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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:

berrekakl, v.r.s.swallowed.
berrekakl a mla oberekakl; merkeklii a kelel, omerekakl, berekeklel.
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selekesako, v.r.s.crawled; crept over.
selekesako a mla mesekesako; mla melekesako er ngii; sokesekeuii a blai; sekesekoel a blai.
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teleketokel, v.r.s.constructed; assembled.
teleketokel a teleketek.
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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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telutk, v.r.s.pointed at; appointed.
telutk a nglilt; mla metutk; telutk el mo er a omerael; tutkii, ngar er basech; tetkel.
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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:

bengodel, v.a.s.is to be put or held on or against.
bengodel a kired el omenged er ngii; mengedii, omenged, kebui a bengodel er a kerrekar, bengedel.
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bidekill, v.a.s.is to be cast/thrown.
bidekill a kirel el obidokl; midokl, mideklii, bduu a bidekill, bideklel.
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ngemall, v.a.s.is to be smoothed or stroked.
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ngemodel, v.a.s.is to be washed off or mopped.
ngemodel a kirel el mengemed; ngomedii a ulaol; nguemed a tebel, melemed; ngemedel.
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olutall, v.a.s.is to be returned or sent back.
olutall a oluatel.
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secheseball, v.a.s.is to be ladled out.
secheseball a kirel mesecheseb; mengisb a ralm; sochesebii, socheseb a ralm, melecheseb; sechesebel.
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sudall, v.a.s.is to be erased; is to be dried or wiped off.
sudall a mesesusuud; ulechel a kim a sudall; suedii, smuud.
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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
H.O.(abbrev.) Babeldaob (used pejoratively).H.O.unexperienced in Western ways; ignorant of modern conveniences.
cheluchcoconut oil; fuel (e.g. gasoline, kerosene, diesel oil, etc.); grease (from meat being cooked).bekecheluchsmell of coconut oil.
tangtikebikelsee-saw; teeter-totter.tangtikebikel(object) wobbly or in danger of falling over.
chemadechcoconut sap.chemadechcoconut sap.
chemanglarge sea or mangrove crab; Samoan crab.bekechemangsmell of crabs (after cooking or eating crabs).
tebullswelling; earth mound.tebull a medalangry-looking.
builmoon; month.buil moon-shaped.

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
telecherakl a rengulstubborn; obsessed; determined.
blekebek a rengulpleasant/nice (in personality); congenial.
mengerar er a rengul criticise; insult; put down; make someone feel ashamed; hurt someone's feelings.
temetel a rengulpleasing of one's heart.
betik a rengulhaving a deep feeling or affection for; love.
omerteret a rengulfed up or exasperated with.
merusech a rengulrepentant.

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