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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:

chelisngull, v.r.s.(face) frowning; vexed; offended.
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kler, v.r.s.asked; inquired.
kler a mla meker; mla korir, mla kmer a tekoi, keril a secher.
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rrukem, v.r.s.(money) split into smaller denomination; (money) exchanged.
rrukem a mla merukem; bachel a rrukem er a $1,000.00, rukemii, ruukem; rekemel.
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selais, v.r.s.deloused.
selais a mla mesais; mla mesiik e mengai; selais a bdelul; mesei a selais me ng diak a kukau.
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teliu, v.r.s.carried with arm bent out and up; (card) drawn or picked.
teliu a telkool; mla metiu; tmiu a bilel, tiungar a ngelekel; meliu a ditel; tiungal a ngalek.
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ulekbuch, v.r.s.married (by arranged marriage); mated.
ulekbuch a mla rullii el bo bechiil; mla mukbuch; babii a ulekbuch; omekbuch er a babii; ukbechil a babii.
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urreek, v.r.s.touched (lightly).
urreek a mla moreek; mla telkib el subechii er ngii; urekii a tonget a chelut; urreek er a tonget a mla mechut.
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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:

chetimall, v.a.s.is to be smeared or spread on.
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chetuul, v.a.s.(fish) smoked; having the potential of giving off too much smoke.
chetuul a kirel el mechat; techa mengat a ngikel? chotur, chemat a ngikel, chetul.
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debdebsall, v.a.s.is to be objected to.
debdebsall a kirel el medebdobs; meterob, torebengii, dobdebsii a omerael e le ng meringel a daob e meses a eolt; debdebsel.
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ngesuul, v.a.s.is to be reduced in number/subtracted.
ngesuul a kirel el mengas; melas; diak lengesuul a ulechucher el udoud, ngosur, ngmai, ngesul.
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orekerekall, v.a.s.is to be pushed sideways.
orekerekall a kirel el morekorek; orekorek a chutem; odubech el mong; orekerekel el mei.
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oterekill, v.a.s.is to be followed/pursued.
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tkael, v.a.s.is to be cut or measured.
tkael a debokl; kirel el metuk; tukur a kerrekar; duebes, tmuk, meluk a idungel; tkul a idungel.
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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.

chermallhibiscus (bark used as a rope; leaves used as mulch for taro).chermallcheromel
burekswelling.oburekget dyed or stained with color.
bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).bisech(person) easily aroused sexually.
bukcorner; angle; joint; node.bkebkuulhaving many nodes; rough-edged; (shin of leg) have bumpy surface.
rubakelder; old man; chief; foreign man; boyfriend; husband.rubakhaving the qualities of an old man.
bikodelhives or rash from allergies; allergic reaction affecting the skin.bikodelbroken out in hives.
lebfuzz (on leaf) of plant (e.g.; sugar cane; grass); plant in coffee family; shyness.meleblebitchy; prickly; covered with fuzz of plant.

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:

medecherecher a rengul stubborn; adamant; not easily swayed.
diak lemesim a rengulstick to one's convictions; not change one's mind.
smecher a rengulhomesick.
belengel a rengulastonishment/amazement.
beot a renguleasygoing; nonchalant; unmotivated; lazy.
belalk a rengulfeel shame/fright.
kedeb a rengulshort tempered; impatient.

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