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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:

blekall, v.r.s.driven; sailed; (person) driven by desire to wander or spend time away from home.
blekall a mla obekall; mekellii a mlai, rengeasek a blekall er a ungil klebesei.
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cheltiot, v.r.s.(point of knife, spear, etc.) broken or bent.
cheltiot a mla mechetiot; tmurk, obibais, telirm; choititii, chotiot a oles, chetitiel.
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rrael, v.r.s.(particular distance) walked/traveled/covered.
rrael a mla remolii; beches el rael a rrael, ki mla merael er ngii.
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selenges, v.r.s.(coconut tree) tapped for sap.
selenges a mla mesenges; ilaot a selenges; songesengii; songes, sengesengel.
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teluk, v.r.s.cut; measured.
teluk a delobech; mla metuk; medebes; tukur a kerrekar; tmuk a ngikel; tkul.
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ulchit, v.r.s.advanced past; defeated.
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ulekiid, v.r.s.consumed; used; eaten up.
ulekiid a mla mokiid; mla mo diak; mla mekang a kall; okiid a kall me a illumel; mekikiid a blai; bechachau.
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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:

cheatel, v.a.s.(rope; wire; fishing line; etc.) is to be wound; (baby) is to be cuddled.
cheatel a kirel el mechaet; chemetii, chemaet a ekil, mengaet, chetel.
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chesuchall, v.a.s.is to be given tortoise shell money.
chesuchall a kirel el mechesiuch; chosuchii a buchelsechal, mengesiuch, msa chesuchel.
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chetuul, v.a.s.(fish) smoked; having the potential of giving off too much smoke.
chetuul a kirel el mechat; techa mengat a ngikel? chotur, chemat a ngikel, chetul.
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ngebtall, v.a.s.(newborn baby) is to have membrane washed off.
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rediil, v.a.s.(wound) is to be irritated.
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tirterall, v.a.s.is to be hunted or investigated.
tirterall a siokel; kirel el meteriter; tirterii a klemerang; tiriter a ungil, merriter a tekoi; tirterel.
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uluoll, v.a.s.(house) is to have floor put on.
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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).
cherouwhite mushroom; white scar.cherouwhite mushroom; white scar.
mongkcomplaint; criticism.bekemongkalways complaining.
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebau(cooked meat or fish, cooking pot, etc.) foul-smelling.
rubakelder; old man; chief; foreign man; boyfriend; husband.rubakhaving the qualities of an old man.
smuuchscorpion fish (hardly moves in water).smuuchscorpion fish (hardly moves in water).
uloechspear(?).uloech(person) in a hurry to go somewhere.

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
omatek er a rengul restrain ones\ desire\ to\ do\ something\;\ keep\ ones desire(s) to oneself.
melib er a renguldecide; make up one's mind.
raud a rengulvariable; indecisive.
rengul a diokangstarch.
luut er a rengulanything causing one to lose one's resolve.
mengerar er a rengul criticise; insult; put down; make someone feel ashamed; hurt someone's feelings.
metitngall a rengullonesome; sad (at broken friendship).

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