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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:

klsakl, v.r.s.(something) wrong/the matter.
klsakl a ngar er ngii a telemall; mla mekesakl? ke klsakl? tia ng klsakl?
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rrebek, v.r.s.groped at.
rrebek a mla merebek; mla robekii a ochab el oba biskang.
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selius, v.r.s.(fathers side relative) having been sworn at or spoken obscenely towards.
selius a mla mesius; mechas a selius er a dengerenger; diak longull a melius; siuesii. sellesilek; llel a kerrekar a sellesilek; eolt a mla smodel a llel a kerrekar.
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telebiall, v.r.s.gestured to with raised eyebrows.
telebiall a toberall; mla metebiall; tobiall a medal; menglou a medal.
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telerrob, v.r.s.turned face or top down; stopped.
telerrob a omosech; mla meterob; torebengii a klechedaol, torob a kles; merrob a urreor, terebengel.
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telok, v.r.s.(toe) stubbed; (wood) planed against grain.
telok a ultok; diak el ungil; diak el ngar er a urebetellel a tekoi; telok el cheldecheduch.
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uldak, v.r.s.added together; unified; joined.
uldak a diak le kakerous; udoud a dmak; uldak er a chimo el chidib, odak, odekial.
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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:

bechedall, v.a.s.is to be broken off/broken into pieces.
bechedall a kirel el obached, omached er ngii; kukau a bechidel, mechedii, bechedel.
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chebingel, v.a.s.(fruit) is to be picked or plucked.
chebingel a kirel el mechib; chibngii,chuib, meradel a chebingel, chebngel.
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chetuul, v.a.s.(fish) smoked; having the potential of giving off too much smoke.
chetuul a kirel el mechat; techa mengat a ngikel? chotur, chemat a ngikel, chetul.
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ngkedall, v.a.s.(fine) is to be paid.
ngkedall a kirel el nguu a nguked; kirel a odanges; msa ngkedel.
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oterebekall, v.a.s.is to be raped.
oterebekall a kirel el moterebek; mekull ng diak el oterebekall a rechad; oterebekii, oterebekel.
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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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toechel, v.a.s.(compost) is to be made.
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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
kerasuschigger.kerasusbitten by chiggers.
chermallhibiscus (bark used as a rope; leaves used as mulch for taro).chermall having vagina which lubricates quickly.
smuuchscorpion fish (hardly moves in water).smuuch(person) calm, placid, or unperturbed by problems or challenging circumstances.
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.
meduumale genitals (large).meduu(testicles) swollen; (pig) having testicles/uncastrated.
chudelgrass.chudelgreen jobfish.
H.O.(abbrev.) Babeldaob (used pejoratively).H.O.unexperienced in Western ways; ignorant of modern conveniences.

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
moalech a renguldisappointed; dismayed.
chelimimuul a rengulchelimimii a rengul
llemesel a rengulhis/her/its intelligence.
cheldeng a rengulconfused; surprised; stubborn; dull-witted; slow (in understanding).
songerenger a rengulhave a strong desire for; lust after.
ngar er a eou a rengul(person is) humble/respectful.
belalk a rengulfeel shame/fright.

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