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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:

bldikl, v.r.s.trapped; ensnared.
bldikl a mla obedikl, malk a bldikl, medeklii, bedeklel.
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chelidabel, v.r.s.hang onto with hands; hanging.
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chelsiuch, v.r.s.having been given tortoise shell money.
chelsiuch a buchelsechal el mla nguu a chesuchel; mla mechesiuch.
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kliai, v.r.s.raised just above surface (but not touching); levitating.
kliai a mla mekiai; mengellael; di telkib el cheroid er a chutem a ochil; kiei el kliai a ochil er a ulaol.
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nglobt, v.r.s.(newborn baby) has had membrane washed off.
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ulkeed, v.r.s.brought near.
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ulsiaol, v.r.s.(drawer, suitcase, etc.) closed; (clothes) have seam sewn; (fire) fed; (people) incited to fight.
ulsiaol a ulsiolel; sei el mo ulsiu er ngii; a ikei el mo kaisiuekl; okul a tet a ngar er a ulsiaol.
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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:

bebael, v.a.s.to be formed, shaped, created, or spanked.
bebael a kirel el obeob, meob a kukau el mo medemedemek, bebel.
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cheatel, v.a.s.(rope; wire; fishing line; etc.) is to be wound; (baby) is to be cuddled.
cheatel a kirel el mechaet; chemetii, chemaet a ekil, mengaet, chetel.
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dedungall, v.a.s.is to be tattoed.
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kbekball, v.a.s.(house) is to be walled.
kbekball a kirel el mekboub; mo er ngii a kboub.
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ochuill, v.a.s.(someone's glance or attention) is to be attracted; is to be called out to.
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ruikl, v.a.s.is to be divided up or distributed.
ruikl a biongel; kirel el merous; rusel a kall; ruikl er a beluu.
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terukel, v.a.s.is to be divided into portions; something (esp. food) to be divided into portions.
terukel a bliongel er a kall; terekelel a klobak me a rubakldil; rruklir el kall; terekelel a beluu.
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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
chuisworm; maggot.bederechuis(starchy food) spoiled (by water); decomposing or moldy.
chelechedsmall sea crab.chelechedsmall sea crab.
cherouwhite mushroom; white scar.cherouhaving a white scar; whitish; Caucasian.
lottapeworm.lottapeworm.
kurstwitching (nervous disorder) .kurstwitching (nervous disorder) .
bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).
cheludechwooden float for fish net; light weight wood used to make corks.cheludechwooden float for fish net; light weight wood used to make corks.

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
derengulalso, used a as friendly expression of envy.
betik er a rengulone's beloved.
ochemchuml a rengulseething inside with anger or hate.
urrengulelurungulel
medecherecher a rengul stubborn; adamant; not easily swayed.
mechitechut a rengulweak willed; unmotivated; easily discouraged.
melai er a rengulpersuade.

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