; framboesia.kerdikyaws; framboesia.
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebau(cooked meat or fish, cooking pot, etc.) foul-smelling.
mongkcomplaint; criticism.bekemongkalways complaining.

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
merael a rengulindecisive.
techetech a rengulstubborn; obsessed; determined.
derengulalso, used a as friendly expression of envy.
omichoech a rengul(stomach) grumble, talk or gurgle (especially from hunger); (person) feel excited.
diak lemesim a rengulstick to one's convictions; not change one's mind.
chebosech a rengulboring; dull; poor at speaking.
meched a rengulthirsty; impatient; prone to overreact; (deprived and) having strong desire for.

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