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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:

kloechel, v.r.s.broken off.
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kluk, v.r.s.pinched.
kluk a mla mekuk; menguk a bedengel, kukur a otengel; mla kmuk a chimal.
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nglas, v.r.s.reduced in number; subtracted.
nglas a mla mengas; mla mengai a bebil; ngmas a udoud, ngosur, ngesul.
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rredall, v.r.s.(flowers; etc.) picked.
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telamk, v.r.s.(beard; bristles; etc.) shaved; (broom) made out of stripped coconut ribs.
telamk a mla metamk; telemikel; tuamk a chesemel; tomkii a bdelul; temkel.
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ulengesechekl, v.r.s.(pants, etc.) pulled up; moved up to particular position; praised; elevated.
ulengesechekl a ulengeriakl.
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uliubek, v.r.s.broken or smashed through.
uliubek a mla moiubek; lling; ngar ngiia metetoech; chesimer a uliubek; oibekii, oiubek, oibekel.
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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:

butall, v.a.s.is to be piled/heaped up.
butall a kirel el obuut; mengedidai, omuut, mutii a chutem, koididai, muut a besbas, mengudel, butel.
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chelmongel, v.a.s.is to be accompanied/escorted.
chelmongel a kirel el mechelim, mengelim er a medakd, cholmengii a mekngit a rengul; chelmengel.
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chesmerall, v.a.s.is to be closed, confined or locked in (e.g. as punishment).
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doechel, v.a.s.is to be cut or wounded.
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rerongel, v.a.s.(food) is to be heated so as not to spoil; (hands, etc.) are to be warmed over or next to fire.
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smechekill, v.a.s.is to be put in order, corrected or improved.
smechekill a kirel mesmechokl; sumecheklii a rengul, sumechokl a chebirukel el mo melemalt; smecheklel.
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techiall, v.a.s.(anus) is to be wiped.
techiall a kirel el metechui; mesuld a but; tuchiur, tuchui, melechui, techiall a btil a ngalek.
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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
chullrain; rainy season.chullrain; rainy season.
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebausmell of vagina.
ngulasthma.ngulasthma.
kerisgoiter.keris (neck) swollen with goiter.
bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).bisechfish with black and yellow stripes (makes mouth itchy).
chaseborash.chaseborash.
chemadechcoconut sap.chemadech (plant) unripe or green; (food) raw or uncooked; be in full standing position when dancing; brand new.

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
betik er a rengulone's beloved.
ngodech er a rengulfind something strange, different or suspicious.
meduch a rengulhard-working; conscientious; strong-willed; persevering.
omak er a rengul(person) takes the edge off (his/her) hunger.
ultebechel a rengulhonest; mature and responsible.
titmekl a rengultimid; scared.
telematel a rengulpleased; happy.

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