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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:

blakes, v.r.s.(leg) moved to walk.
blakes a mla obakes; mekesii, blakes a cheroid, blekeklel
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ngelsakl, v.r.s.divided; separated; (wood) removed from fire; moved out of the way.
ngelsakl a chacheroid; diak lulturek; idungel a ngelsakl me a ngau a ulekoad; ngoseklii, ngosakl, ngeseklel.
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selemechokl, v.r.s.put in order; corrected; improved.
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telbal, v.r.s.(food) has magic spell cast on it.
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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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ulchob, v.r.s.brought to surface of water.
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ultngakl, v.r.s.rejected; returned; declined; pushed back.
ultngakl a mla motngakl; ulluut; dimlak a kengei; otngakl a udoud mloluut; otngeklii, otngeklel.
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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:

disall, v.a.s.is to be increased or added to.
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oteruul, v.a.s.is to be sold or given away; for sale.
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otuball, v.a.s.is to be degraded, insulted or slandered.
otuball a kirel a motuub; otubii a sechelil, omerellel a kirel a otuub; oltuub er a cheldecheduch, otubel.
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rsoal, v.a.s.is to be washed or rinsed off.
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tekiungel, v.a.s.needs to be talked to; (person) is being talked about (because of bad behavior, etc.).
tekiungel a kirel el mo er ngii a tekoi; soadel er a beluu, tekiungel er a beluu er a omengubs.el sers.
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uklsechall, v.a.s.is to be wished luck.
uklsechall a kirel el muklusech; omeklusech er ngii; meklsechii; mo ungil besul; mo melusech; ukbechel
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utebengall, v.a.s.is to be fixed or focused upon.
utebengall a kirel el mutab; kirel el mo medengelii; mtab a meldung, mtebengii a rael; remenges e nguelem a tekoi; utebengel.
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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
mengchongchthick betel nut fiber used for wrapping food, making rain hat, etc.chellibelmengchongchwhite; (woman) beautiful/white-skinned.
kobesossea horse.kobesos (head) long, narrow or pointed.
chelechelouldandruff.chelecheloulhaving dandruff.
chudelgrass.chudelgrassy.
burekswelling.oburekget dyed or stained with color.
iluodelstones, coconut shells, or similar objects used as support for cooking pot during serving.iluodel(people) sitting, standing or arranged in a circle; (stone platform) built circular.
iitmiss; failure.iitmiss; failure.

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
chetellaok a rengulchetellaok
dmolech a rengulwise; prudent; careful in planning ahead.
melatk a rengulconsider someone's feelings.
techetech a rengulstubborn; obsessed; determined.
ulsemuul a rengul(person) humble.
orreked er a rengulrestrain or control (oneself) (esp., from showing anger).
omerteret a rengulfed up or exasperated with.

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