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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:

chelsechusem, v.r.s.dirtied or smeared (with food); involved (in a situation).
chelsechusem a bechesechusem, chusechesemii, chusechusem a chimal, chesechesemel a kall; cheisechusem a teloi er a tirudii a bank, ta er a chelsechusem er ngii.
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cheltikaik, v.r.s.tempted; led astray.
cheltikaik a cheltakl; cheltekill, cheltimaim er a rengelekel.
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llechang, v.r.s.put; taken.
llechang a mla melechang; mla mo mechei; lochang, kles er aklechedaol a llechang; mla mong.
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rrus, v.r.s.pierced; stabbed; injected; inoculated.
rrus a mla merus; rrus a ulkel er a oles; rusur, remus, rsul a ulk.
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teleberall, v.r.s.(eyebrows) raised.
teleberall a telebek; mla meteberall a medal; toberall; teberellel.
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telenget, v.r.s.made sacrifice to; hindered; obstructed.
telenget a chelsimer; mla metenget; tongetengii a rael; tonget a metetoech; melenget, tengetengel.
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ulskosk, v.r.s.pushed vigorously.
ulskosk a mla moskosk; mla modubech; uldubech el mong; oskeskii, olskosk er ngii, oskeskel.
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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:

chemull, v.a.s.(fire) is to be started up or kindled.
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chesemall, v.a.s.(mouth) is to be wiped; (hands) are to be wiped of dirt, food, etc.
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chesmerall, v.a.s.is to be closed, confined or locked in (e.g. as punishment).
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kitall, v.a.s.is to be pressed with fingers and massaged; is to be pressed against surface with fingers; is to be softened.
kitall a kirel mekit; mengit er ngii; omet el mesisiich.
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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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osesengall, v.a.s.is to be moved a little bit or ways.
osesengall a kirel el mosesei; olsesei el mong; telkib el odubech.
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tuul, v.a.s.is to be heated or cooked lightly; is to be heated so as to become bendable; is to be rubbed or massaged.
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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
mechasold woman; titled woman; foreign woman; male's father's sisters; girlfriend; wife.mechascoconut at later stage (between medecheduch and metau) when shell blackens and husk turns yellowish brown.
oreomelforest; woods.chereomeloreomel
mechiechab hole.mechiechab(teeth) full of cavities.
klukuktomorrow; the next or following day.klukuk be tomorrow; be the next or following day.
cherouwhite mushroom; white scar.cherouhaving a white scar; whitish; Caucasian.
mekealdhot water; hot drink (esp., coffee).mekealdhot water; hot drink (esp., coffee).
bobaipapaya tree (including fruit).bobaipapaya tree (including fruit).

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.
ngmasech a rengulget angry.
ngar er a bab a rengulconceited; disrespectful; proud; arrogant; haughty; snobbish.
smecher a rengulhomesick.
tmurk a rengulsatiated; fed up with.
rengul a ngaisyolk of egg.
merirem er a rengulhurt someone's feelings.

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