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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:

blitelek, v.r.s.rolled on the ground.
blitelek a mla obitelek; blengkangk, mitekelengii, mitelek, bitekelengel.
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blurek, v.r.s.dyed; colored.
blurek a berrukel; mla oburek, burek, mrekii, murek a such, brekel.
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chelebangel, v.r.s.facing towards (at close range); (person) faced with (problems, etc.); (person) looking forward to expecting (future event) (and having to deal with it).
chelebangel a mengebangel; chachuchau, chelebangel a kall, chebengelel.
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cheleseb, v.r.s.(taro tubers) cut.
cheleseb a mla mecheseb, chosebii, cheleseb el dait a ileakl er a kukau, mla medebes.
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klsokes, v.r.s.fished out.
klsokes a cheleched el mla mekesokes; nglai a ngikel er ngii; kesekesel.
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territel, v.r.s.hunted; investigated.
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ulchiis, v.r.s.chased away.
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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:

bedull, v.a.s.is to be extracted; is to be pulled/plucked out.
bedull a kirel el obadel; diokang a bedull. medelii, madel, omadel, bedelel.
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chemuul, v.a.s.about to be broken in two.
chemuul a kirel el mecham; kerrekar a chemuul; chomur, chuam a sengsongd, chemul.
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cherecheruul, v.a.s.(liquid; etc.) is to be stirred up/agitated.
cherecheruul a beot el mecherechar; mechecherechar, cherecheruul el omoachel.
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debsechall, v.a.s.is to be speared.
debsechall a kirel medebusech; dubsechii a debusech, melebusech a debusech, debsechel a seseb.
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kedelsall, v.a.s.is to be made thicker.
kedelsall a kirel el mo kedols; kilungii, mengedols er ngii; mo klou, kodelsii, kedelsel.
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oitall, v.a.s.(liquid) is to be poured (into container).
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sektall, v.a.s.(raft) is to be made; (logs, etc.) are to be tied side by side.
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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
ureorwork; job; task.bekureorwork a lot; hard-working; diligent.
mechasold woman; titled woman; foreign woman; male's father's sisters; girlfriend; wife.mechasold woman; titled woman; foreign woman; male's father's sisters; girlfriend; wife.
bekngiukmold; (food) moldy/mildewed.bekngiukmold; (food) moldy/mildewed.
lebfuzz (on leaf) of plant (e.g.; sugar cane; grass); plant in coffee family; shyness.meleblebitchy; prickly; covered with fuzz of plant.
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.
omecherollwomb; uterus; place where animals breed; birth canal.bekecheroll(woman) fertile/having many children.
bengtpurple colored sweet potato.bengtpurple.

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
obais a rengulget fed up with; become unable to cope with.
rengul a cheluch dregs of coconut oil.
chelam a rengulheartbroken.
olsarech er a rengulhold in or control emotions, anger etc.
outekangel er a rengulpersevere; force (oneself) to do something.
oltamet er a rengulpull at someone's heartstrings; mean a lot to someone.
teloadel a rengulindecisive.

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