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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:

blor, v.r.s.(hands, chest) laid or put on or against something.
blor a mla obor; bereked, ngalek a omor er a ulul er a ulaol.
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bluit, v.r.s.(sugar cane) cut.
bluit a bliatel, mla obuit; mitii, muit, deb a nglai, bitel a deb.
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chelluut, v.r.s.slapped; (eyes) smarting (from wind).
chelluut a blar; mla mecheluut; chellebed a medal, cholutii a chetelaol, choluut, uldechelakl.
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nglaml, v.r.s.(grass, garden, yard etc.) cut.
nglaml a nglemull; mla mengaml; ngomlii a rael; nguaml, melaml, ngemlel.
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selenges, v.r.s.(coconut tree) tapped for sap.
selenges a mla mesenges; ilaot a selenges; songesengii; songes, sengesengel.
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selilek, v.r.s.washed.
selilek a mla mesilek; bail a selilek; silekii, smilek, selekel.
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telemetamel, v.r.s.(trees; land; etc.) cleared.
telemetamel a telemotem; mededaes, mla metemotem; tometemii a rael; tomotem a oreomel, temetemel.
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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:

bertachel, v.a.s.(hands) are to be clapped; is to be slapped; deaf (i.e., has to be tapped on the back to get attention).
bertachel a kirel el obrotech; mertechii, mrotech, mechad a bertachel.
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isall, v.a.s.is to be rowed, paddled or stirred.
isall a kirel el meius; isar a mlai, imus a ilumel, isal.
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ochelall, v.a.s.(fish) is to be scaled.
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odermeremall, v.a.s.is to be pushed or forced (under water, into ground, etc.).
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reberebekall, v.a.s.is to be groped for.
reberebekall a kirel el mereberebek; merreuaech el osiik er ngii.
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temikel, v.a.s.is to be shaved or scraped.
temikel a kirel el mengai; kirel el metamk; tomkii; tuamk a chesemel.
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ukadel, v.a.s.(fish) is to be caught by casting net.
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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.

kobesossea horse.kobesossea horse.
cheballwhite-leafed taro (yautia); gray/white hair.cheballwhite-leafed taro (yautia); gray/white hair.
teberoishin; (large, triangle-shaped) coconut candy.teberoishin; (large, triangle-shaped) coconut candy.
chadliver.chedengaolhave a large liver.
mechasold woman; titled woman; foreign woman; male's father's sisters; girlfriend; wife.mechascoconut at later stage (between medecheduch and metau) when shell blackens and husk turns yellowish brown.
tebullswelling; earth mound.tebullbulging, hanging.
bobaipapaya tree (including fruit).bobaidull; slow-witted.

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:

omai er a rengulhesitate; be unsure about.
dmeu a rengulhappy; glad; joyful; appreciative.
cheldeng a rengulconfused; surprised; stubborn; dull-witted; slow (in understanding).
melai er a rengulpersuade.
ngar er a eou a rengul(person is) humble/respectful.
orreked er a rengulrestrain or control (oneself) (esp., from showing anger).
obais a rengulget fed up with; become unable to cope with.

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