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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:

blungt, v.r.s.(hair) curled/twisted.
blungt a blengutel; bengtel a chui.
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cheleseb, v.r.s.(taro tubers) cut.
cheleseb a mla mecheseb, chosebii, cheleseb el dait a ileakl er a kukau, mla medebes.
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delidab, v.r.s.climbed on.
delidab a mla medidab; ngmasech er ngii; doidebur a lius, doidab a buuch, ngomiakl.
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kliai, v.r.s.raised just above surface (but not touching); levitating.
kliai a mla mekiai; mengellael; di telkib el cheroid er a chutem a ochil; kiei el kliai a ochil er a ulaol.
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selloakl, v.r.s.grabbed at and shaken or stirred.
selloakl a mla meseloakl; mla mesalo; rrutech er a betok el chim; selloakl el kall a olsecher; soleueklii; solouakl.
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uluked, v.r.s.(fish) caught by casting net.
uluked a mla meuked; mekebud a uluked er a chelii.
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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:

bedechall, v.a.s.is to be picked up with fingers.
bedechall a kirel el obodech, medechii a odoim, modech a kall el olab a cheldingel.
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bekesall, v.a.s.(leg) is to be moved to walk.
bekesall a sebechel el obakes el imuu er ngii, makes, mekesii, bekesel.
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chelungel, v.a.s.is to be carried (off) on the shoulders.
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chemedongall, v.a.s.are to be welcomed or called together.
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kilungall, v.a.s.is to be enlarged or increased in size.
kilungall a kirel el mo klou; osarech a rengmiu; menglou, mo kiei a rengmiu; rengud a rechad a kilungall, kilungii a rengum, mo diak el sebek a rengum; kilungel a reng.
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odngelall, v.a.s.is to be visited.
odngelall a kirel el modingel; odngelii a smecher, odingel a blai; odngelel; omes.
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siungall, v.a.s.is to be served; is to be dressed up.
siungall a siungel; kirel mesiou; chuodel a siungall; siungii.
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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
bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).bisechfish with black and yellow stripes (makes mouth itchy).
ngerachelduty; responsibility.bekengerachelresponsible; always attentive to one's duties or obligations.
kemangetlength (of string, etc.) which exceeds what is needed or expected.kemangettall; long (in time or dimension).
bengtpurple colored sweet potato.bengtpurple.
klukuktomorrow; the next or following day.klukuk be tomorrow; be the next or following day.
kesaiinsufficient quantity.kesaiinsufficient; not enough; few.
kosuiperfume.bekekosuismell strongly of perfume.

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
kedidai a rengulstubborn; scornful; condescending.
melaok a renguladulterous; acquisitive.
moded a rengul(person is) easygoing/even-tempered.
bekesbesib a rengulprone to sweating; easily angered; touchy.
dmolech a rengulwise; prudent; careful in planning ahead.
mengaidesachel a rengulcompetitive.
melechang a llechul a rengulteach (someone) a lesson.

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