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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:

bleng, v.r.s.covered with hand; stopped up.
bleng a mla obeng, metenget; telenget, mengir a ngerel, bleng a telil.
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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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selcheseb, v.r.s.ladled out.
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selubs, v.r.s.sprinkled; sprayed; watered.
selubs a mla mesubs er a ralm; subsii; suubs a dellomel, sebsel.
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selumk, v.r.s.(hair) pulled out; torn out
selumk a mla mesumk; mla sumkii a sechelil er a klaibedechakl; suumk a chiul.
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ulekesbas, v.r.s.littered; covered with trash.
ulekesbas a mla mukesbas; mekesbesir a mekesokes; ngar er ngii a besbas; ulekesbas el beluu a blil a rakd.
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uliached, v.r.s.rushed against.
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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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kseksall, v.a.s.(metal, wood, etc.) is to be filed.
kseksall a ksekikl; kirel el meksous.
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ngedall, v.a.s.is to be seen/sent off; is to be returned/sent back; (bride) is to be brought to prospective husband's family.
ngedall a kirel mengader; ngedall er a blil a chebechiil; ngoderii a ngelekel; merader a lleng el olekang; ngederel.
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otebedall, v.a.s.is to be taken out.
otebedall a kirel el motobed el mo er a kirel, otebedii er a delengchokl, otobed, otebedel.
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rekiaol, v.a.s.is to be finished (completely).
rekiaol a kirel el merekui; urreor a di rekiaol kung; mochu merek.
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tebakel, v.a.s.is to be patched; (fine) is to be paid.
tebakel a kirel el metabek; tuabek a selodel el bail; tobekii, tebekel.
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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
semumtrochus.semumtrochus.
kobengodelvery strong current.kobengodel (ocean) having very strong current.
kemimstarfruit.mekemimsour; acidic; spoiled (from having turned sour).
rasechblood.rasechblood.
meduumale genitals (large).meduu(testicles) swollen; (pig) having testicles/uncastrated.
rekungland crab.bekerekungsmell of crabs (after cooking or eating crabs, etc.).
smuuchscorpion fish (hardly moves in water).smuuch(person) calm, placid, or unperturbed by problems or challenging circumstances.

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
bechelechelingaol a rengulselfish; greedy; stingy; self-centered.
bekongesengasech a renguleasily angered; excitable.
komeklii a rengul(person) controlling themselves; (person) holding their tongue.
melemed a rengulcool down one's anger.
orreked er a rengulrestrain or control (oneself) (esp., from showing anger).
mengaidesachel a rengulcompetitive.
mesbesubed er a rengulprepare someone (psychologically) for something; pave the way for more serious discussion with someone; inform gradually or indirectly.

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