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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:

bluit, v.r.s.(sugar cane) cut.
bluit a bliatel, mla obuit; mitii, muit, deb a nglai, bitel a deb.
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ngeliokl, v.r.s.(ongraol) cooked or boiled in water.
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selaod, v.r.s.separated; explained.
selaod a lloched; mla mesaod; diak el uldak; chebechiil a selaod; rengalek me te selaod, smodii, sodel.
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seluis, v.r.s.(match) struck or lighted.
seluis a mla meseuis; siuesur a mases; meleuis er a seuis; siuesul.
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telngoech, v.r.s.(taro etc.) scraped.
telngoech a mla metngoech; mla medort; tingoech a kukau; meingoech. Klort (tekoi el mo er a kukau).
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ulekbeot, v.r.s.made easy/cheap.
ulekbeot a rruul el beot; diak el meringel el urreor; urreor a ulekbeot me a rechad a meses a rengrir; ukbetengel.
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ultobed, v.r.s.taken out.
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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:

chiikel, v.a.s.(leaves) are to be plucked or stripped off plant.
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delemekill, v.a.s.(post, stick, etc.) is to be driven into ground.
delemekill a kirel el medelemakl; kirel mukedechor; dolemeklii er a chutem; dolemakl a smengtel a chutem, mellemakl, delemeklel.
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iuekill, v.a.s.is to be surrounded by.
iuekill a kirel el miuekl; iueklii a kurangd, meliuekl er a beluu, iueklel.
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iuochel, v.a.s.is to be opened or cut open.
iuochel a kirel el meiuch; meliuch a mengur, imuich a mekebud.
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lengiil, v.a.s.is to be borrowed.
lengiil a bedoel; kirel el meleng; kirel obed a udoud el mo cheral a mlai; lengiil a udoud er a bank.
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rsachel, v.a.s.(food, betel nut, medicine) is to be pounded; is to be punched.
rsachel a kirel el merusech; kukau a rsachel; remusech a belsiich.
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sbochel, v.a.s.(branches, etc.) are to be broken off.
sbochel a kirel el mesibech; mengai el mei er eou; rechelel a iedel a sbochel, sibechii, suibech a rachel, sbechel
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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
tedobech(one) half.tedobechhalf-filled; crazy; irrational.
siktcluster/bunch of fruit.berikt(tree) productive or bearing much fruit.
kimtype of large clam; female genitals.bekekimsmell of clams (after cleaning or cooking clams).
singodor of sperm.besingsmell of sperm; smell unclean (esp., used in insults referring to women).
baikingdisease; germs.baiking(person) unsanitary/unhygienic (in one's habits).
cherouwhite mushroom; white scar.cherouhaving a white scar; whitish; Caucasian.
kesaiinsufficient quantity.kesaiinsufficient quantity.

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
orreked er a rengulrestrain or control (oneself) (esp., from showing anger).
mechese a rengulbecoming surprised.
cheldeng a rengulconfused; surprised; stubborn; dull-witted; slow (in understanding).
medemedemek a rengul kind; generous.
melamet er a renguldo things as one pleases.
diak lodengelii a rengul(person) unaware of his limitations or overestimates his abilities or overextends himself with committments.
mechuached a rengulevil; mean; stubborn.

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