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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:

chellechel, v.r.s.admonished; asked to keep a secret or hold something in confidence.
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chelsemsum, v.r.s.(fingers) twisted on over the other.
chelsemsum a mla mechisemsum, mla choisemsum a chimal, chisemsemngel.
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delekodek, v.r.s.cut; sliced.
delekodek a mla medekodek; selekosek, babii a delekodek.
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ilsechem, v.r.s.held or grasped firmly.
ilsechem a orreked; ilsechomel, isechemii a udoud, isechem a kar, isechemel.
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klekad, v.r.s.(debt) repaid.
klekad a mla mekekad; mla mengkad a blals, kokad a belsel, kokedeiir, kekedeel.
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uldeod, v.r.s.repaired; re-attached.
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ulengchongch, v.r.s.dropped down from tree; (restriction) removed.
ulengchongch a mla mongchongche telerrob el telkib; ongchengchii a bul, ongchongch a chesimer, ongchengchel a bul er a uel.
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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:

bdesall, v.a.s.is to be thrown hard/pushed away.
bdesall a kirel el obides; mechoit, mdesii, mides a besbas, bdesel.
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debsechall, v.a.s.(conch shell or horn) is to be blown.
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dibkaol, v.a.s.is to be tied into knot.
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ongesekill, v.a.s.is to be controlled, reduced, limited.
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sbungel, v.a.s.is to be snapped/pecked at; is to be harvested.
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ukbechesall, v.a.s.is to be renovated or repaired.
ukbechesall a ukbechesuul; kirel mukbeches; mekbechesur a mechut el skuul; mekbeches a llach, ukbechesul.
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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
kobesossea horse.kobesos (head) long, narrow or pointed.
lottapeworm.lot having a tapeworm.
kekeuathlete's foot; tinea.kekeuhaving athlete's foot.
bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).bisech(person) easily aroused sexually.
telengtungdwild tamarind; lead tree.telengtungdwoven with small weave.
sengerengerhunger; starvation.bekesengerengerget hungry easily; always getting hungry.
lalechpus.bellachelpurulent; festering; (woman's genitals) unclean and smelly; (starchy food) too soft or slimy.

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
chelemekl a rengul(person) holding a grudge; (person) strong, stubborn, persistent, determined.
titmekl a rengultimid; scared.
mechas a rengulbe surprised at.
medul a renguldisgusted with.
medengelii a rengulregain consciousness (after a faint or stroke); (person) self-confident or self-assured; (person) knowing his abilities or capacities.
ungil a rengulhappy; glad; kind.
klurt a rengul(feelings) hurt.

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