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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:

cheleld, v.r.s.knocked out of breath.
cheleld a mla mecheld, chad el ruebet el metilech me ng meengel a telil; mo kedeb a telil.
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delbochel, v.r.s.invented; introduced; composed; (blade of tool) chipped.
delbochel a delibech; beches el merruul; ngloik a le kemeldiil a delbochel.
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lliich, v.r.s.(coconut) has meat removed from it.
lliich a mla meliich; nglai er a ulekngall, lius a lliich, liechii, lmiich.
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selib, v.r.s.(ground) broken, plowed or dug.
selib a mla mesib; sibur; sers a selib; mesib, sbul; ulecholo.
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telau, v.r.s.heated/cooked lightly; heated so as to become bendable; rubbed; massaged.
telau a mla metau; melau a cheled tmau a such; teul er a mekeald.
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teliualech, v.r.s.thrown at with a stick.
teliualech a mla metiualech; oba tiualech el meliualech; iedel a teliualech; tiulechii a meradel; tiulechel.
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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:

betachel a rengul, v.a.s.is to be pleased/satisfied/appeased; content.
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cherirall, v.a.s.is to be caught up with; (hair, etc.) is to be cut to same length.
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ortertall, v.a.s.(desire) is to be suppressed; is to be pushed into ground.
ortertall a kirel el mortert; mengai el mo er eou; ortert a mekedidai el chutem; ortertii a kldidiul a rengul, orterte1 a reng.
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otekiall, v.a.s.is to be carried aboard/transported in vehicle.
otekiall a kirel el motak; rengalek er a skuul a otekiall; oltak er tir er a mlai er a skuul.
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rerongel, v.a.s.(food) is to be heated so as not to spoil; (hands, etc.) are to be warmed over or next to fire.
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sechesekill, v.a.s.(distance) is to be jumped.
sechesekill a beot el mesechesokl; suchesokl er ngii; merdekekl er ngii.
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uderngall, v.a.s.is to be shaded or sheltered.
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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
singchwaist; pelvis; lower back.bekesingch
techiirhandnet with handle; cloth or screen for pressing coconut milk; sheath at base of coconut frond (used for pressing coconut milk).mekudem a techerel(person who) understands or catches everything.
meduumale genitals (large).meduumale genitals (large).
kobengodelvery strong current.kobengodel (ocean) having very strong current.
temamuuimaginary ghost with ugly face.temamuuimaginary ghost with ugly face.
lalechpus.bellachelpurulent; festering; (woman's genitals) unclean and smelly; (starchy food) too soft or slimy.
rirfallen leaves of kebui.merir(leaves) yellow.

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
techetech a rengulstubborn; obsessed; determined.
omult er a rengulconvince; persuade.
seselk a rengulbored; impatient.
mengelengalek a rengul(person) mean-spirited; unfriendly; unpleasant; nasty; vengeful.
berngel a rengulanything discouraging to one's spirit.
checherd a rengulimpatient; fed up with.
ungil er a rengulfine or all right with.

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