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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:

blidokl, v.r.s.cast or tossed (e.g. fishnet); thrown underhand (as in softball); thrown out(side); located far from others (as if tossed away).
blidokl a mla obidokl; blides, mideklii, midokl, bideklel.
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chelaus, v.r.s.sprinkled with lime; woven.
chelaus a mla mechaus; chemelel a chelaus, mengaus, chusel a chemachel; chousii a oruikl, chemaus a tet, chusel.
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chellobel, v.r.s.protected; sheltered.
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seluld, v.r.s.erased; dried or wiped off.
seluld a mla mesuld; tolechoi a seluld a bedengel; suldii, smuld a llechukl; seldel.
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ulalk, v.r.s.dyed purple; purple color/dye; pandanus dyed purple.
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ulsechomel, v.r.s.hiding in fear; cowering in fear; (bird with) folded wings (due to fear).
More Examples:
> That bird is cowering with folded wings.
> The boy is hiding in his house because the police are looking for him.
ultiil, v.r.s.leaned or laid against; lying down.
ultiil a ultuil; ngalek a ultiil er a demal; otilii, otiil, otilel er a demal.
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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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chesechaol, v.a.s.are to be threaded/strung; always wandering from house to house.
chesechaol a chad el soal el mengesuch; merael a blai, di omais el diak el ultebechel.
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deoll, v.a.s.is to be nailed.
deoll a kirel el medeel; dmelii a chesimer, dmeel, meleel, blai a deoll, delel.
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keoll, v.a.s.is to be respected or honored.
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ngemetall, v.a.s.is to be licked.
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orekerekall, v.a.s.is to be pushed sideways.
orekerekall a kirel el morekorek; orekorek a chutem; odubech el mong; orekerekel el mei.
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sedomel, v.a.s.is to be propositioned or proposed.
sedomel a sedemall.
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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
tengolldownward slope; descent.tengolldownward slope; descent.
chelechedsmall sea crab.chelechedsmall sea crab.
bodechcurved configuration/shape of boat.bodechesausstanding erect/in ramrod fashion; standing with expanded chest.
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebau(cooked meat or fish, cooking pot, etc.) foul-smelling.
mechiechab hole.mechiechab hole.
tutaumorning; this morning.tutaumorning; this morning.
rasechblood.rasechbloody.

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
mesisiich a rengulstrong-willed; motivated; determined; hard-working.
mekreos a rengulmiserly; avaricious; selfish.
meleolt a rengul(person) carefree or nonchalant; (person) not easily disturbed or content to let things happen as they may.
telematel a rengulpleased; happy.
berngel a rengulanything discouraging to one's spirit.
omech er a rengultake the edge of one's hunger.
ngar er a bab a rengulconceited; disrespectful; proud; arrogant; haughty; snobbish.

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