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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:

blutek, v.r.s.shut; closed.
blutek a mla obutek; ulsiu, mutek, mtekii, blutek a medal, btekel.
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ulchelochel, v.r.s.has had object come at one.
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uliisech, v.r.s.shown; instructed.
uliisech a mla moisech; ulecholt a ildisel; oliisech er a blai; urrereel a rael a uliisech.
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ulterebek, v.r.s.raped.
ulterebek a mla moterebek; mla oterebekii, oterbekel.
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ultuil, v.r.s.laid down; lying down; dependent on.
ultuil a mla motuiil; otilii a bdelul er a tebel e olengull; ulsirs; otilel.
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urrirech, v.r.s.taken; snatched.
urrirech a mla morirech; mla motitech; mla moribech er a chetemel, orribech a diak el chetemel, orirechel.
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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:

bereberall, v.a.s.is to be snatched, grabbed or seized; (land) is to be captured.
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chebill, v.a.s.to be carried under the arm.
chebill a kiukuall; kirel el mechabl; choblii a ngalek; chuabl, a ngalek a chebill; cheblel.
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debedeball, v.a.s.is to be weighed.
debedeball a debedabel
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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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sechesekill, v.a.s.(distance) is to be jumped.
sechesekill a beot el mesechesokl; suchesokl er ngii; merdekekl er ngii.
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serochel, v.a.s.is to be stepped on, toured or visited.
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ukeruul, v.a.s.is to be given medicine; (fish) is to be salted.
ukeruul a kirel el mukar; omkar; osbitar a blil a ukeruul el omkar a secher; toktang a omkar a secher.
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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
techiirhandnet with handle; cloth or screen for pressing coconut milk; sheath at base of coconut frond (used for pressing coconut milk).mekudem a techerel(person who) understands or catches everything.
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebausmell of vagina.
cheballwhite-leafed taro (yautia); gray/white hair.cheballwhite-leafed taro (yautia); gray/white hair.
cheisechpermanent stain.cheisechstained (permanently from betel nut juice; banana juice; etc.).
secheleifriend; companion; boyfriend; girlfriend; lover; term of address from a woman to a group of people.bekesecheleifriendly; having many friends.
chelucheb(taro or banana) leaf or bag used for covering food being cooked; type of coral which grows on top of or covers other corals.chellobelcovered; shady.
bsibsdrill; termite.teribisibsfull of holes.

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.
Dirrengulbaititle of feminine counterpart or assistant to chief in Imeliik.
meched a rengulthirsty; impatient; prone to overreact; (deprived and) having strong desire for.
Rengulbaititle of chiefs in Imeliik.
mechese a rengulbecoming surprised.
milkolk a rengul(person is) stupid.
sesuul a rengul(person) undecided.

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