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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:

blar, v.r.s.slapped in the face.
blar a mla obar; mechelebed, merngii, mar, blar a medal, berengel.
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bleob, v.r.s.formed; shaped; created.
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bloid, v.r.s.travelled between.
bloid a mla oboid; blais a beluu, Belau a bloid er a rengebard, midii, moid, bidel.
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chelsechusem, v.r.s.dirtied or smeared (with food); involved (in a situation).
chelsechusem a bechesechusem, chusechesemii, chusechusem a chimal, chesechesemel a kall; cheisechusem a teloi er a tirudii a bank, ta er a chelsechusem er ngii.
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nglerd, v.r.s.hoisted (up in the air).
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rrebek, v.r.s.groped at.
rrebek a mla merebek; mla robekii a ochab el oba biskang.
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ultutk, v.r.s.(plant) supported by stick put into ground; (site of house, etc.) marked with sticks and string.
ultutk a mla mututk; mla locha ututk; ngar er ngii a ututkel; mtetkii a omekedecheraol; mtutk a dellomel, utetkel.
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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:

chechutel, v.a.s.is to be chewed on.
chechutel a deb me a ongchutel; menguchet a deb.
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cheklechelall, v.a.s.is to be cleaned by shaking with water inside; is to be shaken.
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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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otebengall, v.a.s.is to be placed on raised surface.
otebengall a kirel el motab; oltab er a remeleboteb, otebengii e merolung, otebengel.
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rebekall, v.a.s.is to be groped at.
rebekall a kirel el merebek; ochab er a chemang a rebekall; robekii el oba orebek; ruebek, rebekel.
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siungall, v.a.s.is to be served; is to be dressed up.
siungall a siungel; kirel mesiou; chuodel a siungall; siungii.
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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
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebausmell of vagina.
bikodelhives or rash from allergies; allergic reaction affecting the skin.bikodelbroken out in hives.
chedechuulknack/magical power for doing things; blueprint; plan (for house, bai, etc).chedechuulingenious; clever; inventive.
chelechedsmall sea crab.chelechedambidextrous.
cheballwhite-leafed taro (yautia); gray/white hair.cheballgray-haired; white-haired.
olechutellarge bamboo raftolechutel(boat, person) slow-moving
martilionghammer.martiliongclumsy; ungraceful; untalented; (person) blunt or hard-hitting (in his words).

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
bltkil a rengulone's affection/concern for.
ultebechel a rengulhonest; mature and responsible.
mechuached a rengulevil; mean; stubborn.
temetel a rengulpleasing of one's heart.
melib er a renguldecide; make up one's mind.
cheremremangel a rengulgreedy; stingy.
diak a rengulinconsiderate; impolite.

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