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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:

lleng, v.r.s.borrowed.
lleng a bled; beldoel; mla meleng; ududel a lleng, longir, lmeng, lengil a udoud.
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rrot, v.r.s.pounded; smashed; crushed.
rrot a mla merot; bilis a rrot er a mlai, rotengii, motilech; rtengel.
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ulebangel, v.r.s.interrupted; half; (something which) did not survive.
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ulngeng, v.r.s.stared at.
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ultilech, v.r.s.has had something put on top of it.
ultilech a ulsarech, mla motilech, ultilech er a mlai; mlai a ngar er a bebul; otelechii.
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ultom, v.r.s.poked or stuck out.
ultom a mla motom; otemii a medal; ochotii a medal er a seked; otom a mederir, otemengel.
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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:

bedoel, v.a.s.(ball, etc.) is to be caught; is to be grabbed.
bedoel a kirel el obed; bduu a bedoel. medir a bduu, med, omed, bedeel a bduu.
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kimtengall, v.a.s.is to be grabbed and thrown down; is to be overpowered.
kimetengall a kirel mekimut; koimetengii, mitekelengii, nguu el tilechii.
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ngbatel, v.a.s.(clothes; etc.) are to be taken off; is to be pulled out/freed/absolved.
ngbatel a kirel el mengubet; mekedoked a lechetel; ngubetii er a cheliseksikd; nguubet a okul; a ouak a ngbatel.
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okngemedall, v.a.s.is to be consumed or used up.
okngemedall a kirel el mokngemed; kirel mo diak; nguemed, usbechel a mekngit el kar a okngemedall.
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sbechall, v.a.s.is to be broken open.
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tengetngall, v.a.s.(food) is to be obtained, sought or foraged for.
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urechemall, v.a.s.is to be mixed.
urechemall a kirel murachem; omrachem a diokang er a brak, meruul a billum; urechemel.
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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
chermallhibiscus (bark used as a rope; leaves used as mulch for taro).chermallhibiscus (bark used as a rope; leaves used as mulch for taro).
otordblunt-headed parrot fish.otord(person) having protruding forehead.
klukuktomorrow; the next or following day.klukuktomorrow; the next or following day.
iitmiss; failure.iitmiss; failure.
chemarsleak (in something like a boat or a bucket).chemarsleak (in something like a boat or a bucket).
chudelgrass.chudelgreen jobfish.
singodor of sperm.besingsmell of sperm; smell unclean (esp., used in insults referring to women).

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
omekerrau er a rengulconfuse; puzzle.
melemed a rengulcool down one's anger.
ngar er a bab a rengulconceited; disrespectful; proud; arrogant; haughty; snobbish.
mechitechut a rengulweak willed; unmotivated; easily discouraged.
omal er a rengulastonish; amaze; impress; cause admiration.
beltik a rengulbetik a rengul
mengesib er a rengul get someone angry.

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