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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:

blekall, v.r.s.driven; sailed; (person) driven by desire to wander or spend time away from home.
blekall a mla obekall; mekellii a mlai, rengeasek a blekall er a ungil klebesei.
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cheloes, v.r.s.(rope, etc.) frayed.
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kloadel, v.r.s.separated; explained.
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nglukl, v.r.s.transported; moved; hit; smashed into or against.
nglukl a mla mengukl; nglai el mo er a kuk ngodech; blai a nglukl el mo er a cheroid; nguklii; ngklel.
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selikes, v.r.s.(raft, canoe, etc.) poled.
selikes a mla mesikes; mlai a selikes; sikesii, smikes, melikes.
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telok, v.r.s.(toe) stubbed; (wood) planed against grain.
telok a ultok; diak el ungil; diak el ngar er a urebetellel a tekoi; telok el cheldecheduch.
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ulchib, v.r.s.deflected; avoided; (teeth of saw) restored.
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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:

bechetall, v.a.s.is to be extracted or extirpated.
bechetall a kirel el obechit, kirel el motobed, mechetir, medal ngikel a bechetall.
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cheterebsall, v.a.s.is to be spun or turned.
cheterebsall a kirel el mecheterbis; choterbisur, choterbis a chebis, mengeterbis, cheterebisul.
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ngemull, v.a.s.(grass; garden; yard; etc.) is to be cut.
ngemull a kirel el mengaml; ngomlii a mekesokes, nguaml a rael, melaml; ngemlel.
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okesebechall, v.a.s.is to be controlled; (price) is to be lowered.
okesebechall a kirel el mokesebech; omekesebech, mekesebechii a medal; mekesebech, okesebechel.
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okesiaol, v.a.s.is to be compared, copied, imitated, made the same, evened out, or mixed through; is to be matched (by other half or part).
okesiaol a kirel el mokesiu; mekesiur, mekesiu, okesiul; mo osisiu.
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rederdall, v.a.s.is to be stepped on; (bicycle) is to be peddled.
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telekill, v.a.s.(cord etc.) is to be knotted to record date.
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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
tebekbukrayfish.tebekbuk(skin of shin) rough.
kelebusjail, prison.kelebusjail, prison.
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebau(cooked meat or fish, cooking pot, etc.) foul-smelling.
kimtype of large clam; female genitals.bekekimsmell of clams (after cleaning or cooking clams).
katuucat.bekekatuusmell of a cat.
tebotebjagged projectile.oudertebotebjagged.
kodalldeath.diak a kodelleleternal; everlasting.

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
mederdirk a rengulfeel scorn for.
ouedikel a rengulnervous; worried.
temetel a rengulpleasing of one's heart.
bekesbesebek a renguleasily worried; worrisome.
mengurt a rengulhurt (feelings); make (someone) despair.
omichoech a rengul(stomach) grumble, talk or gurgle (especially from hunger); (person) feel excited.
mesubed a rengulaccept; be resigned to; learn a lesson; learn from experience.

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